My pepper jelly recipe is not quite right. Help me fix it.
August 18, 2007 8:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good recipe for hot pepper jelly

I love the appetizer where you pour pepper jelly over a block of cream cheese (previously on AskMe). I decided to try canning some from my garden produce this year and I'm not thrilled with the results. I used a recipe from Rodale's Stocking Up. It was more of a true jelly - the peppers were food processed to a puree - there wasn't a high enough hot pepper to bell pepper ration (it's not really hot at all) and the flavor is VERY vinegary. It isn't terrible, just not what I was looking for and I'm sort of wishing I didn't have a pint and a half of it now.

I'm capable of typing "pepper jelly recipe" into a search engine. I'm hoping for personal recommendations - the family recipe. Specifically, I was looking for what I've encountered before, a sweeter, hotter, more chunky-preserves/chutney texture affair. My mom never made this. Email your mom for me? Thanks!
posted by nanojath to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'll see if I can find the recipe my boss gave me last was amazing. I ended up giving some away and gifts and it got lots of raves. It was really pretty too.
posted by iconomy at 11:04 AM on August 18, 2007

Just giving my thoughts. Long time pepper jelly eater, never made it.

Considering that hot peppers are generally thin skin and very little pulp, I really don't see how you could get a chutney texture unless you introduced a foreign element, like red bell pepper or tomato. So you need to keep the red bell pepper in there. The secret is to use really, really hot pepper varieties. It sounds like you used your garden produce, so maybe it was a milder pepper (you didn't say which you used). Most spicy jellies I've had were based around the habanero, which is frikken hot. I'm guessing no more than one habanero (or scotch bonnet as they're also called) per batch, assuming you're getting several pint jars per batch. It really is the kind of pepper and not how much you use, really. I remember my brother trying out a habanero for the first time. He chopped up an entire pepper and threw it in a skillet with some diced potatoes (maybe 2-3) and it came out basically inedible because it was so flamingly hot. From then on we were always careful to only add a small amount of pepper.

I'm pretty sure that the vinegar would actual interfere with the jelling process, so if you reduce it to match your taste preference you'll have a smoother jelly anyway and won't need to food-process the hot peppers. Mincing them is probably recommended to have good heat and flavor distribution but won't mush them up like pureeing them will.

I have never come across a pepper jelly that uses honey, and right now I am tasting it in my mind and thinking that might be a good flavor combination. So that's something you can test as well. Don't use it as exclusive sweetener, just take out a little bit of the liquid and a 2t of sugar and add 1t of honey instead for just a hint of honey flavor.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:20 PM on August 18, 2007

My mom used to make this one. I'm not sure if it's exactly what you're looking for but it is tasty. It looks ripe for experimenting with other peppers, or leaving some seeds in. I'm pretty sure she stole this version from a cookbook called Cordon BlueGrass.

Jalapeno Jelly

Prep time: 10 minutes
Yield: 8 cups

3/4 cup coarsely ground seeded jalapeno peppers
3/4 cup coarsely ground seeded sweet peppers (red, green, bell and banana)
1 1/2 c vinegar
6 1/2 c sugar
1 bottle liquid pectin

Bring peppers, vinegar and sugar to a rolling boil for 3-4 minutes. Add bottle of liquid pectin and boil 1 more minute. Cool slightly and pour into sterilized jars.
posted by acorncup at 8:03 PM on August 18, 2007

I use this recipe - it's similar to Acorn's above.

1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/2 cup chopped sweet yellow pepper
7 chopped jalapeno peppers, no seeds (or leave seeds in for more heat)
1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
2 pkg liquid pectin

Combine all ingredients except pectin in large saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes. Return to high heat and boil for two minutes. Add pectin and boil one minute, remove from heat and add lime juice. Pour into jars and process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.

But, this might be what you're looking for. It has that sweet/hot thing, and uses honey. You can certainly substitute jalapenos. The taste is sweet to start, and ends hot.


3 lbs. ripe peaches, peeled and quartered
1/2 medium sized orange, quartered and seeded
2 habaneros, seeds and all
4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup honey

Combine peaches, sugar and honey in a dutch oven, stir well. Cover and let stand 45 minutes. In food processor or blender, chop oranges and habaneros until finally chopped, scraping down sides a couple of times. Place orange, habaneros and an equal amount of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Bring peach mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium high and cook, uncovered, 15 minutes, stirring often. Add orange mixture. Bring to a boil, cook, uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 221F, stirring often. Remove from heat, stir in almond extract. Skim off foam with metal spoon.

Quickly pour hot mixture into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace, wipe jar rims. Cover with lids and Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes.

Yield: 6 half pints
posted by Flakypastry at 2:58 AM on August 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Oh, I forgot this one. I used to make this years ago (I was the weird kid that made jelly in my Mom's kitchen. She never made it). It's another jam-like hot pepper jelly that starts sweet and ends hot. It also makes less than the recipes above - about 3 cups.

Apricot Hot Pepper Jelly

2 chopped jalapeno peppers
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots, soaked in water for 4 hours
1/2 cup diced red pepper
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 cups sugar
1 pouch liquid fruit pectin

Combine peppers, apricots, vinegar and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a full boil over high heat and boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add pectin, return to boil and boil rapidly 1 minute. Ladle into hot jars, seal and then boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

I have a few more too. Email me if you want.
posted by Flakypastry at 3:42 AM on August 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far. Oh, the embarrassment of riches...

Deathalicious, I agree you need sweet peppers for both taste and texture, but the recipe I used had a ratio of about 3-1, so acorncup's 1-1 might be more in the territory I'm looking for. The recipe I used actually did use honey as a sweetener (all of Rodale's preserve recipes are sweetened with honey) and I did think it was a good flavor, so I may have to fool around with sweetener choices. I don't know about the vinegar vs. gel factor - in my case it might have been moot because I used a low-methoxy pectin that gels with a mineral additive rather than lots of sugar... another Rodale foible, it worked just fine for raspberry preserves anyway, though for a non-fruit jelly regular pectin and sugar might work better...

Flakypastry, your fruit-pepper jellies are intriguing and I will probably email you soon. Thanks again for recipes.
posted by nanojath at 12:08 PM on August 20, 2007

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