Saturday, October 2, 2010

Red Wine Hot Pepper Jelly

My husband harvested the remains of our garden this week.  Look at all those beautiful peppers!  My friends and family have been asking for my hot pepper jelly all summer.  It's very good on crackers with cream cheese, as a sauce for meats or as a sandwich spread.  For some reason, my pepper plants were very large, but didn't produce all that many peppers, just 2 or 3 a week.  Not enough to enjoy fresh and make jelly.  Well, now is the time! 

This jelly recipe is incredibly easy to make.  Start sterilizing your freshly washed jars, cut open the Certo pouch and place it upright in a mug - there won't be time for scissors when it's time to add the Certo. Chop the peppers finely,  (I use my food processor and pulse it), add them to a heavy pot along with sugar and red wine vinegar and bring to a boil.

Sterilize your jars. The water is 1" over the jar tops. The rack prevents breakage.

Starting to simmer, this is the time to taste for heat level.
 It will take a L-O-N-G time to come to a boil.  Keep stirring and DON'T walk away.  I opened a drawer next to the stove looking for a spoon rest.  I had a boil over.  We're talking lava surging over the sides of the pan.  I had to stop everything, pour out the drip tray, transfer the remains into a fresh pot and start heating it all over. That was after at least 30 minutes of wiping, rinsing the cloth, wiping, soaking the grates, wiping (you get the idea - learn from my mistakes).  I said it was easy to make, not idiot proof.  No, I didn't think to take a picture. 

When you can't stir down the boil, add crushed pepper flakes to taste.  Set your timer for 1 minute but don't press start yet.  Quickly squeeze in all the Certo and stir rapidly.  Start your timer.  Boil and stir until the timer goes off.  You can reduce the flame if it starts to foam up, but you want to keep it cooking as hot as possible for the entire time.

When the timer goes off, turn off the flame under the jelly and take your sterile jars from the canner.  Turn the heat up on the canner and cover it to get the water boiling while you fill the jars.  Add 6 lids to the canner. Jar lids can't be reused, so I wait to heat that last lid, in case I only get 6 jars.  Any last little bit goes in a plastic food storage container after it cools and into the fridge.

Ladle the hot jelly into hot jars.  A canning funnel will save you a lot of drips. Wipe the rims, add hot lids and rings. When the water in the canner is boiling rapidly, add the filled jars and process for 10 minutes.  Remove to towel lined heat-proof surface, cover with another towel and leave undisturbed at least 12 hours.  Then check for seal by pressing gently on each lid.  If a lid moves, you have a bad seal.  Refrigerate and use it.  It's safe to eat, just not shelf stable. Label the jars with contents and date. 

Here's the measurements:

Red Wine Hot Pepper Jelly
3/4 cup finely chopped hot peppers (I used 2 poblanos)
2 cup finely chopped bell pepper (I used 1 bell pepper plus 6 banana peppers)

1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
6 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 - 3 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1 pouch liquid pectin (don't substitute dry pectin)

7 half pint canning jars
7 new jar lids
7 jar rings

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