It's no secret that I'm a fan of the sweet kicky deliciousness that is red pepper jelly. I've written about it before on my blog and it remains my to-go for quick appetizers or an afternoon snack. Previously, I relied on jelly from the farmer's market, but last weekend my lovely friend Rachele asked if I'd like to help her whip up a homemade batch. What a ridiculous question. Of course I do!
For future reference: Yes. I want to make jam/jelly/bread/cheese/pie/cake/dumplings/perogies/fresh pasta with you and you and you. I'd be at home making these things anyways and who doesn't love company and an extra pair of hands to do the dishes?
Rachele has canned before so she had all the necessary supplies. Plus she'd picked out mini canning jars for gift-giving purposes and loaded up on red peppers and jalapenos so we were all ready to go. If you've never worked with canning jars or a water bath before before then I'd suggest reading Simple Bite's Canning 101 Post. It lays out the procedure nicely.
The recipe prep is a breeze: Chop up the red peppers and jalapenos. Do not touch your eyes or nose..or anything until you've washed the spicy oil off your hands afterwards.
Then put it all in a food processor with a cup of cider vinegar...
..and whir whir whir until it's mostly smooth. It is imperative that you wear a cute apron while doing this. Doesn't matter if you are a dude or a lady, how can you expect your jelly to set if you bore it to death with a plain apron.. or (heaven forbid) your unprotected clothes? Rachele here is doing it correctly with a polka-dot number.
Then it gets poured into a pot along with more vinegar, some sugar, and chili flakes. Once it boils you set a time for 10 minutes, then carefully stir it while it boils until the timer goes on. Then the liquid pectin is added and it boils hard for one minute and it's ready to be canned!
Hot jelly is poured into the jars, the rims are wiped and lids screwed on before taking a trip to the water bath to be processed for 10 minutes. Then you remove them from the water, let them cool on the counter and wait for that sweet, sweet popping sound of the lids sealing.
Once it's cool you can spoon it over goat's cheese, brie, fried chicken, scrambled eggs, cream cheese, pizza, or just directly into your mouth.
The recipe we used is from the blog Hidden Ponies and we followed it to the letter. When working with pectin you need to keep your ingredients precise to ensure that the jelly will set. I never used packaged pectin while making jam and thus can add in a little this or that and increase or reduce the sugar. But with jelly its a lot trickier so if you're a first timer or new-ish to jelly making I'd suggest keeping the sugar and liquid amounts constant in the recipe (even though its tempting tempting tempting to play around).
Red Pepper Jelly
- 2 cups coarsely chopped, seeded red bell peppers
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 6 cups granulated sugar
- ¼-1/2 tsp crushed chile flakes
- 2 pouches (each 3oz/85 mL) liquid pectin
Head over to Hidden Ponies for the full instructions