I’m excited about this recipe because it was so easy and it turned out so well. And come on, you can’t start out the upcoming appetizer season without a good hot pepper jelly in your arsenal. Paired with soft goat or cream cheese and crackers it’s an epic experience. It draws people in like a flies, and causes normally discreet friends and family to shovel, gorge, and wolf. All conversation stops until the plate is licked clean. It’s not pretty, but it is delicious.
If you already know and love hot pepper jellies and jams I think you’ll be excited about this one too. I’ve kept the steps to an absolute minimum.. Maybe it’s just me, but the directions that come in those pectin boxes drive me crazy. They are so convoluted and there are so many charts! I bypassed all the charts, and I’m giving you a quick way to get hot pepper jelly into your belly asap. :) And then you can customize it to whatever hot and sweet peppers you have on hand. If you’re the canning type, can up a bunch of it, it will make fantastic holiday gifts. I made enough to last in the fridge for a few weeks of gorging.
I’ve blathered on about my love of peppers before, so I’ll keep it short. I just think they are not only beautiful, but so versatile. Mid to late summer is the best time to find them at farmer’s markets, but of course you can get them year round in the supermarket. I go crazy picking out a rainbow of colors. For this jelly I used a handful of jalapenos for the heat, and an assortment of bell peppers for sweetness and color. All it takes is a few pulses of the food processor to get them finely minced.
But what I love most about this recipe is that there’s no long cooking of the peppers. I just bring the pot to a boil, stir in the pectin, and let it cook for 1 minute. That’s it. All the recipes I researched cooked the peppers for a full 10 minutes before adding the pectin. I took a chance and sidestepped all that. It was perfect. And this way the peppers stay fresh and bright.
Working with hot peppers is not an exact science. Some jalapenos are hot, some are not so much. There’s no real way to tell until you taste. But since the whole point of hot pepper jelly is the heat, I suggest erring on the more is better side. If you are really heat loving, you can substitute HABANERO peppers for the jalapenos.
- about 8 jalapeno peppers
- 12 oz assorted colorful bell peppers (weighed after trimming)
- 2 cups white (or cider) vinegar
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 box (1.75 oz) no sugar needed pectin
- Wash the jalapenos and trim the stem end off. Remove the seeds if you want a milder jelly. I recommend using the whole peppers, seeds and all. Give them a rough chop and then pulse them in the food processor until they are finely minced. Be careful, the fumes will be strong, and make sure to wash your hands well after working with hot peppers. Put the peppers into a heavy bottomed pot.
- Wash and trim the bell peppers, and remove the inner ribs and seeds. Give them a rough chop and pulse them in a food processor until finely minced. You may want to do this in batches, because I find you get a more even chop if you don't crowd the bowl. Add the bell peppers to the pot with the jalapenos.
- Add the vinegar and sugar to the pot and stir to combine. Bring the pot up to a boil, and then add the pectin. Boil, stirring, for one minute.
- Ladle the hot liquid into clean jars and set aside to cool before capping and refrigerating.
- If your pepper bits float to the top, you can give the jelly an occasional stir as it cools to distribute them more evenly.
- When the jelly is cool, cap and refrigerate the jars. They will thicken as they cool, and even more as they chill.
- Serve with plenty of creamy goat or cream cheese, and crackers or grilled slices of baguette.