I’m no Martha Stewart but I admire those who are and occasionally try to channel my inner domestic diva. Homemade gifts would be my expression of choice, finding them more accessible than say raising Japanese Bantam Black Tailed Buff roosters. I know, I know…with Sly Rooster as a moniker, you’d expect this to be my specialty.
So for the last several years I have made an attempt at sharing a gift from my kitchen with some of my neighbors. There have been complete failures–anyone want to chime in on my vodka-soaked gummy bears? They ended up requiring a spoon for consumption. Not pretty. But there have also been some hits, such as last year’s Red Pepper Jalapeno Jelly.
I had never made jelly before which is a risky way to embark on a gift-giving mission. Nevertheless, I threw caution to the wind and set out to buy two dozen mason jars–this would be no small endeavor–and some liquid pectin. When I realized how much sugar was required I almost bailed on the mission but somehow justified the calories with a shrug and an internal dialog of, “It’s the holidays…what’s another cup of sugar?”
After making the jelly and filling the jars, I affixed a raffia-tied tag to each (not shown in the photo) which read, “Red Pepper Jalapeno Jelly compliments of The Crichtons. Serve with roasted meats, cheese and crackers, or spread on crusty bread with goat or cream cheese. Happy holidays!”
Now I just need to figure out what to make and share this holiday season. Any thoughts?
- 3 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
- 2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeds reserved, and coarsely chopped
- 5 cups sugar
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1 (3-ounce) envelope liquid pectin (see note below)
- Pulse bell peppers, jalapenos, and reserved jalapeno seeds (if desired) in food processor until finely minced, 12 to 15 pulses, scraping down bowl as necessary. Transfer pepper mixture to clean kitchen towel set over bowl and squeeze to remove excess liquid.
- Combine drained peppers, sugar, and vinegar in Dutch oven and bring to vigorous boil over medium-high heat. Add pectin and return to vigorous boil, stirring frequently, until temperature registers 221 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. Using large spoon, skim foam from top of jelly.
- Transfer jam to jars with tight-fitting lids, let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. Let jelly set in refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
- You may want to wear latex gloves when chopping the jalapeno. You can leave the gloves on for straining the pepper mixture, too, or just be sure to rinse your hands well after this step. If you want your jelly hotter, include the jalapeno seeds--or for an even hotter jelly, use habaneros instead of jalapenos. Keep a close eye on the pot so it doesn’t boil over after adding the pectin. This recipe was developed with Certo liquid pectin, but other brands can be used.
- Jelly can be refrigerated for at least 2 months.