Our type of Christmas in July is making jelly or jam that we give out as gifts to friends and neighbors. This year we made Wine Raspberry Jam for the first time and it is delicious. Another new jam for us this year is the Hot Pepper Jam we made with Jalapeño peppers from our garden.
If you’ve never had hot pepper jelly or jam, you might think it strange. Try it sometime if you like your food a little spicy. The first time I had it was on a wedge of cornbread and it was out of this world good!
For making jams and jellies prepare the jars and lids first. That way everything will be ready when it’s needed. We put 8 jelly jars in the dishwasher on a light “china” cycle and kept them in the washer so the glass jars would stay warm. The lids and bands were put together in a second large pot and two kettles of boiling water were poured on to cover them. A lid went on this pot to keep the lids hot and sterile. Photos taken 31 July 2011.
Paper towels for wiping the edges of the jars, tongs for pulling out a lid and bad pair from the hot water, a ladle and funnel for putting jam into the jars neatly, and a glass for resting the funnel in between uses were laid out in preparation for jar filling.
The recipe for hot pepper jam calls for only four ingredients:
- 4 c. finely diced peppers
- 1 c. apple cider vinegar
- 5 c. sugar
- 1 box pectin
We used two large red bell peppers, one medium-sized green bell pepper and six or seven jalapeño peppers to make the four cups of chopped peppers.
Latex gloves were worn during the seeding and cutting of the hot peppers. Jalapeños were cut in half and the stem removed. A spoon was used to scrape out the seeds and the meat was then finely diced. The peppers were chopped up so that a cup at a time was measured into a large cooking pot.
Five cups of sugar were measured into a separate bowl so the sugar could be added all at once.
One cup of apple cider vinegar was poured onto the diced peppers. A box of pectin was stirred gradually into the vinegar-pepper mixture.
The mixture was stirred constantly over high heat until it boiled rapidly. Then, the sugar was added all at one time and stirred in. The mixture was returned to a boil and then it looked quite foamy. After one minute of a full rolling boil, the cooking pot was taken off the heat. The foam subsided once the heat was off.
One jar was filled to within a quarter-inch of the top using the funnel and ladle. Damp paper towels were used to wipe around the top and threads of the jar top. Tongs were used to remove a lid and band pair from the hot water. Lids were tamped on a paper towel to remove excess water. A lid and band were screwed on and the jar inverted for at least one minute. After all jars were filled, one at a time, they were then placed upright and not disturbed for 24 hours. As the jars cooled you could hear them seal with a “pop”.
The next day the jars were checked for a proper seal by pushing down on the lids with a finger. None popped as all six 8 oz. jelly jars sealed. Jars were labeled with ‘Hot Pepper Jam’ and put in the pantry for safe keeping.