It’s time for my next partner post with Ball Canning. I’m working with them this season to share recipes, new products, and canning tips. So far this year, I’ve tackled a pantry makeover, shared my cheater shrub recipe, made a batch of strawberry rhubarb jam, cooked up some bread and butter pickles, and fired up the oven for roasted salsa verde.
This month, I’ve made a batch of pepper jelly This recipe came at the exact right time for me. I’ve been getting a farmers choice box each week (it’s like a CSA, but you opt in or out each week) from my favorite local farm, and the last couple boxes have come with loads of crisp, sweet peppers.
The peppers were building up in my fridge and so I was happy to make good use of them. And pepper jelly is a particularly good use. It’s signature combination of sweet and heat makes for a useful, tasty condiment. While it’s traditional to serve it over cream cheese, I really like it shaken into vinaigrette, spread on a turkey sandwich, or used to glaze meatballs.
I first discovered how good that sweet hot combination could be when I was in high school. There was a food truck across the street from my campus that served grilled teriyaki chicken skewers over rice for just $3 a portion (this was 1995, after all).
When you placed your order, you could ask to have the chicken seasoned with a strip of warm Thai sweet chili hot sauce (it was always poured from a big Tupperware pitcher). Ever since, I’ve been a fool for the combination.
I made this pepper jelly over the course of two days. The first day, I gathered my peppers and carefully chopped them into tiny squares. You could use a food processor for this job, but I find the process of making a teeny, uniform dice quite soothing.
I didn’t wear gloves for the sweet peppers, when it came time to chop the jalapenos, I pulled on a pair of disposable gloves I keep in my kitchen for precisely this purpose.
In earlier days, I might have rolled the dice and hoped that the peppers weren’t too hot, but since I wipe tiny faces and change diapers a dozen times a day, I didn’t want to run the risk of having hot pepper oil on my hands.
If you have similarly sensitive people in your life, kitchen gloves are a must any time you handle hot peppers.
The next day, I took my carefully chopped peppers out of the fridge and gathered the rest of my ingredients. In addition to five cups of peppers (1/2 cup are hot), you need 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup honey, and 3 tablespoons of Ball Low or No-Sugar-Needed Pectin.
Once your ingredients are gathered, you want to pause of the making of the jelly and get your canning pot ready. Pull out your canner or line the bottom of a stock pot with a heat proof canning mat.
Arrange the necessary half pint jars on top of the mat or rack and fill them with hot tap water. Keep the water running until the jars are just submerged. If you have hard water, add a healthy glug of white vinegar to the pot to help prevent mineral deposits from adhering to your jars.
Put the pot on the stove and let it heat up while you make the jelly.
In a large pot (I used a low, wide 8 quart pan made from stainless steel), combine the peppers and vinegar. Bring them to a hard boil and stir in the pectin, one tablespoon at a time. Then, add the sugar and honey. Once all the ingredients are in, you let it boil hard for three minutes, and then the cooking process is done.
Once the jelly is finished, it’s time to get it into the jars. Pull one of your hot jars out of the canner and put it on a heatproof surface (I like to work on my butcher block, because the wood absorbs the heat and doesn’t put the jars at risk).
Fit your jar with a canning funnel and pour in the jelly, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Use a chopstick or bubbling tool to remove any trapped air bubbles and check your headspace. If it has dropped below 1/4 inch, add a little bit more jelly.
Wipe the rim with a clean, damp towel. Place a clean, new lid on the jar and fasten it in place with a ring (taking care to only twist to fingertip tight). Return the full jar to the canner and repeat with the remaining jars and jelly.
Once all the jars are back in the canner, bring the pot to a rolling boil. Once it has achieved a boil, set a timer for 10 minutes (adjust the processing time if you live above 1,000 feet in elevation). When the processing time is up, turn off the burner and remove the lid.
Let the jars sit in the cooling water for five minutes. This helps improve the quality of your seal and also helps prevent the product from siphoning out of the jars once they are removed from the canner.
Finally, remove the jars from the canner and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. Let them sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Check the seals when that time is up. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
Pepper Jelly is a great preserve to have for holiday gatherings (if such things exist this year) and makes a lovely addition to gift baskets.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post that is part of an ongoing partnership with Ball Canning. They have provided jars, equipment and monetary compensation. All thoughts and opinions expressed remain my own.