I always like to have a few jars of Hot Pepper Jelly on hand, particularly during the holiday season. Hot Pepper Jelly is always an appreciated hostess gift. It’s so versatile. I love to have a bit on a cheese tray, perfect with a leg of lamb, or on a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s a really nice glaze for chicken or pork, too. Are you getting the impression this is a versatile sauce to have in your pantry? You would be right….Technically, this isn’t a jelly. Jelly is generally clear and semi-solid, consisting of a combination fruit juice and sugar. There are “things or bits of stuff” in this Pepper Jelly. When making jelly, the fruit juice/sugar mixture can be boiled to a thick consistency, or pectin can be added to aid in the thickening process, or the “jelling” process. I go the pectin route, because peppers have little or no pectin; apples have a ton. The pectin makes certain your jelly will “set”, i.e. become thick and jelly-like.
I like to use a combination of peppers. I use those small, sweet colored peppers, with almost no seeds, that are available these days in most supermarkets. They are not hot. I add 5 or 6 ripe jalapeño peppers (thanks to The Green Thumbed Engineer!) and 1-2 habanero peppers. I leave the seeds, or at least most of the seeds and membranes, in the hot chiles, because I like the finished product to have a good hit of heat. Use gloves when you’re working with hot peppers. Trust me on this. You don’t want the delicate parts of your body to suffer unduly. It doesn’t absolutely have to be about heat. I have made “hot” pepper jelly, not hot at all, using only sweet peppers. It was still delicious. But, the heat is a nice touch.
I’ve given you the basic recipe, because it is wonderful as is. But, every now and again, I add some “special ingredients”, so I’m going to give you the variation, too. In this case, I added finely minced pineapple and mango.
I mince the peppers in the food processor. Cut the peppers into smaller pieces so they will mince more evenly. Whirl them up until the pieces are very, very finely minced. Really, just bits. You’ll need about 2 cups total. If you have a few tablespoons more, that’s fine…a cup extra is a whole different matter!
Place the minced peppers, the finely minced mango and pineapple, wine vinegar, pectin and salt in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Give it a good stir and place the pot over medium-high heat. Measure out the sugar and set aside. Bring the mixture to the boil. Give it a stir occasionally. Once the mixture reaches a full, rolling boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down); boil for 1 minute. Stir the sugar in all at once and return to the boil. (You’re going to need to stir the mixture a bit, as the sugar has a tendency to clump together.) It will take several minutes for the mixture to return to the boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat; let the mixture stand for 3-4 minutes. Pour into canning jars and seal according to directions.
I don’t use green peppers, as I feel it makes the jelly drab. The Goddess doesn’t do drab. I use red, yellow and orange peppers, because the color is vibrant and festive. Isn’t this beautiful? And it’s delicious, too!
Hot Pepper Jelly (with a Tropical Twist)
- 2 cups very, very finely minced peppers (see NOTE)
- 2 cups red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 package dry fruit pectin (I use Sure-Jell™)
- 8 cups cane sugar
Cut the peppers into smaller pieces. Place the peppers, both sweet and hot, in the bowl of a food processor. Whirl them up until the pieces are very, very finely minced. You should have about 2 cups total. If you have a tablespoons or two more, just add it.
Place the minced peppers, wine vinegar, pectin and salt in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Place over medium-high heat and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture reaches a full, rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, boil for 1 minute. Stir the sugar in all at once and return to the boil. Boil for 1 minute. Let the mixture sit for 3-4 minutes. Pour into canning jars and seal according to directions.
Variation—Add 1/3 cup each very finely minced mango and pineapple, along with the finely minced peppers. Continue with the recipe.
NOTE: I used 4-5 ripe jalapeño peppers and 1-2 habanero peppers, and left the seeds in tact. Place them in a 2 cup measure. Use sweet peppers to fill the measuring cup to the 2 cup level. I use only red, orange, and yellow peppers, because I prefer the look. I don’t use green peppers, but that’s up to you.
Hot Pepper Jelly (with a Tropical Twist) Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2017. All rights reserved.
Pectin comes in both liquid and dry forms. They are handled slightly differently when adding. You may use either on, just follow the instructions on the package.