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Preserving and canning: Jalapeno jelly

Jalapeno jelly is a Texas staple, found on store shelves across the state. It’s fantastic served over cream cheese or brie, with crackers on the side. It’s also a lovely glaze for fish or chicken, or as a sandwich spread with turkey. If you’ve never reached for a jar, do yourself a favor and try it; better yet, make your own, like I did recently with my sister.

Jalapeno jelly is often made with some jalapenos and a lot of green bell peppers, but we didn’t want that. We wanted a straight-up jalapeno jelly recipe, and we found one at TexasHomesteader.com.

Her jelly recipe consists of jalapenos, sugar, liquid pectin, and apple cider vinegar. We were faithful to her recipe, with one tweak; five minutes into the cooking of the jalapeno jelly, we added diced red bell pepper, then cooked for the final five minutes.

We wanted the sprinkling of red confetti-like bits of pepper in the jelly to make a pretty contrast with the little jewels of green pepper, especially for Christmas gift-giving. The reason to wait five minutes before adding is so that the red bell doesn’t cook down so much that it loses its bright color. Now, we only added one-half a large bell pepper to each batch, and in retrospect, we should have used a full one per batch for more color. Next time!

In Mama Steph's Kitchen: Pepper jelly

After we made our two batches, we sat down with the half-cup of extra jelly, poured if over half a block of cream cheese, opened some crackers and had a little kitchen party. It was fabulous, and I hope you’ll make some for yourself! As far as gift-giving goes, we ended up with 14 half-pint jars; we figured it cost about $1 a jar for the jars and lids, peppers, sugar, and pectin. My super creative sister will dress the jars up for the holidays and they’ll make some folks on the receiving end really happy. 🙂

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Note on canning cost: I already have a boiling-water canner, so did not have to purchase that. If you don’t have one, ask someone you know if you can borrow theirs, or if you’d like your own, the traditional black granite-ware pots with rack and lid are about $20 at the grocery store. Mine was given to me by my husband’s Aunt Ginny about 12 years ago; she’d quit using it, so handed it down to me, and I’ve used it ever since. They do seem to last forever!

Have you ever made or bought pepper jelly? I would love to know how you use it, as I’m looking for more ideas!
You might also like:

Cooking basics: Slow-cooker apple butter
Save a little summer sun in your freezer: Freezing fresh tomatoes
Ball Blue Book strawberry jam (and a repurposed armoire)

Copyright 2014 Stephanie Hill-Frazier. All rights reserved.

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