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from the employee owners at Gardener's Supply Co.

Making Pepper Jelly

Inspired by the variety of salsas and moles in central Texas, where Gardener’s Supply photographs our summer products, I planted several varieties of chile peppers in my garden. I planned to preserve their flavors for the winter months ahead, and to share my newfound culinary interest with my northern friends and neighbors.

The results of my first try at jelly making: beautiful and delicious.

Trinidad Perfume chiles growing in containers.

Inspired by the variety of salsas and moles in central Texas, where Gardener’s Supply photographs our summer products, I planted several varieties of chile peppers in my garden. I planned to preserve their flavors for the winter months ahead, and to share my newfound culinary interest with my northern friends and neighbors.

I admit it: I was intimidated by the idea of canning and preserving. But after a little research, I decided that jelly-making would be an unexpectedly easy method of keeping those spicy flavors alive. In fact, the process was quick and simple enough that I’m now inspired to preserve any fruit or vegetable that crosses my path!

I took an inventory of my own chiles and decided which varieties would be best-suited to provide the “hot” ingredients in the jelly. I selected two small yellow chiles: Aji Limon and Trinidad Perfume, as well as Ancho San Martin.

Most recipes use about nine parts bell pepper to one part hot chiles, so I satisfied the need for green bell peppers with my family’s weekly trip to our local farmer’s market.

Once home, I gathered canning jars, a large stock pot, jar tongs and the rest of my ingredients and got to work. With help from my husband, the entire project lasted about 1-1/2 hours. The results were a zesty jelly with a little kick — a perfect, piquant accent atop cream cheese and crackers.

To learn how to create your own pepper jelly, see my recipe and step-by-step photos.

Susan Romanoff, Creative Director
Gardener’s Supply

4 Comments

  1. September 20, 2011    

    Wow, good on you! Your first attempt at this preserving business definitely does look like a success!

    I am also wanting to do some of my own preserving and jam-making after the next growing season. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Pavel.

  2. Karen Voelker
    September 28, 2011    

    I have been making pepper jellies for years so I’ve added a few twists to your basic recipe. I use a blender to chop the peppers right in the vinegar (try substituting some balsamic vinegar for part of the cider vinegar- awesome with strawberries)- whiz the blender to chop peppers. You can also at this time add in a cup of strawberries, blueberries or even cranberries (for the holidays). Put this all in the pot and follow pectin directions. I have never (over 50 years of canning) hot packed my jams and jellies. I just put hot jelly or jam into hot jar, wipe rim, put hot (always new) lid into place, screw on band and stand the jar on its head for 5-10 minutes. Then turn it upright to cool and the lid will pop down into sealed position within 10-15 minutes. Have never had a jar go bad.

  3. Marty
    September 28, 2011    

    I too make hot pepper jelly and usually put up between 50 and 80 1/2 pints per year(they make great gifts). Chopping peppers with the food processor sure speeds things up and reduces the amount of fumes. The base I use is frozen apple juice concentrate to get a really sweet/hot combination. The recipe varies according to whatever peppers are ready to be picked in my garden. I also use the inversion method(for almost 30 years now) rather than hot water processing for jams and jellies with a high enough sugar and acid content.

  4. October 8, 2011    

    We’ve been thinking about making pepper jelly but just haven’t had the time! My first attempt at canning was with strawberry jam and it actually went better than I had expected.

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