An unusual jelly with incredible taste and lots of uses! Banana Pepper & Basil Jelly is sweet and tart, with chunks of peppers and red onion, and a hint of herby-ness.
This is a great way to preserve the fresh peppers and basil you have growing!
The gorgeous light yellow jelly with streaks of pink and flecks of yellow and green is absolutely stunning! It makes a wonderful holiday or hostess gift, and it will be the talk of any potluck or dinner party- with everyone asking for the recipe (trust me, I know!!).
Our favorite way to use this jelly is to first turn out a block of cream cheese onto a plate and then dump the entire jar of Banana Pepper & Basil Jelly over it. Serve with crackers and you have an instant appetizer!
There are a lot of different pepper jelly recipes out there, but this is by far the prettiest and one of the most interesting! And not by accident...
I've been making this jelly for years, and have developed a system that ensures the textures are wonderful, and the colors of the beautiful vegetables and herbs shine through!
Other uses for this lovely jelly, besides gift-giving and served with cream cheese and crackers are:
-spooned on to grilled chicken
-mixed with mayo for a spicy sandwich spread
-mixed with ketchup for a sauce to cook meatballs in
-on warm biscuits with butter
-add a thin layer on your grilled cheese sandwich
-as a glaze on a baked ham
-on top of a burger with melty brie cheese
-stirred into a vinaigrette dressing
Your imagination is your only limit, but hopefully this list will get you started!
Now, lets make and can Banana Pepper & Basil Jelly!
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Step 1: Gather Ingredients & Equipment
Gather all of the ingredients and equipment you will need to make and safely can this recipe.
When canning anything, I highly recommend reading through all the instructions first before starting, so there are no surprises and you can be sure you have everything you will need and don't overlook an important step.
If you would like additional information on canning, above and beyond what I have provided here, consult this Canning 101 Guide ---> here.
1 1/2 cups chopped banana peppers (about 5 large)
1/2 cup chopped green jalapeños (about 2 large)
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs low or no-sugar needed powdered pectin
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped red onion
6 large fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp dried basil
water bath canner
5 (4 oz) jelly jars with lids and bands
Step 2: Prepare the Water Bath Canner & Jars
Prepare a boiling water canner: fill a water bath canner to an inch above the estimated height of the jars you are using. Place it on the stove with the lid on and heat over medium-high heat while you prep and make the jelly.
This recipe makes 20oz of finished jelly- you can use whatever jars you like, but I prefer the smallest size (4oz) quilted jelly jars because they are a nice size for using the finished product.
Wash your jars and lids with warm soapy water and set them aside.
Step 3: Chop & Prep the Vegetables
Prepare the vegetables: part of the beauty of this jelly is the colors AND textures. In order to achieve a superior jelly, we will cut the peppers into different sizes to obtain the most interest.
Banana Peppers: Cut each banana pepper in half across the short side, and then cut them in half the long way and scrape out any seeds and ribs. I use the rounder top portions to cut into a small dice, and I use the more curvy bottom pieces to cut into thin slices, as thin as you can possibly slice them.
Jalapeño Peppers: Cut each jalapeño in half the long way and remove the seeds and ribs, and then finely dice the jalapeño, as small as you can- the pieces should be much smaller than the diced banana pepper pieces.
Basil: Stack the basil leaves on top of each other and cut them in half down the center rib. Stack up all the pieces into one pile and cut them across the short side into thin ribbons.
Red Onion: Roughly chop the red onion (hint: the outer layers of the red onion are more vibrant- use these for the most color!) and set aside with the basil.
Our finished jelly will have a myriad of textures: teeny tiny jalapeño pieces, diced and sliced banana peppers, ribbons of basil, and rough chopped red onion!
Step 4: Combine the Ingredients Into Jelly
Combine the chopped banana peppers (1 1/2 cups), chopped jalapeño peppers (1/2 cup), and both the white distilled vinegar (1/2 cup), and apple cider vinegar (2 Tbs) in a medium-sized saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle the pectin (2 Tbs) over top and stir it in.
Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down over high heat; stirring constantly. Scrape the sides of the pan with a spatula if there are particles of pectin sticking to them.
(This is a good time to bring your jars over next to the stove. Set them out on a towel or cutting board next to the pan. Make sure the jar lids, rings, ladle, and funnel are handy too!)
Once up to a good boil, add in the sugar (1 1/2 cups) and stir to combine.
Then stir in the chopped red onion (1/2 cup), ribbons of basil (6 leaves), and dried basil (1/4 tsp).
Return the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Turn the heat to low and get ready to fill the jars!
Step 5: Fill the Jars & Process the Jelly
Ladle the hot jelly into the jars, using a funnel in order to keep the jar tops cleaner; leave 1/4" headspace (that is, fill jars to within 1/4" from the very top of the jar).
Use a wet paper towel to wipe the rim of the jar to remove any spills.
Center the lids on the jars and screw the bands on until fingertip-tight.
Place the jars into the boiling water canner (it's okay if it isn't quite boiling yet, add the jars anyways). The water should come up to at least an inch over the tops of the jars; if it doesn't, add more warm water to the canner now.
Place the lid on the canner and process the jars for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude (that is, continue to heat the canner and once it is at a gentle boil, continue boiling for 10 minutes).
Adjusting for altitude guide can be found ---> here.
Step 6: Remove the Jars and Cool
Turn off the heat; remove the canner lid and let the jars stand in the water for 5 minutes before removing them. (Removing them too soon can cause the contents of the jars to get suctioned up and ooze out the top of the jar)
Remove the jars from the canner using a jar lifter. Place them onto a stack of kitchen towels or larger bath towel and allow to cool completely before you move them again.
After 24 hours check the seal by pressing on the center of the lid- it should not flex up and down. If any jars have not sealed, immediately place them in the fridge and use right away.
Jars will keep for one year or more if stored in a clean, temperature controlled environment!