Are you new to canning? Do you love the beautiful bounty of brightly colored bell peppers that fill your garden (or become VERY affordable this time of year)? Are you tired of panicking about the perfect hostess gift as you run out the door to a get-together? Well, I have the perfect project for you: Homemade Pepper Jelly.
Seriously, this project can easily be accomplished in one afternoon with equipment you (most likely) have in your home. You’ll need: 7 (4oz) canning jars with screw bands and lids, tongs, a saucepan, a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot AND a pot deep enough to cover each jar by 2 inches with water (referred to as a “canner” in the recipe).
It’s so easy, and pretty, I thought I’d document the recipe for you in pictures…
- 4 bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 jalapeno pepper, stem-end removed (leave seeds in for a spicy kick)
- 3 Tbsp. powdered pectin (no-sugar-needed variety)
- 3 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. butter (optional, to reduce foaming)
- 1 tsp. salt
- Run the jars through a hot rinse cycle so they are hot when you start canning.
- Place the jar lids in a saucepan filled with water. Bring to a simmer (do not boil) until ready to place the lids on the filled jars.
- Fill the canning pot with water to cover each jar by 2 inches, cover and bring water to a boil.
- Prepare the peppers (core, seed, rough chop and process to small-dice).
- Whisk 1/4 cup sugar and pectin in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Place peppers, vinegar, 3 cups sugar, salt and butter into a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot and bring to a vigorous boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in the pectin mixture, return to a vigorous boil, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Take hot jars from the dishwasher and place on a clean kitchen towel to drain.
- One at a time, carefully ladle the hot pepper mixture into the jars leaving 1/4-inch of space at the top.
- Using a damp paper towel, clean the tops and sides of each jar.
- Remove lids from boiling water with tongs and place one lid onto each jar. Firmly screw lids onto jars with screw bands.
- Place the jars into the canner pot, cover and process (boil) for 15 minutes.
- Using tongs, carefully remove the jars from the canner and transfer them to a towel-lined jelly roll pan or counter top to cool. Set aside.
- As the jars cool (12-24 hours), the jelly will thicken. You’ll hear them “ping” and the lids will go concave. This means you’ve achieved a secure seal. Store in a cool, dark place for up to one year.
- If you have any lids that did not seal securely (go concave), those should be stored in the refrigerator and used first.
Put some cute labels on your jars so that they are ready to go when you need a hostess gift or a quick appetizer (cracker + goat cheese + pepper jelly). This is also a wonderful glaze for salmon, chicken or carrots! EnJOY!
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