Do you begin making Christmas gifts in the middle of the summer? One of my favorite things to give away at Christmas are gift baskets filled with my homemade and delicious goodies.
However, I have a favorite item I love to add to each basket. Green pepper jelly is an easy item to preserve during the summer months but goes well in Christmas gift baskets.
The bright green coloring adds a touch of Christmas cheer and is mesmerizing. But it’s also delicious on a cracker with cream cheese.
People love this delicious jelly any time of year. Curious how to make it yourself to enjoy as a quick snack or a great addition to a gift basket? Here’s how you can make green pepper jelly:
- 7 bell peppers
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 1 ½ cups of ACV
- 1 ½ cups of apple juice
- 6 tablespoons of pectin
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 5 cups of sugar
- Green food coloring
This recipe isn’t my own. I obtained it from Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. Also, this recipe is enough to make approximately six half-pints of jelly.
1. Prepare the Peppers
Start the process of making pepper jelly by washing the peppers. Allow cool water to run over them while you gently rub the surface of the peppers with your hand.
The idea is to remove any dirt or bugs which may still be living on the surface of the pepper. When the peppers have been washed thoroughly, place them on a hand towel to dry.
Feel free to wipe them gently with the towel to speed up the drying process. When all moisture has been removed from the surface of the pepper, move forward with the process.
2. Pull Out the Food Processor
Once the peppers have been dried, cut them into smaller pieces to make it easier for the food processor to finish the job.
Place half of the peppers into the food processor along with ¾ cup of apple cider vinegar. When the peppers have been pureed, add the remaining peppers and another ¾ cup of apple cider vinegar to the food processor.
After the pureeing is complete, put the mixture in a bowl and stir in the apple juice.
3. Put It to Bed
When the pepper mixture has been thoroughly mixed with the apple juice, cover it with a lid or piece of aluminum foil.
Place the covered bowl in the refrigerator and allow it to stand uninterrupted overnight.
4. Juice the Pepper Mixture
The birds are chirping. It’s a beautiful morning. But it’s also time to check your pepper mixture in the fridge.
Remove the mixture from the fridge and place a cheesecloth or jelly bag over a colander. Be sure to put the strainer over another bowl to catch the mixture.
I don’t usually have jelly bags or cheesecloth on hand. In my case, I’ll use two layers of ham socks wrapped around a colander to strain. You could also use a pillowcase as well.
You’ll strain the mixture through the cloth layers and colander to remove any pulp and seeds. Measure the juice to ensure you have four cups.
If you don’t get four cups of juice from the pepper mixture, use apple juice to make up the difference.
5. Create the Jelly Mixture
Once the juice has been strained, pour it into a sauce pot along with the pectin and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil but be sure you stir the mixture constantly to deter sticking.
When the mixture has reached a boil, stir the sugar in but be sure to stir constantly. Don’t quit stirring until the sugar has dissolved completely. Bring the mixture to a full boil again.
Allow the jelly mixture to boil consistently for one minute. When the minute is up, remove the jelly mixture from the burner.
If any foam has made its way to the top, gently remove it by sliding a spoon over the top of the jelly mixture.
Now is the time to add food coloring if you wish. If you used green peppers in the mixture, a few drops of green food coloring are recommended.
However, if you chose to go with another sweet pepper of a different color, add the specific food coloring to the mixture in place of the green.
6. Give it a Bath
Be sure to clean and sanitize your canning jars, lids, and rings prior to canning. From there, put the hot jelly mixture into hot jars.
Use a funnel to make it easier to get the mixture into the jars. Leave ½ inch of headspace at the top of the jar to ensure the lid can obtain a proper seal.
When the jars are filled adequately, put the lid and ring on the jar and place them in a water canner. Fill the water canner until the top of the jars are fully covered.
When the water reaches a rolling boil, set a timer for 10 minutes.
7. Let Stand
After the 10 minutes has passed, turn the stove off, and remove the jars from the canner with jar grabbers.
Place the jars on a thick towel on a hard surface such as a countertop or a table top to keep from burning the surface.
Don’t be alarmed when you see the jelly mixture in the jars is still liquid. It should congeal over time. In the meantime, allow the jars to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
8. Label and Store
After the 24-hour waiting period, check your jars. Each lid has a raised button in its center. When you run your finger over the top of the cap, it should feel smooth.
However, if you feel the raised button on the top or accidentally push the button down with your finger when testing it, the jar should be reprocessed.
Put a fresh lid on the jar and water bath it for 10 minutes again. You’ll have to wait another 24 hours to make sure the jar sealed. If it did, you’re in the clear. If it didn’t, you can reprocess again with another fresh lid or put the jelly in the fridge and use it first.
But you should also check to make sure the pepper jelly congealed over the 24-hour period. If it didn’t, you should pour the mixture back into a saucepot and add more pectin.
You must allow the pepper mixture and pectin to repeat the entire boiling process. You’ll also need to go back through the water bathing process as well.
However, I haven’t had any issues when using this recipe and hopefully, you won’t either. If all of your jars seal and congeal without issue, label the jars and add the date of canning.
From there, store the jelly in a cool, dry location for later use.
How Do I Use Pepper Jelly?
Are you not sure you’ll use your jelly enough to make it a batch at a time? Well, here are a few ideas on how you can use pepper jelly. It could become your new favorite jelly!
- Add it as a glaze to pork chops
- Put on a cracker with cream cheese
- Use on a peanut butter sandwich
- Use as an ice cream topping
- Glaze a baked ham with it
- On a biscuit or cornbread
- Make a vinaigrette with it
- Add to a frozen margarita
- Glaze chicken with it
- Make homemade fruit popsicles but add pepper jelly too
- Add it to a cheese quesadilla
- Put on your hamburger
- Use as a dip for fish
- Put on cheesecake
- Topping for pound cake
- Add it to your coleslaw
- Add to your plain yogurt
- Use as the center of a thumbprint cookie
Well, you now know how to make, preserve, and utilize hot pepper jelly. This a tasty recipe and one you could use for many years.
Homemade pepper jelly is also a great way to utilize your pepper harvest this year. Enjoy and remember to share some jelly with those nearest and dearest to you. They may enjoy it too!