Blue Ribbon Jalapeno Jelly
One of the entries my daughter, Kyla, entered in the county fair was jalapeno jelly. Last summer, I had so many jalapenos coming off of two plants that I did not know what to do with them. I froze quarts of peppers for chili and pots of beans in the winter. We stuffed them with cream cheese and grilled them. Clayton and Lane even ate some raw. Despite all of our efforts including giving buckets of jalapenos away, we still had a growing surplus.
I had heard of jalapeno jelly, but had never tasted it. So, I started reading different recipes. I was surprised at how few jalapenos most of the recipes included. Their jelly recipes consisted mainly of bell peppers. Finally, I found a true jalapeno jelly and got to work.
It used only jalapenos, sugar, cider vinegar, and liquid pectin. Therefore, it looked relatively simple to make. After making my first batch, I was honestly afraid to try it. My entire house smelled spicy and hot. I could not imagine what the jelly was going to be like. A couple of days later, I worked up the nerve to open a jar. I could not believe how good the jelly tasted on a cracker! The jelly is surprisingly sweet.
I began bringing my jelly, crackers, and cream cheese to different get-togethers as an appetizer. People were raving about it. The whole jar would disappear before dinner was served. I was getting many requests for the jelly. For Christmas this past year, I created Farm Fresh Baskets and included decorated jars of my jalapeno jelly.
Now I have taught my daughter to make it. If I had to rate her experience level cooking, then she would be an intermediate. She bakes mostly and can cook some dinners without supervision. Even so, this jelly was not difficult for her to make. Her batch won a blue ribbon this week at the fair. Here is the recipe:
3/4 lb of jalapenos, cored and seeded
2 cups apple-cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
2 pouches liquid pectin
3 drops of green food coloring (optional)
Wearing gloves, wash, seed, and core the jalapenos. Puree them in a food processor with 1 cup of vinegar. Pour into a medium sized pot. Add the other cup of vinegar and all the sugar. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Allow to boil for 10 minutes. Add the pectin and let it rapidly boil for one minute. Remove from heat and skim the top if needed. If desired, you can add food coloring.
Ladle jelly into clean, warm canning jars leaving a 1/4″ head space. Wipe the rim of the jar and put on sterile lid. Screw on the top. Put in water bath for 10 minutes. Remove, let cool, and check for good seal.
Serve with crackers and/or cream cheese.
The jelly itself is gluten-free. My mother-in-law found some great gluten-free crackers for us to eat with the jelly. They are Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers. The jelly is excellent on just a plain cracker. Enjoy!