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Friday, November 25, 2011

DIY // Homemade Hot Pepper Jelly

Everybody's doing it.  Except me.  That was, until this past week when I crossed over into the popular crowd and became a home canner.  And with that I've hit full-fledged domesticity and I'm loving it.

Hot Pepper Jelly is one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasures.  I love to plop down on the couch, watch some trashy reality tv and munch out on wheat thins, cream cheese and Apple Valley Country Store hot pepper jelly.  The best in all the land!  It's sweet, perfectly spicy and pretty darn beautiful with its champagne-colored jelly and red bell peppers.  I've been wanting to try my hand at making my own, so that I can avoid a mad (3-hour) dash to Hood River to pick up some more whenever I get the craving and so I can share my love with those around me.  So, with Christmas lurking around the corner, I finally pushed up my sleeves and got to business.

I made two versions of the hot pepper jelly, one with natural pectin from apples & cranberries (the recipe is found here) and another that uses manufactured pectin (recipe found here). Both turned out awesome.  Seriously, it was EASY!  The only things I had trouble with were the cooking time (I had to cook mine about a 1/2 hour longer than the recipe called for) and knowing what to do after I put the lids on.  Would they seal themselves?  Did I need to process them?   I waited and saw that most had sealed themselves, but there were still two that hadn't.  I scoured the recipes for any hint of what to do and they both ended with something along the lines of, "pour contents into glass jars, put on lid, secure tightly."  Okay....then what?  THEN WHAT?!

After my little meltdown, I did the best thing I could think of.  I called my Mom.  Luckily, my Mom was with her Mom so I had a double dose of educated canners to help me out.  It turns out that once you put the hot contents in and seal the lids you can turn them upside down for a few minutes and then back right side up.  The hot liquid works to sanitize the lid and also seals it.  Well, it was too late for that so I decided to put them in boiling water for a few minutes, which worked out perfectly.

As for the cost?  The homemade pepper jelly factors out to be roughly $1.25/jar (if using new jars.) We lucked out and had a bunch of used jars, so we only needed to purchase lids which brought the price down to about $.35/jar.  Pretty damn good, if you ask me.

Now that I'm pretty much a professional canner, I can't wait to really get my can-on.   On the horizon, canned Halibut (the hubs is an Alaskan fisherman in addition to being an amazing teacher), ketchup, veggies, salsa...oh the possibilities.  But first!  I am dying to get my hands on Pie and Beer's Liana Krissoff's newest book:

"Not Your Grandma's Canning Guide"

So what about you?  Are you still hesitant to dive into the life of a home canner or are you already a professional?  Any tips for this newbie?



  1. I don't think I have ever had this before. I want a can of it! :)

  2. I have definitely thought about canning, but I've managed to get everything into the freezer so far. I'd like to have enough surplus sometime that I need to can. I have never tried hot pepper jelly. It sounds really interesting.

  3. Canning really is a lost art, but it seems many of hippie/foodie/frugalista is resurrecting it...I had one canning experience in 2010 gone wild {it's actually documented on my blog}, but I am willing to try it again.

    Once I get schooled.

    But you can freeze some of the Ball Jars as well, so I've gone that route for now. Just froze some homemade pasta sauce this evening!

    {scored tons of Ball jars at Tar-Jay @ 75% off...so you may want to swing by. It was about 3.50 a case! :)

    In lieu of canning, I'm going to start lacto-fermenting veggies and fruits as well...they go in the pretty jars, so that makes me happy...

    Thanks for sharing this at my holiday link-up! I hope you'll stop by over the next few weeks as the party grows...

  4. @Shilo - If you like sweet & spicy, you'll have to try it! @Nicolette - Thanks for the tip! I'll definitely have to check Target out (and figure out what lacto-fermenting is.)

  5. I've never tried pepper jelly before...sounds interesting! I know a lot of people like it for the holidays. Good luck with your canning! I'm intimidated by it but I have a friend who cans like crazy and her stuff is always so good! Thanks for sharing at Shine On Fridays!

  6. That is a super holiday gift. Great picture too. winks, jen

  7. Yum! I love jellies!!! I would love for you to share this over at my linky party going on now at The Inspired Collection! Hope you will stop by!


  8. OMG!! I tried hot jelly pepper for the first time a few weeks ago and love it. Thank you for the recipe!!! I would love to have your recipe for the halibut. I love fish!! Never tried it canned before but I would like to! I love your blog.
    Would love to see you DIY Home Sweet home.

    P.S. More the Merrier Monday end tonight so stop by and link up if you have not already.

  9. Thanks everyone! @KelliB & @Jamie - I will definitely share. Thanks for hosting the link parties.

  10. That sounds just like the pepper jelly my mother-in-law makes! Yours looks so pretty with the fabric peeking out from under the rings :D

  11. I love pepper jelly and am definitely going to give one of those recipes a try. I've pinned your post as well as shared it on my Facebook page today.

    Thank you so much for sharing your talent on “A Little Birdie Told Me…” at Rook No. 17! With all the parties out there to choose from, it means a lot that you take the time be a part of mine! Warmest wishes, Jenn


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