I am a lover of jelly. I know, I’m not supposed to like it, it’s really not good for you. But it’s sooo good. Now, that’s just for normal jelly, but let’s talk about an obsession of mine, pepper jelly. I grew tons of peppers this year, so many that I wasn’t sure what to do with them all. Enter jalapeno jelly for the win! This recipe will show you how to make jalapeno jelly, and you’ll be so happy you did!
Why Pepper Jelly?
Around in my parts, sauces or jelly served over cream cheese with some nice crackers is an awesome snack or treat. My husband always says that he knew he loved me when I served him some Pickappa sauce and cream cheese for a snack. But I digress. Pepper jelly is a wonderful counterpoint to cream cheese, as the spiciness really is a nice addition to the creaminess of the cream cheese.
But don’t stop there. When you have a jar of jalapeno pepper jelly you have a ready-made glaze for just about any meat, especially pork or chicken. Simply brush the jelly on during the last 5 minutes of cooking and you’ll have a wonderfully flavorful dish. Whisk some pepper jelly into a bit of stock and pan drippings for a unique sauce. You’ll love the uses for this when you keep it around!
How to make Jalapeno Jelly
Making the jelly is really very simple. I slice the peppers, then remove the seeds (don’t worry if a few get in there.) Puree them in a blender with some vinegar, then cook with dry pectin, bring to a boil, add the sugar, and voila, Jalapeno Pepper Jelly is ready. You can then jar it and can it, or keep in the fridge if you don’t want to process it for canning. Some people strain the puree to get out the bits of jalapeno, but I don’t bother. I love the extra texture and appearance that the bits give the jelly, and it’s a lot easier to do. Also, I don’t ever add food coloring. Some recipes will call for adding a few drops of green food coloring, but I love the color that this naturally has.
A note about heat
A lot of the heat from peppers is contained in the pith and seeds of the peppers. As I said, I remove the seeds, and in doing so scrape out some of the pith. For my tastes, I want just a bit of heat to add some extra flavor, but not so hot that it’s a five-alarm fire. Some seeds are always going to make it in, and that’s what gives it a bit of a punch. As always, cook to your tastes. If you want it even milder, simply substitute 1 bell pepper for 5 of the jalapenos.
If you are looking to make red pepper jelly, just use the same recipe but use Fresno peppers/and or red bell peppers for the recipe. I like to make batches of both for color contrasts.
A note about pectin
There are 2 types (that I know about) of pectin available in the grocery- dry and liquid. You can use either type, but it’s important to adjust the recipe. If using dry, you add it to the peppers/vinegar and bring it to a boil before adding sugar. If using liquid pectin, you add the sugar and bring it to a boil before adding the pectin. I’ve mainly used dry pectin in my life, so that’s what I’m comfortable with using. But, if you are a liquid pectin person, you just go right ahead!
As always, I hope you enjoy!
- 20-24 jalapenos, seeded
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 8 cups sugar
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup dry pectin
- Seed all peppers and place in blender or food processor along with 1 cup of vinegar and garlic cloves. (You can do this in batches if necessary.)
- Put chopped pepper mix and remaining vinegar and pectin in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, then add sugar. Stirring, bring to another boil for 1 minute. Turn off heat.
- Ladle into jelly jars, allow to cool, then refrigerate.
- If you are canning, follow these additional steps. First, sterilize jars and lids in boiling water, then set aside in a clean area to dry.
- Fill bottles will jelly, put on lids and rings, but do not tighten too forcefully.
- Add to a canner with boiling water (using canning tongs) then bring back to a boil. Ensure a boil is reached for at least 5 minutes. Remove jars (again, tongs) and allow them to cool on a counter. Ensure each naturally pulls down the lid. If any do not "pop" either reprocess them or place in the fridge for use within 5 days. Store for 18 months to 2 years canned, or up to 1 month once opened and refrigerated.