Despite the title this is not just a Christmas treat for me, it is an all year round thing I love to eat. I made the title what it is, because this year I decided to make some for friends for a Christmas gift.
Traditionally every year my Mom and I do canning in the summer when I go out to Kelowna to visit them. There is just an abundance of fresh produce and it helps on my budget throughout the year to be able to open up those cans of produce and use them in the colder months. Hot pepper jelly was never in short supply in our home.
It is a condiment that is amazing with cheese and crackers, for example brie cheese and a Breton crackers, it is just super tasty. I also prefer it with my turkey dinners instead of the traditional cranberry sauce. Oh man and on a panini sandwich with leftover turkey, some brie cheese and spinach, BAM I tell you! A flavour party in your mouth is what is waiting for you.
So on an adventure I went because I have never actually made it without my dear Mom, so I busted out what I thought was the recipe in this one canning book. Let's just say it was an EPIC fail... like massive horrific fail. I was ticked haha. I don't do too well with failure in the kitchen, it makes me mad. I guess it pushes me to make sure I nail it in the next attempt. My jelly was not jelly, it was soup, and cloudy, and it just wasn't right.
I called my Mom and tried to blame her because she gave me the book and I asked in the past and she said "yup that's the one". She was busy and said she would call me back later to figure out what I did wrong. Well it wasn't me, it was the recipe, the real good one we use was in the Company's Coming cookbook for Canning.
So crossed my fingers, bought more red peppers, and I attempted it again. BAM did you hear that?? That was me knocking it out of the park! Boo yeah! I was so excited to see the clear pretty red jelly as it sat in the jars. Christmas was saved!
If you learn anything from this post here it is, it's okay to get annoyed if you fail in the kitchen, what matters is getting up and trying again. That's how we learn and grow and well that's how recipes change and become your own.
Hot Pepper Jelly
1 1/2 cups of seeded, chopped red peppers
1-2 jalapeno peppers, chopped and seeds left in
1 1/2 cups of white vinegar
6 1/2 cups of white sugar
1 box of liquid pectin, 2 pouches per box which equal 170 ml
red food colouring
In a food processor or a blender, combine the peppers and vinegar. Blend until smooth and the peppers are in small chunks or shreds.
Pour into a large pot. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Heat on medium-high and bring to a boil. Stirring often. Once boiling stop stirring and allow to boil for 3 minutes.
Add the pectin to the mixture and stir, bring the mixture to a rolling boil on high. Boil for one minute, at a hard boil.
Remove from the heat, and skim the top off with a spoon. There will be some foam on top of the jelly which is what you should skim off.
If you wish to make it a bit redder add a few drops of the food die and mix it in.
Pour the jelly into sterilized jars, the size of your choosing, fill till it is 1/4 inch from the top.
Place sterilized metal lids on the jars and then screw the rings on top. Place in a boiling water bath in a canner or a deep pot of with a wire rack on the bottom. Process in the water for 5 minutes to allow for extra assurance that it won't spoil.
Remove from the pot or canner, place on a wire rack with a tea towel underneath and allow to cool until you hear the lids pop, which means they have sealed properly.
When you have the right recipe it is actually easier then you think it is to make it. I also swear to you, if you try it instead of cranberries you will never go back to eating cranberries with your turkey again! It just adds a bit if heat to your meal.
It makes the perfect little gift for any foodie, or person who enjoys food in your life.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
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