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