This sweet and spicy pepper jelly is a perfect accompaniment to a cheese and charcuterie platter.
The nice thing about this recipe is that it can be made year-round with hothouse peppers. You can vary the colour from yellow to green to red by changing the proportion of the various sweet peppers, and you can change the heat by using more or less jalapeño, hotter habanero or even Scotch bonnet peppers.
The recipe fills six 250-ml jars, more or less. Sometimes there’s a little extra, which means you get to taste the jam without opening a jar. Less often the result is a little shy of six jars, so one jar isn’t as full.
Processing the jars
You’ll need a canner and six canning jars, as well as lids and rings. To sterilize the jars, “bake” them in the oven at 250F for 15 minutes or boil them in the canner for 10 minutes. Keep them hot so they don’t crack when the hot mixture is ladled in. The lids can sit in very hot water until you need them. The rings don’t need sterilizing because they don’t touch the jar’s contents, but you can put them in hot water with the lids.
When the jelly is ready (recipe follows), ladle the hot mixture into jars, leaving 6 mm (¼ inch) of space at the top. Canning jar tongs and a canning funnel are helpful tools at this stage.
With a damp cloth wipe any spills off the rim.
Place the lids on the jars – be sure they’re centred – and screw on the ring, finger-tight so that air is able to escape during the sealing process. To process, place the filled jars in hot water in the canner. The water should cover the jars by at least an inch. Bring to a boil and boil for five minutes. Remove the canner from heat. Let the jars cool in the water and listen for the ping that indicates the jars are sealed.
Once the jars are cool, press on the lids. If a lid springs back, it isn’t completely sealed. Store those jars in the refrigerator and use up their contents first. The others can go in a cool cupboard for up to a year (or more, I’ve found).
- 4 cups peppers, seeded and finely chopped (a mix of red, yellow or green sweet peppers and jalapeño peppers*)
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 box (57 g) powdered pectin
- 5 cups sugar
- * I’ve never used more than a generous ¼ cup of jalapeño peppers, but some like it hotter.
- Sterilize clean jars — “bake” them in the oven at 250F for 15 minutes or boil them in the canner for 10 minutes.
- Seed and finely chop sweet and jalapeño peppers.
- Place chopped peppers in a large pot.
- Add vinegar and stir in pectin.
- Stir constantly over high heat and bring to a rolling boil.
- Add the sugar all at once and keep stirring. When it comes back to a full boil, continue for another minute.
- Take the pot of peppers off the heat, skim off any foam, then ladle into sterilized jars with finger-tightened lids.
- Place the filled jars in the canner, covered by at least an inch of hot water. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.
- Once cooled, check the lids for a good seal (see instructions). Label and enjoy your jelly!
Many of Connie Arteaga’s long list of handmade preserves – think passata or eggplant antipasto – have their roots in her native Sicily.