Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Red Pepper Jelly

Despite being comfortable in the kitchen, there are so many things I have yet to try. Canning is one of those cooking related activities I haven't attempted... until now. After playing around with a few canning recipes, I wonder why it took me so long to can! One canning recipe I tried recently was this Red Pepper Jelly. Fresh red and jalapeno peppers are finely minced before being combined with vinegar, sugar and pectic to create a sweet and savory jelly. It's quick, easy and a great thing to have on hand for an snack with cream cheese and crackers!

While in college, I worked in retail management for an upscale clothing line at a mall. Next door to my store was a Harry & David's gourmet food shop. One of their signature products which they seem to always have samples for was their Sweet Red Pepper Spread. To serve, the spread was poured over a block of cream cheese and folks would spread a little of this on crackers. I loved the stuff so much, I visited the store a few times a week just to have a taste! When I decided to try my hand at canning, I thought about the various jams, jellies and spreads I've enjoyed in the past. The Harry & David's Sweet Red Pepper Spread came to mind and so I found the following recipe in hopes it brought back found memories of working next door to Harry & David's. After making this, I wondered why it took me so long to dabble in canning. It's not that hard and the best part, I can make a huge batch and give them away as gifts!

Red Pepper Jelly
recipe adapted from Paul Deen

3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped jalapeno or serrano
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
4 ounces pectin (recommended: Certo)
4 drops red food coloring
Special Equipment: 6 (1/2-pint) canning jars with lids

Process bell pepper and hot pepper in a food processor until finely minced.
Combine pepper mixture, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add pectin and food coloring. Pour into sterilized jars and seal*.
*Cook's Note: Follow USDA guidelines for proper sterilization and canning procedures.