You probably read about how my garden was a big fat failure this spring. In one last desperate attempt to grow something this year, I broke down and bought a couple of jalapeño pepper plants mid-summer. Would you believe they actually survived?
So what does that have to do with Christmas? Well, there is no occasion, Christmas or otherwise, in the Byrd household that does not involve a block of cream cheese, a jar of jalapeño jelly, and a stack of crackers. The natural green and red color of the peppers makes it conveniently festive as well. I get requests for this jelly all of the time, so I have started giving it as Christmas gifts.
While I love to grow the peppers myself, you can easily find them in any produce section of the grocery store. The recipe I use is from the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” book (see page 129). This recipe is simple, quick, and your friends will think you’re super awesome for making your own jelly. Give it a try!
Basic canning supplies – Really the funnel and the jar lifter are all that you need for this project. The jar lifter that comes in the basic package will not last if you do a lot of canning. The rubber starts to peel after a while. If you plan to do this often, invest in the heavy-duty Ball brand jar lifter. It is definitely worth the extra investment.
A medium size to large size sauce pan, but not one that is too big. You will have to dip the liquid out of the pan, and you don’t want to have to stand on your tip toes if your sauce pan is too deep.
A ladle – Not all ladles are created equally. I prefer a canning ladle over a soup serving ladle because the handle is straight. A straight handle makes it easier to pour into the jars. The bent handle of a soup serving ladle has made a big huge mess in my kitchen before. It was all the ladle’s fault – not mine at all.
Canning jars and lids – I use the Ball 4 oz. Jelly Jars. You will have a higher yield of your jelly and that = more gifts to give. Plus, a 4 oz. jar of this jelly fits perfectly on one block of cream cheese. However, there is nothing wrong with using the 8 oz. jars, or even the decorative jars that Ball sells like these cute squatty jars or these pretty little jam jars.
12 oz jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and deveined. (I finely chop one or two of the peppers and set them aside to add later The jalapeño “chunks” makes for good presentation when the green (or red) jelly is lying on top of your block of white cream cheese.)
2 cups cider vinegar divided
6 cups granulated sugar
2 pouches liquid pectin
Green food coloring if using green peppers, red food coloring if using red peppers. (The Ball recipe says food coloring is optional. I use it, and I highly recommend that you do too, especially if you use the green jalapeños. The green of the jalapeños is just not as pretty unless you use the food coloring. Quite frankly, it just looks gross to me without it.)
PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
PURÉE peppers in food processor or blender with 1 cup cider vinegar until smooth. Do not strain purée. (This is the part where I hold out some of the finely chopped pepper chunks to add later.)
COMBINE purée with remaining 1 cup cider vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 10 minutes, stirring frequently. (This is where I add the finely chopped pepper chunks.)
ADD Liquid Pectin, immediately squeezing entire contents from pouches. Continue to boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add food coloring, if using, and skim foam if necessary.
LADLE hot jalapeno jelly into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
PROCESS in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
ENJOY AND/OR GIVE IT AWAY
How did your jelly turn out? Drop a comment below and let me know!
Disclosure: Some of the links within are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase some items, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Also, 100% of any money made from this blog is put back into the feed, care, and well being of our cows and bees, as well as the care of the land upon which they are fed. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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