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We have just started getting our first “killing” freezes at The Farm. You know – those nighttime temperatures that drop below 32 degrees and start to kill off whatever plants are left in the garden. For some time now, I have been pulling my tomato plants and various other plants that were past their prime, but I always leave the pepper plants until the freeze comes. Right before I hear of an impending frost, I go out and gather all the substantial peppers and bring them in; they last for quite a while in the refrigerator.
Confession time: this year, I messed up a little in my buying during early spring and did not end up with as many hot peppers as I would have liked. I’ve had to make do with Serranos and chiles for my hot peppers. Thankfully, Serrano peppers are so hot that they can make up for others not having as much spice. With these end-of-season peppers, I always make a few batches of hot pepper jelly. It’s a delectably sweet and spicy jelly that is wonderful for small gift-giving or to take as a dish to any party.
By the way, this recipe could not be any easier or quicker, and the result is simply amazing. The recipe can be adapted for red or green peppers depending on what you have in your garden or what you want your result to be. All green peppers will eventually turn red if left on the vine to ripen. To adapt, use red hot peppers, red bell peppers, and red food coloring. I always make at least one batch of each color, which actually makes for perfect Christmas gifts!
Imagine giving a red and green jar with crackers or baguettes at Christmas! This is wonderful served with pretzels, or for an extra treat, make appetizers for your next holiday party with sliced baguettes, cream cheese, and hot pepper jelly. The mixture of sweet, spice, and cream is delectable. For buffet style, drizzle a jar over a ball of cream cheese and let people take their own.
Delicious. Simple. Ever so good.
Hot Pepper Jelly
- ¼ cup ground green hot peppers
- 1 cup ground green bell peppers
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1 box Sure-Jell
- 6 cups white granulated sugar
- 5-6 drops green food coloring
- For the hot peppers, cut off the stems and any blemishes and grind, using seeds and all since that is where the heat is! For the bell peppers, clean out all the seeds and ribs of the peppers before grinding. I use a small food processor to grind the peppers.
- Lightly pack the peppers in a measuring cup.
- Place peppers, vinegar, and Sure-Jell in a heavy-bottomed kettle and bring to a rolling boil. Once boiling, add the pre-measured sugar and bring back to a boil. The sugar will cool the jelly down substantially so it will take a few minutes to boil again.
- Once at a rolling boil, boil for two minutes.
- Add a bit of food coloring if the peppers don't naturally produce the desired vibrant green or red.
- Either preserve this by freezing or using the paraffin method (putting hot jelly in jars and sealing with melted paraffin). This can also be sealed with conventional lids and rings.