I love pepper jelly. Pour it over an 8 ounce block of cream cheese, throw some wheat thins around it and call it a day! It is easy, delicious and a general crowd pleaser. And I have really been inundated with peppers of all sorts- so, I thought- the universe is providing an excellent opportunity to try my hand at making my own pepper jelly.
I knew the basics. I knew I was gonna need some mason jars and some sort of pectin, the peppers of course and sugar. I mean, how hard could it be? Wellllllll. Not that it was hard, but it wasn’t simple either! One of my very best friends, Lori Leech helped with this process- but, maybe we should have gotten assistance from somebody who had made pepper jelly before…
ALERT! This is not a tutorial! This is a whoa! Who knew making pepper jelly would require a degree in
chemistry rocket science with a minor in multi-tasking!
So, here are the basic steps. Cut up your peppers in small chunks and sanitize your jars.
To sanitize your jars, you have to wash them in really hot water and then let the lids sit in nearly boiling water while you work on your actual jelly.
I picked the pectin I did because it claimed to come with easy to follow directions— um, not so much. Lori and I ended up, more or less, following a recipe found here because the included directions were anything but easy to follow. It may have been the included directions that made me think that making pepper jelly was not quite as easy as it seemed.
Anyway, once we had the jars sanitized and the peppers cut up, I put the peppers in a pan and added apple cider vinegar and pectin to them and stirred constantly until boiling. Then I added the sugar and let it return to a rolling boil and continued stirring it constantly for 1 minute. I removed from heat, skimmed off the foam and poured it in the 1/2 pint jars.
At this point, you can be done- but, the jelly is only good for about 3 weeks. We had made it this far, we decided to go on and finish. This is where, I have to warn you, faithful reader, that I am not sure we did this exactly right. There are fancy canning pots you can buy that have racks in them and are really big and kinda resemble pressure cookers. I do not have one of those. Instead we put the jars in boiling water that covered them by more than 2 inches and let them boil for 8-10 minutes.
Now, I do not know if this has the same effect as the fancy canning pot. And if you are going to make jelly at home, I suggest you get yourself a canning pot. Actually, if you are going to do any canning at home, I TOTALLY recommend you find someone who has experience with the process and get them to guide you through it, at least the first time.
In the end, our finished product yielded four 1/2 pints of jelly.
- 4 cups of peppers finely chopped
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 (1.75 oz) package of powdered pectin
- 5 cups of white sugar, I used Splenda
- Sterilize 6 (8 oz) canning jars (I only used 4)
- Place peppers in large sauce pan. Mix in vinegar and pectin, stirring constantly until it comes to a rolling boil. Quickly stir in sugar and return to full rolling boil. Boil exactly one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from hear and skim off foam.
- Quickly ladle jelly into jars, filling to ¼ inch from the top. Cover with flat lids and screw band on tightly.
- Place jars in rack and slowly lower jars into canner. The water should cover the jars completely, and should be hot but not boiling. Bring water to a boil, and process for 5 minutes.
Hope this gives you some insight into pepper jelly.