Habañero Pepper Jelly
October 27, 2012
The rains came this week and called the official end to summer. The cool weather came a bit late if you ask me, our sweaters and socks, not to mention our umbrellas, were looking mighty lonely. We picked our last lug of peppers just in time, hauling in a respectable bounty before the soaking. Our pepper plants have nearly given us more peppers than we know what to do with, or than we would know if we were not busy making all sorts of yummy pepper dishes every few days. There was no question of how to prepare this last harvest of peppers. For the last year there has been a habañero pepper-sized hole on my pantry shelf (and in my heart- sigh). Before you jump to judgement and label me as a dramatic preserved foodaphile, let me explain. I started making a version of this jelly years ago. In the early days of our relationship, my husband and I would make whole meals out of Swedish crisp bread topped with cream cheese and pepper jelly. It was so good, we dubbed it “THE snack”. It became a staple in our pantry and our diet. For some reason, I never got around to making it last summer, so there was sweet relief in filling the pantry void with this jeweled treat.
Sweet, tart, and spicy, Habañero Pepper Jelly is nearly irresistible. Habañero peppers have a robust flavor that infuses the jelly, but they are very spicy. For this batch, I used a combination of semi-hot Hungarian wax peppers and a handful of habañeros. There is a serious kick. More often I pair the spicy habañeros with sweet bell peppers. Of course, you can add whichever kinds of peppers you wish. Not a fan of the heat? It is fine to use only sweet peppers. The only guideline is to try to use peppers that are in the same color range. I once tried to use green, yellow, and red peppers and the result was a murky brown jelly. Serve this jelly with a cheese course (great with goat cheese, brie, or cream cheese- a sharp cheddar is good too). The jelly adds a serious kick to a simple grilled cheese or spread it on a turkey sandwich. Come to think of it, this would be a wonderful hostess gift for Thanksgiving. This recipe is all the reason you need to run out to the Farmers’ Market today to snatch up the last of the fall peppers. You will not be disappointed.
Habañero Pepper Jelly
makes 4 cups
1 pound sweet peppers (red or orange is best)
5 habañero peppers (optional)
5 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1 packet (or 6 tablespoons) powdered pectin
1 teaspoon butter (to prevent foaming)
Fill your canning pot with water and bring to a boil. Put the jars in the water to sterilize. I like to use 4 ounce jars for this jelly, but 8 ounces work fine too.
Wash, stem, and remove seeds from the peppers. You may want to use gloves when dealing with the habañeros. Mince the peppers either by hand or in a food processor. Do not puree.
Combine the minced peppers, vinegar, pectin, and butter in a medium-size pot. Bring to a boil.
Add the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture returns to a boil, set the timer for one minute. Stir the pot constantly. At the end of one minute, turn off the heat. Ladle the hot jelly into sterile jars leaving a 1/2 inch head-space. Top with a clean, new lid and screw down the band. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
See Home Canning Basics for more information about the canning process.
Serve the Habañero pepper jelly with a cheese course, as a killer sandwich spread, or however you see fit.
Print this recipe: Habañero Pepper Jelly
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