Have you started thinking Christmas gifts yet? Not most! But Canning season is the perfect time for making and putting things up for Christmas time, and this festive pepper jelly makes a wonderful gift.
After receiving a couple jars as gifts years earlier, I asked myself why I had not made this fabulous festive sweet tasting jelly yet! So when summer hit I started collecting pepper jelly recipes to can up and find the perfect one!
Now I want to encourage you to give pepper jelly a try, and can some extra up for gifts and I think you’ll be glad you did.
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Pepper Jelly is festive to have on hand to serve at Thanksgiving, Christmas and even New Year’s Eve! You can make it red or green, even jeweled but however you choose to make it, it turns into a wonderful ordurv, it’s super easy to serve and so festive for the holidays, tasty and enjoyed by many.
Now 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 hord’oeuvre. This pepper jelly is also excellent served along side turkey, pork or duck and chicken of course.
It’s Quick to take to any party at Christmas time… and you’re sure to get 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, you want a few dents in it – see photo below).
Then spread on the pepper jelly to your liking ( I use about 1/2 the jam jar or so, and a jam jar is lil less than 1 cup, so I used approx. 2/3 cup to about 3/4 cup) next add some crackers, and 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)
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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 of 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 turn out without any problems. With other pectins, you MUST use the FULL amount of SUGAR called for or the pectin does not set your jellies properly, and most jams have waaay to much sugar for my liking.)
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 if there is any, 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.
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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 quick rolling boil. Boil for 4 minutes. Next Stir in sugar and return to a rolling boil. Boil for another 4 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.
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 it just depends 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. I did not use any. Beet powder is great to use for adding color to make things look lovely red, and its completely natural. You won’t need much of it and it really doesn’t add any taste. I didn’t use any dye in any of mine and I thought my jelly color was perfect. So that’s why you don’t see any added to my recipes.
This was my friends recipe, it was a bit sweet for me but it was so kind of her to let me share it.
4 C green 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 here if you want to use it 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 try this and 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. So don’t throw it out! You can do the same with jelly that got a little too thick, use it on meat as BBQ sauce to brush on it as you grill its not a loss, and try again! Now I didn’t have any problems with these recipes setting, they were quick to cook and worked every time I made. The only problem I had was keeping everyone out of it so I had some left by the time the holidays got here.