Pepper jellies are an awesome addition to any pantry, adding the savory to the sweet in your jam and jelly collection. Lately, I’ve been delving into a few of the intriguing ones in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, and I am quite happy with them so far. This habanero jelly is gorgeous and dangerously hot! But oh so delicious. Sub in milder peppers if you’re scared of the heat.
1/3 cup finely sliced dried apricots
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped seeded red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped seeded habanero pepper
3 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin
Combine the apricots and vinegar and let them sit to rehydrate the apricots. Ball suggests a minimum of 4 hours to overnight but I think as long as they are plumped up a couple hours is sufficient. Can something else in the meantime while you wait. Chop the rest of the ingredients finely, and in nice even pieces for an attractive jelly. Wear gloves for the habaneros! Then prepare the canner, jars and lids. This yields about 3 half pints.
Most pepper jellies are chocked full of sugar, which is probably not that bad since you really don’t eat very much of it when you really consider it, but I still wanted to attempt reducing it and see if I could still get it to set. So I reduced it to two cups from three and added 3 tablespoons of low sugar pectin in addition to the liquid to compensate. Good news – it still set! Anyways, tangent… at this point add the sugar and stir to dissolve it. Bring the jelly to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add the pectin, return to a boil, and boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat, skim off any foam, and fill your jars.
Quickly fill the jars, leaving a quarter inch head space. Wipe the rims, place the lids on the jars and tighten the bands finger tip tight. Place the jars in the canner covered by at least an inch of water. Process at a full rolling boil for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat ,remove the canner lid, wait 5 minutes, and remove the jars to a hot pad or towel. Ball offers a fun tip at this stage. In order to get a beautiful suspension of the chunks in the jelly, you can carefully swirl the jar around as it’s setting, once the jar is sealed. Don’t invert it, but you can gently tilt it or try to swirl it.
Cool the jars for 12-24 hours, remove bands, wipe, label, and store. Deeeeelish. Serve at a classy dinner party, with some real classy cheeses and crackers and wow your guests when you tell them that it’s all home made.
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