What does one do in the Pacific Northwest on a rainy Sunday in May? Well, I made my first batch of pepper jelly.
I didn’t really have a recipe, though I consulted several of similar genre. And Steve and I both think it could be hotter than it is. A was afraid of the habeñero, so only used one.
I made only these 2 jars and a small plastic container. Just a test to see if it would be any good. I’ll type my recipe below, but fair warning, I just dumped, didn’t really accurately measure anything. And I make jam the old fashioned way… without added pectin. I just simmer it until it gets to consistency I want.
Peachy Habañero Pepper Jelly
1 bag (about 3 cups) frozen freestone peaches, thawed slightly and finely chopped
1/2 red sweet bell pepper, finely chopped
1 large tomatillo
1 habañero pepper
4 cups sugar
2-3 tbsp cider vinegar
teensy tiny pinch of salt
Put all ingredients into heavy-bottomed pan and heat on medium low until it begins to bubble… stirring occasionally. Don’t let it foam up, but keep it simmering.
After a while… maybe 10 minutes… ladle out almost all of the fruit and peppers into a blender and blend for several seconds. Return to pan. The goal is to have just enough larger pieces of fruit in the jelly to look interesting and pretty.
Start the process of seeing if it’s thickened enough. I do this by spooning about a teaspoon of the hot mixture onto a saucer and popping it into the refrigerator for a couple minutes until it’s more or less ‘room temperature’. If it sags a little, but not too much, it’s ready. I prefer my preserves a little loose. If it’s not thick enough, simmer 3-5 minutes more. Test again and again until you like the degree of sagging on the saucer. This is an experience thing… like making read. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at knowing when it’s just right.
Ladle into sterile jars with new lids leaving adequate headroom. That is filling the jar to where the jelly touches the wide-mouth funnel… around the area where the glass makes that ridge below the threads. If the jelly level is too low or too high, it won’t seal adequately. Make sure the lids ‘ping’ as they are cooling that proves the seal.
There you go… pepper jelly!
I think next time I’ll definitely use 2 habañeros, at least a whole red pepper, and maybe a second or even third tomatillo. That added a little sharpness and complexity to the sweet, peachy goodness.