Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hot Pepper Jelly

I never heard of Hot Pepper Jelly until I moved to the south 20 years ago.  I remember attending a cocktail party and seeing a block of cream cheese with a red speckled sauce sitting alongside a bowl of crackers.  I had no idea what it was, but I am willing to try anything….especially when cream cheese is part of the dish. 

I fell in love at first bite with this delicious, sweet and spicy southern staple.  I tried to recreate that moment with purchased jars of jelly, but never did until I perfected this simple recipe. 

If you feel the need to make dozens of jars and store them in your pantry, you can boil the jars and begin the canning process, but this jelly is so quick and simple to make, unless I'm making a huge amount to distribute as gifts from my kitchen, I make it in small batches and keep it in the refrigerator.


I must admit, when I got into the kitchen today I had no idea what I was going to make.  Most people will choose a recipe and go to the market for ingredients.  I keep a pretty well stocked pantry, so when I feel like relaxing on a Saturday afternoon…which to me means puttering around in my kitchen….I inventory my pantry and refrigerator for inspiration.


Today I found my inspiration from a bag with just a small handful of mini red and yellow peppers that hadn’t made it into one of this week's salads.


Ingredients:
·         ¾ cups chopped red (and/or yellow) bell peppers
·         ¼ cup chopped fresh hot jalapeno or red pepper
·         1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
·         6 cups sugar
·         4 ounces pectin (Certo recommended)
·         4 drops of red food coloring (optional)

Directions:
I've developed fairly good knife skills and like to see the tiny square pieces in my finished jelly, so I chop the peppers, but feel free to use a food processor. 

The last time I made this jelly, my friend Michael complained that it wasn't hot enough.  Since I'm taking one of these jars to Michael's house for our friendly, monthly poker game this week, I wanted to make sure I included each and every jalapeno pepper seed.  If you are not a fan of heat, leave out a few seeds.
 
In a saucepan, combine the pepper mixture, vinegar and sugar.


Bring to a rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add pectin. 


At this point, the pepper jelly is complete and delicious, but I like the vibrant color I get from adding just 4 drops of red food coloring (optional).


Although my favorite way to eat Hot Pepper Jelly is still with cream cheese on a cracker, you can find many recipes where it's included as an ingredient.  Today I'm using it as a dipping sauce for poppers.

For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Hot Pepper Jelly.  Enjoy!

4 comments:

  1. ...Hot pepper jelly, also one of my favorites... great recipe.....
    Manny

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  2. Love with cracker and cream cheese and loved how you served them with Cheese Pepper Poppers.

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  3. another use: it's great to use as a basting sauce when grilling pork chops and chicken as an alternative to bbq sauce. and you can spread it lightly on a meat meat sandwich for an extra layer of flavor..........

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