Making and Canning Pepper Jelly

jalapeno peppers freshI say this all the time, there is nothing I can’t stand more than when people make false claims online.  It’s why I have an issue with many marketing techniques of today.  It’s also why I started to blog my recipes.

Nestled in my vegetable garden this year was something I really had nothing to do with – hot peppers.  I don’t like spicy foods but my husband and son absolutely love them…. so of course Dean wanted me to plant peppers.  They did really well in the garden.

That said, what was I going to do with a bunch of jalapenos and cayenne peppers?

A few years ago, Dean bought pepper jelly and was putting it with goat cheese on crackers.  I scoffed and rolled my eyes.  He insisted I try it.  I did.  I was hooked.  You could find me during a break on the couch with a jar of pepper jelly and goat cheese.  There is something about the sweet and spicy with the cold and smooth of the cheese that is a perfect fit.

I stared at my pile of peppers and realized, I must make pepper jelly.  There are many recipes out there, this is what I did.

Jalapeno Pepper Jelly

  • 3/4 to 1 lb jalapeno peppers
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 packets of liquid pectin
  • 6 cups of sugar

how to make and can pepper jelllyWarning:  Let me tell you, I had no idea how hard it was to work with these peppers.  Nothing prepared me for what was ahead.  I knew not to touch my face or eyes if I touched a pepper, and I knew to wear latex gloves when working with them.  What I didn’t know was that my face would start leaking uncontrollably out of every orifice and I would start choking and coughing horribly.

homemade pepper jellyI had a window open and a fan going to keep circulation and still, it was like nothing I could have envisioned.  It got to the point that it wasn’t worth trying to wipe my seeping face and had to let it all just run everywhere while I quickly cut the stems off and take out the seeds and then ran to the bathroom to clean up.  I’m not exaggerating.  Wear a mask (I did the second time and it was much better).

But this recipe is so worth it!

using a vitamix to make jelly

I dumped the peppers and a cup of apple cider vinegar in the Vitamix and pureed.  (Use anything you have that purees, my Vitamix is worth its weight in gold and has lasted 10 years and counting and I use it for just about everything from chopping onions coarsely with no tears to making hummus!)

Pour pepper puree, second cup of apple cider vinegar and all six cups of sugar (yeah, crazy how much sugar but that’s jelly making) in a pot and boil.  After boiling 10-15 minutes, add the liquid pectin.   Bring back to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  You will notice you may have foam.  My foam went away during that last minute of boil but if it doesn’t, you can carefully skim off.

Pour into jars leaving 1/4-1/2 inch space at the top, take a clean warm wet cloth and clean off the rim of the jars, put lids and rings on, and process in a water canner for 10 minutes (if you have never done this, it is super easy.  I have a canning pot which is just a big pot with the insert to lower and lift the cans in.  When it reaches a boil with the jars inside, just let it boil for 10 minutes, take them out of the water and leave sit until they start to pop – which is the seal that will preserve).

This jelly is delicious.  Great with goat cheese or cream cheese or Swiss cheese.  Charcuterie board?  Yep…. This belongs there.  I will be making this every year now for sure.

Orange Cayenne Pepper Jelly

I used the cayenne peppers in a second jelly.  I searched and searched online for another type of jelly and found a recipe for orange cayenne.  This sounded amazing.  I followed the recipe perfectly, even straining the orange juice a million times (it seemed) and the jelly never set.  When I went back to the recipe and read the comments, it looks like just about everyone could not get that jelly to set.  Looks like that recipe is one big fail yet it still stays online for more people to fall for.  Typically, that would be a waste and thrown out, right?  No… I found another use for it.  It is amazing on chicken.  See this Instant Pot recipe to see how I use it.

cayenne pepper jelly as marinade

It is pretty though, right?

Keep in mind, you do not need to have a garden to make jelly.  Just buy some peppers at the grocery store – it’s seriously so easy and there is a lot of satisfaction in the DIY aspect of it.