One of the first recipes I learned to can, and now I do many batches every fall. I absolutely love sweet and spicy so this sweet jelly flavored with spicy peppers is a favorite of mine. If all you did was warm it and serve it over a block of cream cheese with crackers and vegetables, you'd be happy you made it. I've found many other uses, hot pepper jelly makes a great glaze for fish, chicken, and pork; even better when mixed with lime juice and cilantro. Also a great glaze for vegetables, carrots being particularly tasty.
I use the Ball recipe, their canning books and guides are the reason I'm comfortable canning they are so full of good information. They call for all jalapenos, but our farmers' market gets such a variety of peppers I like to use a mix, this makes some batches a little spicier than others, some milder, just make sure to keep the amount (12 ounces) the same.
Using different colors of peppers yields different colored jelly as well, it's always fun to see how it turns out. Sometimes the jelly is more green, others it's more orange or red. The pepper specks floating in the colors make a beautiful mosaic in the jelly that I love holding up to the sunlight, same as I did with my grandparent's kaleidoscope when I was a kid. Here I have pictures of two batches I made, one more green, the other more orange. Ball says a few drops of food color are fine to add, but I like to let nature handle the color on this one.
I hope you'll try canning some hot pepper jelly soon, enjoy!
Makes about 5 half pints (sometimes I get more, I also like to do a mix of 4-ounce and 8-ounce jars)
Recipe from Ball: http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipe.aspx?r=247
Step 1: Gather and Prepare Ingredients
I highly recommend you wear gloves when handling hot peppers, when I make several batches the heat will start coming through the gloves, so wash the gloves and your hands very well and DON'T EVER TOUCH YOUR EYES when handling hot peppers.
5 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands (sometimes I get more, so have a couple extra jars hot and ready to go)
12 oz jalapeño peppers (about 12 med) (I use a mix of peppers, ranging from mild to hot)
2 cups cider vinegar, divided
6 cups sugar
2 3-oz pouches of liquid pectin (I use Certo brand)
Puree peppers in food processor or blender with 1 cup cider vinegar until smooth. Do not strain purée.
Step 2: Cook Jelly
Combine purée with remaining 1 cup cider vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add liquid pectin, immediately squeezing entire contents from pouches. Continue to boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim foam if necessary. I find it easiest to transfer jelly to a large, pourable measuring cup to fill jars with.
Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
Ladle hot jelly into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude, turn off heat and leave jars in water for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool.
Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. Label and store. Hot pepper jelly can be stored, away from heat and light, up to one year.
I'd love to hear your favorite uses!