Introduction: Pectin Free Jalapeno Apple Jelly
Before we begin we are going to do a short basic jelly primer.
At sea level water boils at 212 and it will always stay at 212 as long as nothing else is added until it boils away and never getting above 212, keep heating an M/T pan and it will get real hot very rapidly as there is no water to keep it cool, The higher the elevation you are, the temperature that water boils goes down. So you will need to adjust temps accordingly.
Perfect jelly is exactly 220 degrees at sea level. Take 1 gallon of water add 1/4 cup sugar only, and it will not get to 220 until there is less then 1/4 cup remaining in the pan, boil past the 220 and it will very quickly go thru all the candy stages before it scorches beyond recognition,,,, then your pan gets ruined.
So in a nut shell the quantity of sugar determines the amount of jelly, not the quantity of the juice, So why do we not just use lots of sugar and little juice? Because the sugar needs to dissolve (We do not want sugar crystals in our jelly) and we need the flavor of the juice. (Sugar jelly is not the greatest) The amount of sugar I use is by weight and approximately equal to the weight not the volume of my juice. This combination is EZ to remember and works very well for me
Step 1: Getting Started
We had a wild apple tree (came up by seed several years ago) this spring with a popcorn blossom, With high hopes of nice big apples I tended the tree, watered, put some fertilizer, little thinning, obviously not near enough as we only harvested 4 gallons of puny 1 to 1 1/2 inch only resembling apples in shape only. In my garden I also had planted Jalapeno's for Jalapeno poppers... Alas they were just to HOT to enjoy, Had almost all my other preserving done and decided to make some Jalapeno / Apple jelly and not to let both go to waste,
After washing and cleaning them I put all the apples in one big pot just barely covering them with plain water until they came to a boil and starting to burst, Turned off the heat and let them sit overnight. The next day I poured off the "Juice" thru a screen into a different pot. The apple pulp is being used in a different instructable Jalapeno Apple fruit leather
Step 2: Add Jalapenos
I went to the garden and picked about a gallon of Jalapenos, washed them then cut them up and added directly to the apple juice where I boiled it again (should had done that the day before) I screened all again into a different pot. I then weighed the apple / jalapeno juice, 14 lbs juice so I added 14 lbs of sugar. The cooked Jalapenos are being used in a different instructable Apple Jalapeno fruit leather
Step 3: Getting Ready to Cook Down
Get your jars ready, I use pints, use what you have quarts are probably overkill unless you have many people. Lids cost the same whether small jar or large so you decide. Start a small pan boiling for your canning lids.lay out rings, Start heating the canner with enough water and 1/2 cup vinegar (the vinegar keeps water deposits off your jars) to cover your jars by at least 1 inch As soon as both are boiling go ahead and turn off, When you put the filled very hot jelly jars in they will not break. Continue with the next step while waiting to boil.
You will need to have a draft free location ready to put the finished hot jars on a dry towel to cool .
Step 4: Cooking Down
I split the mix into two tall pots (10 and 11 inches tall and filled approximately 4 inches deep. Turned heat to high. As the jelly gets to 212 it will boil and start to bubble ,
I goofed by overwriting my bubble pictures, So i described the process the best I could
The hotter the mix gets the higher the bubbles will get and If your pan is too short it will boil over Rapid stirring and blowing on might keep from boiling over, Again make sure you use a pan way to big and you will not even have to stir. Watch the bubbles closely, They will continually get higher, When they max out the bubble level slowly will start to drop, When the bubbles allowed I very carefully poured the very hot contents of smaller pot into the larger pot
Turn heat on the small lid pan and add lids. You are supposed to let them get hot but not boil, I haven't had much luck with that one.
Here is where it gets a little tricky, As soon as the bubbles start getting lower it is telling you to break out the candy thermometer. Watch the temp real close if it starts to rise to fast turn down the heat and just before the thermometer get to that magical 220, Turn off the heat as it will continue to rise from the heat of the pan and burner, It is very very hot, Touch and you will blister. IT WILL LOOK THIN, don't worry after the jelly cools it will thicken After a few moments the bubbling will cease as it cools some, the bubbles will disappear, time to fill the jars. .
Step 5: Filling Your Jars
Using a funnel and metal cup I ladle hot jelly mix into hot jars within 1/2 inch of top. Wipe top of jar with clean wet paper towel then using a magnetic lid lifter put on 1 hot lid per jar and with pot holder put on 1 ring snug tight. Put into the canning basket, (mine holds 8 pints). Put filled basket into the hot ready water bath canner and cover. Turn heat back on. As soon as it starts boiling set a timer for 10 minutes, When timer goes off remove lid, and using a pot holders, carefully lift basket and carry to cooling location.
Step 6: All Done, Now Just the Wait to Cool
Use a jar lifter to remove hot jars and put on clean dry towels. The hot jars will soon start making that "tink" sound as they cool, do not disturb, move or turn over until cooled, After they have cooled you can turn the jar over and watch the air bubble in the jar, If the jelly slides you have done good (Make a big smile) If it is runny your mix never got to 220 just label as syrup. If it doesn't move at all well you probably exceeded the 220 , Happens I just put uncovered thick jar in microwave for 30 seconds or so and enjoy,