Okay. The last time we visited this year-long project was waaaay back in February. Lovely, I know. But we're getting all caught up this month, starting... NOW!
Red and green. The colors of Christmas. Also the colors of some DELICIOUS jellies! Chances are, if you're my neighbor, a friend that lives in town, or someone that I will be visiting over the holidays... you will be getting a prettiful basket filled with lots of gourmet treats. And, some of them will be homemade... fresh from my garden.
Who doesn't love gifts for the tummy during the holidays? It's a time when we always seems to have an influx of friends and family in our home.. Gifts of food are always appreciated around here. It makes things so much easier when those unexpected guests pop in for a visit!
This green pepper jelly is scrumptious, and fairly simple to make. And, summer is the perfect time to make this jelly. You can put it away and save it for your holiday gift giving. It'll be good to go (at its freshest) for a year in those jars. Peppers are pretty prolific (at least in my garden), simple to grown, and are quite hardy. Bell peppers, jalapenos, habanero... I grow 'em all. For this recipe, though, we will be using only green bell peppers (4 of them) and jalapenos (2 of them). Of course, if you don't grow your own, peppers aren't all that expensive to purchase (and are definitely worth the purchase for this yummy treat). This recipe yields about (7) 4 oz. jars. Here's how we do it...
4 green bell peppers, stemmed and seeded
2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and deveined
2 cloves garlic
2/3 C white vinegar
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 pkg (1.75 oz.) regular powdered fruit pectin
3 2/3 C granulated sugar
Chop peppers into large chunks. In a blender, puree green peppers, jalapeno peppers and garlic cloves until smooth.
Looks disgusting, right (smells pretty good, though... kinda' like guacamole)? Yeah. Kinda' reminds you of that slime they used to dump all over people on "You Can't Do That On Television." Anybody else remember that show? No? Okay... moving on.
Now, if you can find a jelly bag for this step... use it. Unfortunately, none of the stores around here carry jelly bags... so I rigged my own contraption...
You start with a mixing bowl on the bottom, then insert a colander over the top. Line the inside of the colander with a few sheets of cheesecloth. Then, pour the puree on top of the cheesecloth. Let drain, undisturbed for 30 minutes. (Meanwhile, prepare your jars for canning per the instructions included here.
You will be surprised how much liquid actually drains out! You'll need 1 1/2 cups of it. I didn't quite get that much liquid. So, if that happens to you... never fear! Just add 1/2 C boiling water to the remaining pulp in the cheesecloth. This will extract additional juices. I had to do it twice before I got enough liquid. But, eventually, you'll end up with something that looks like this...
That would make a cool looking witches' brew at Halloween, right?
Transfer that pepper juice (you can discard of the puree now) to a lg. saucepan. Add vinegar and lemon juice. Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently.
Add sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Quickly pour hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace.
Wipe rims of jars. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to finger-tip tight. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid; wait 5 min before removing jars. Then, move them to an area where they can cool.
I've already sampled some of this jelly, and it is wonderful! So, now you're probably asking, "What am I supped to do with green pepper jelly?" Well, them best way to serve it is atop a brick of cream cheese alongside some of your favorite crackers (I recommend table water crackers, but the less-discerning tastebuds of my family prefer Ritz...
Use a cheese spreader to add some jelly and cream cheese to the crackers... DELISH! It was gone in no time at a party I attended this past weekend. You can also use it as a glaze on meats before you cook them or as a dipping sauce for your favorite cooked meat.
A couple of extra tips...
* This is NOT a spicy jelly at all. I prefer my dad's spicier jalapeno jelly. But, there again, my family's tastebuds overrule me on this one. I might try adding a couple of drops of my dad's secret homemade mango habanero sauce to the pureed mix next time around. I think that would make for the PERFECT jelly! If you don't have a dad that's talented in the kitchen and is kind enough to share a couple bottles of his hot sauce with you... you can find mango habanero sauce at gourmet stores and online specialty shops!
* The recipe recommends adding a few drops of green food coloring to the jelly after you remove it from the stove, just before you pour it into the jars. I don't like that fake green look. I think the jelly looks beautiful just the way it is. But, you are welcome to add the food coloring if you'd like.
And, there you have it... yummy (and surprisingly simple) green pepper jelly! I'll be sharing some other homemade treats that will be gifted as my blogiversary continues (and at least one more in the coming months).