Have you started thinking Christmas gifts yet? Now is the perfect time for making and putting things up for Christmas time.
After receiving a couple jars as gifts and then tasting it at three different parties last Christmas, I asked myself why I had not made this fabulous jelly yet! So this summer I started collecting pepper jelly recipes and I want to encourage you to give pepper jelly a try too, I think you’ll be glad you did.
It’s so festive to have on hand to serve at Thanksgiving, Christmas or even New Year’s. Whether you make it red or green, either way it’s super easy to serve and so festive & tasty. I always thought of pepper jelly as something hot and spicy but it’s actually sweet and yummy! Perfect on a bagel with cream cheese or with a tray of crackers as an hor d’oeuvre. This pepper jelly is also excellent served along side turkey, pork or duck.
Quick to take to any party at Christmas time… you’re sure to get many compliments!
To serve, use half a package of cream cheese and spread it on a small plate (I use my fingers for this and just press it out on a plate nice and easily – see photo below).
Then spread on the pepper jelly to your liking ( I use about 1/2 the jar or more) and add some crackers, It’s that easy! Note I use 2 plates one for the pepper jelly cream cheese and another plate which holds the crackers – this keeps your crackers crispy and your tray neat as people enjoy it. (see in top photo above)
Red Pepper Jelly
Though called jelly, this really isn’t made like a jelly but more like a jam so it’s super easy to make. This is a low sugar recipe.
4 C red sweet bell peppers – (or green bells if want green jelly)
1 jalapeno pepper – optional, if you like your jelly to have a hint of heat!
1 C white vinegar
1 C water
1 C apple juice
few shakes of salt
3 C sugar (taste it and if you want it sweeter add more sugar)
7 tsp powdered “No-Sugar-Needed Fruit Pectin” by Ball
(I use No-Sugar-Needed pectin by Ball because then I can adjust and lower the sugar and still have my jams and jellies turn out thick without any problems with my pectin. With other pectins, you must use the full amount of sugar called for or the pectin does not set your jellies properly)
Wash and finely dice your peppers, removing all seeds. Put peppers, water, apple juice, vinegar, salt, and powdered pectin in pan and whisk your pectin in so its well mixed. Then bring to a full boil. Boil 4 minutes, stirring so as not to scorch it. Then add in sugar and stir well and boil another 4 minutes, test jam on frozen plate for sheeting – it will thicken upon cooling and again when refrigerated. Skim off foam and Pour into hot sterilized jars, seal and process in water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars and let cool. Yields 6 half-pint jam jars.
Jeweled Pepper Jelly
This is my sister’s recipe and it’s fabulous! She made it with 3 colors of peppers and it was the prettiest jeweled jelly I ever saw. She uses no dye in hers. It looks like small pieces of jewels floating everywhere in a clear colored jam. For the jeweled look, use a total of 2 cups bell peppers, I used red, green, and yellow bell peppers
2/3 C red bell peppers and 2/3 C yellow bell peppers
2/3 C green bell peppers
1/2 of jalapeno pepper (w/ no seeds)
1/2 C each: white vinegar, water, & apple juice (you can omit the apple juice and use 3/4 c water and 3/4 c vinegar or you can use all vinegar – but do not delete or lower vinegar amounts)
4 tsp powdered “No-Sugar-Needed Fruit Pectin” by Ball
2 cups sugar
Dice peppers finely and remove all seeds. Bring peppers, vinegar and pectin to a rolling boil. Boil for 4 minutes. Next Stir in sugar and return to a rolling boil. Boil for another4 minutes. Test for jelled stage on a cold plate. Pour into hot sterilized jars, seal and process in water bath for 10 minutes. Note if you want to actually taste heat you really have to add more jalapenos because this amount you really can’t taste any heat. These first 2 recipes are a thicker jam and I think the apple juice in them causes it to need less sugar and also helps it to gel better. Just my opinion.
Red or Green Pepper Jelly
Now lastly here is one a sweet friend from church gave me. After I tasted how delicious hers was I decided to include it also as hers has no hot peppers, just the bell peppers in it. Hers was very yummy too and she served it at a Christmas Tea, the jelly was so festive and sweet tasting. Again, you could use either red or green bell peppers here, just depending on the color jelly you want. I have tasted the pepper jellies in both colors and with and without the hot peppers and well, I think they all taste great!
You can add 2-3 drops of green dye or red dye in your batch, most recipes call for it, but see how the color looks before you pour into the jars and decide then. Beet powder is great to use for adding color to make things look lovely red. You don’t need much of it and it really doesn’t add any taste that I can tell. There are other natural dyes out there too that you can use. Such as this one. I didn’t use any dye in any of mine and I thought my jelly color was perfect.
4 C sweet bell peppers
1 C apple cider vinegar
5 C sugar
1 box No-Sugar-Needed fruit pectin by Ball
Chop peppers finely and remove seeds. Put peppers and vinegar in pot and stir in pectin. Bring to a boil and boil for 3-4 minutes. Next stir in sugar. Keep stirring and bring to a full boil again for another 3 – 4 minutes. Add dye if color is weak and then pour into your hot, sterilized jars, seal as normal and process in water bath for 10 minutes.
If you have not canned before here is a great educational site on how to can Pepper Jelly, how to water bath process, and how to sterilize your jars!
Now if you get jelly that doesn’t set firm enough, fear not its excellent to cook your meat in, Brings chicken or pork in the crock pot to a whole new level. You can do the same with jelly that got a little to thick, use on meat as BBQ sauce to grill with and try again! I didn’t have any problems with these recipes setting. Only problem I had was keeping everyone out of it so I have some left by the time the holidays get here.