The basics for pepper jelly is the combination of some kind of hot peppers such as jalapenos, habaneros, or serranos, depending on your level of heat, and the mixture of vinegar to bring up the pH. The only way to get this to gel is a lot of sugar and pectin. The sugar helps to cut the tanginess of the vinegar and at the same time work towards making the mixture gel. You could cook this mixture to 220 degrees, which is the point at which sugar turns to a soft ball, but to ensure the gel using the liquid pectin will perfect in getting the texture of jelly.
Paula shared with me her gorgeous version of the classic recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Paula has been in the middle of making Holiday gifts and used red jalapenos and green peppers to come up with the 12 oz of peppers. You can interchange the peppers as long as you only use the measurement called out for in the recipe.
Below is the pictures of her amazing jars. Thank you Paula for letting me share them with my readers.
- 12 oz jalapeño peppers
- 2 cups cider vinegar, divided
- 6 cups granulated sugar
- 2 pouches liquid pectin
- Prepare 5 half pint jars, lids, and rings. Sterilize the jars and keep them in the hot water till its time for processing. Make sure to fill your water bath canner and get the water to a simmer. In a blender or food processor puree peppers and 1 cup of vinegar until smooth.
- In a large stainless steel pot combine pepper puree and the remaining 1 cup vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil, stirring constantly for 10 minutes. Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Filling the jars:
- On a dishtowel place your hot jars and using your funnel in each jar using a ladle then fill the jars leaving 1/4 ” headspace. Taking a clean papertowel wet it with warm water and wipe the rims of the jars removing any food particles that would interfere with a good seal.
- Using your magic wand extract the lids from the hot water and place them on the now cleaned rims. Add your rings to the tops of each of the jars and turn to seal just "finger tight".
- Make sure your rack is on the bottom of the canner and place the jars in the water bath making sure that the water covers each of the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add hot water to the canner if it doesn't measure up.
- Cover the pot and turn up the heat under the canner and wait for the water to start boiling. Once the water has come to a boil start your timer for 10 minutes.
- When complete turn off the heat and remove the cover and let the jars sit for another few minutes.
- Remove the jars and place them back on the dishtowel in a place that they will sit overnight to cool. Do not touch or move them till the next morning.
- Some time in the next hour your jars will be making a "pinging" or "popping" noise. That is the glass cooling and the reaction of the lids being sucked into the jar for proper sealing. Some recipes may take overnight to seal. check your lids and reprocess any jars that did not seal.