One thing my family has always loved to make is preserves.
Lately, my newest preserve obsession is pepper jellies – especially those with hot peppers in them. These delightful jellies are sweet, tangy, and with just a little heat (I found the jalapeno variation a little spicier). They go great with cream cheese for a simple appetizer if company shows up. Just take out a block of cream cheese, spoon some jelly on top, and serve with crackers.
For this recipe, you’ll need what’s called a “Boiling Water Canner”. An explanation is below, but here’s what it looks like:
I’ve added some tips at the bottom of the recipe for preparing your jars and lids, but you can find a step by step tutorial on canning, as well as other recipes here.
Finally, here’s the recipe.
Red Pepper Serrano or Green Pepper Jalapeno Jelly
- 2 cups finely chopped bell pepper (red or green)
- 2 hot peppers (serrano or jalapeno), mostly seeded and chopped very finely (NOTE: For the serrano version, I used 2 red serrano peppers and half of a red finger chili)
- A couple shakes of hot pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups Cider Vinegar
- 6 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
- 2 pouches Certo liquid pectin
- Food coloring (red or green)
- 5 250ml/8 oz mason jars with 2-piece lids
- Combine the peppers, vinegar and sugar in a large pot.
- Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in a few drops of either red or green food coloring, depending which variation you’re making, and let rest for at least 20 minutes.
- Return to the heat and bring back to a high boil on med-high heat.
- Add pectin and boil for 1 full minute.
- Remove from heat.
- Skim off any foam on the top of the mixture.
- Stir frequently for 5 – 10 minutes while the mixture starts to cool. This helps to distribute the peppers in the liquid and make sure they don’t all float to the top. If you find they’re still floating, keep stirring.
- Pour into prepared jars* and leave 1/4″ of space to the top of the jar.
- Wipe edges of jars to make sure they’re clean.
- Put on the heated flat lid** in place and screw on the ring to “fingertip tight”. Don’t over tighten, because they’ll need to breathe when you do the next step.
- Put all the jars in a canner*** and cover with water. Bring to a boil and “process” (or boil) for 10 solid minutes.
- Remove jars from the canner carefully and place on a flat surface covered with a towel. Do not tip the jars as you transfer them.
- Let jars cool to room temperature naturally.
- Remove the screw rings and check that all lids have sealed and that the “button” in the middle of each lid has clicked down in place.
- Use within one year.
* To prepare jars, run them through the sterilize cycle in the dishwasher and make sure to keep them warm until you’re ready to use them. Alternatively, you can put them in your canner and bring them to a boil for 5 – 10 minutes.
** To prepare lids, put them in a pot of water and bring almost to a boil until water is hot, but not bubbling. Use lids directly out of the hot water.
***You can buy a canner (which is a very large pot with a rack in it) or you can use a very large pot and buy just the rack. Canadian Tire sells the whole canning kit for around $50 with the pot, rack, lid magnet, jar lifter, proper sized funnel, gapping tool for the tops of jars. It’s well worth it!
TIP: Don’t put cold jars in already boiling water – it’ll shock them too much. Make sure your jars are warm to start, fill them with the warm jelly, and then put them in somewhat hot water that isn’t boiling and bring to a boil gently. Processing time starts when the pot has a full boil, so keep an eye on it.