Who needs homemade jalapeño jelly? You do. Trust me. You do. I thought I could live my life without it, but then my friend Pam, offered me a little jalapeño jelly on a cracker with some old cheddar.
And now, I just can’t stop. Smoked cheddar with this jelly is amazing. You’ll love it.
Pam, who should really have her own business (Pam’s Jams), shared her recipe with me. It does take a bit of time but doesn’t anything that’s worth having?
So pick up some jalapeño peppers before they’re out of season and make this.
Here’s your RTI:
Jalapeño heat varies by time of year and crop. So you’re rolling the dice every time you make this, not knowing just how hot the jelly will be. This batch was particularly spicy. And we were told the earlier crop was even hotter due to the hot and dry summer of 2016.
Wear gloves when you’re chopping the jalapeños if you like. Avoid that moment when you inadvertently stick your finger in your eye and set it on fire.
Canning anything is a bit of a symphony of moving parts. Before you’ve even chopped your first jalapeño, you need to have all your canning supplies laid out and the jars need to be clean. While your jelly is cooking on the stove, you also need to be warming your jars and lids so that hot jelly flows into hot jars which once sealed, take a hot plunge into hot water for the final processing in boiling water
It’s unbelievably satisfying and a great way to spend a few hours in the kitchen.
Yield: 9 – 250mL jars or 16 – 125mL jars (the little jars are great for gift-giving)
All the regular canning supplies:
- Knife for initial chopping and cleaning of peppers
- Cutting board
- Food processor
- Zester for the lemon
- Jars and lids and rings
- Magnetic lid lifter
- Pot to heat the lids
- Glass measuring cup of some kind to transfer the hot boiling salsa to your jars
- Funnel to help in transfer of boiling salsa to jars
- Heat resistant gloves and oven mitts
- Canning tongs to lift the hot jars, if needed
- Clean cloth or paper towel to clean rims of jars after you’ve poured jelly in
- 2 or more little plates (I use the saucers for espresso cups) that you will put in the freezer.
- Space. Lots of space, as you will need a place to rest the jars for at least 24 hours
- 4 cups jalapeño (about 30 jalapeño peppers), half with seeds and half without (whirred in the food processor until they look diced or minced)
- 2 cups red pepper (whirred in the food processor until they look diced or minced)
- 2 cups peaches (can be frozen peaches, best to mince or chop into cubes)
- 1-2 apples chopped up in small pieces (for the natural pectin)
- 3 cups apple cider
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice and zest of a whole lemon
- 41/2 cups sugar
- 1 package liquid pectin
- pat of butter
Here’s your “How to”:
- Put your little plates in the freezer.
- Mix the jalapeños, red pepper, apple and peaches, as well as 1 cup of the apple cider,the 2tbsp vinegar, the lemon juice and zest. Bring to a boil and then boil for 5 minutes.
- Then add the 2 remaining cups of cider and the 4-1/2 cups sugar and boil for another 20 minutes
- Add the envelope of liquid pectin and boil hard for 5 minutes (You may find you need to boil for longer. I often do. I boil until it starts to look like it’s jelling up)
- Add in the pat of butter to reduce foaming
- Test the jelly by placing a bit of jelly on one of those cold plates you put in the freezer. Pop it back in the freezer. Wait a minute or so. Pull it out and see if, when you run your finger through the middle of the jelly, if it stays apart. If it does, you’re good to go.
Once the jalapeño jelly is ready, the regular process for canning applies:
- Sterilize the jars in the dishwasher and leave them there until they are ready to fill. If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash the jars by hand and then place clean jars in the kitchen sink and gradually add hot tap water and top that up with water boiled in the kettle
- Keep the lids in a pot of hot water as well. You can keep those on the counter. Just keep the water hot.
- You will know the jelly is thick enough when it “sheets” down the side of a spoon or spatula, meaning it holds together and doesn’t fall in dribs and drabs. Another test is to place small plates in the freezer, drop a spoonful of jelly on the frozen plate, leave it to cool for about a minute and then run your finger through it. If it stays apart, then your jelly is thick enough. It may also “wrinkle” as you put your finger through it, which means you are a jelly prodigy.
- Then skim the foam off, if there is any (putting a pat of butter in helps with foaming)
- Once the jelly is ready, make sure to put your processing pot on the heat and bring to almost a boil. That’s where you are going to put the filled and sealed jars of jelly. The idea is to put hot jelly into already hot jars which then go into hot water.
- Use the kitchen tongs to pull the hot jars out of the dishwasher or the sink. Use the funnel and fill the jars by the ladle-full until there’s 1/4 of an inch of room to the top of the jar.
- Wipe the top rim with a moist clean cloth or a paper towel make sure there is no jelly there. This will help create a good seal and reduce spoilage.
- Use the magnetic tongs to pull a lid out of the small pot of hot water and place on a jar. Then use a ring and give it a gentle squeeze.
- Using the canning tongs, place the jars into the pot of boiling water and “process” for 10-15 minutes.
- Pull the jars out with the canning tongs and let rest on the counter for 24 hours.