It's the most wonderful time of the year… no… not THAT time of the year. It's pepper harvest time! WOOHOO!! Granted, you'll find us getting just as excited over tomato harvest, corn harvest, Brussels sprouts… you get the picture.

Right now though, as we stroll through the markets, we're seeing the welcome sight of peppers in all shapes and sizes starting to come on. Shades of reds and greens, yellows and oranges… it's definitely time to start taking advantage of this variety and availability of fresh peppers.

One of our favorite uses for this peppery bounty is our pepper sauce. (Wait… what? Oh… that's another post… sorry 'bout that…)

One of our favorite uses for this peppery bounty is our pepper jelly. (That's the right one for this week? Okay… good…) Along with our peach salsa and garlic plum sauce, this is one of our most requested recipes so we thought we'd just put it out there for y'all. Make it hot or make it sweet… just make a batch right now and enjoy it all winter.


Pepper Jelly
While this jelly does use hot chilies the end result is a mild, ever-so-slightly spicy jelly with just enough sweet to bring you back for more.   

Here are the ingredients:
1lb of assorted Hot Peppers

2 Cups Cider Vinegar (divided)


6 Cups Sugar


2 Pouches Liquid Pectin (generally, one package holds two pouches)


7 -10 half pint jars for canning, with lids and rings    

NOTE: These instructions are for canning your batch for preserving. You would be fine to freeze yours if canning isn't your thing. 

First, gather your peppers… If you are a purist just use fresh, meaty Jalapeños  The skins should be tight and the pepper should feel “heavy” for its size. Personally, we like a mix of Jalapeno, Anaheim, and Serrano Chilies. If you like some heat in your jelly you can add a Habanero to the mix.  Likewise if you are not a big fan of heat you can use a mix of Red Bell Peppers or Green Bell Peppers along with a few Jalapenos for a lighter flavor.

Next, heat up your jars for canning. Immerse the jars in water and allow to simmer on low while you are fixing the jelly.  I like to use my slow cooker for this but you can do this on the stove in a large pot as well.  This makes sure the glass won’t crack when you add the hot jelly later.
Here we go!

Cookin' With The Shibaguyz - Pepper Jelly
Cut your peppers into strips or chunks, removing the stems, cores, and ribs.  You may want to pick up a pair of latex or neoprene food handlers gloves from the supermarket for this… safety first!

What? You think that's a little overboard? Consider this: The average person touches their face about 18 times per hour. That's downright habitual… if you think you can overcome that urge for the duration of your time it takes to cut and prepare this jelly THEN ensure you wash off ALL of the residual oils from your skin afterward… by all means… don't wear gloves. Personally, we've both had pepper-in-the-eye syndrome more than once and believe us… it ain't pretty! So… gloves, friends.


Try to get out most the seeds, but no need to get too crazy about it. You can see from the photo above that we don't get too concerned about picking out every single seed. Seeds will make it into the final jelly.  They always do and it's just fine and rather pretty actually.

Next, put the pepper strips into a blender or food processor with 1 cup of the Cider Vinegar.  Blend until smooth.

Move the pepper mixture into a heavy bottomed pot and add the remaining Cider Vinegar and Sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil and allow to boil on high for 10 minutes.

SPECIAL NOTE: Do not attempt to cut back on the sugar. I know I know… The liquid pectin requires this much sugar to properly jell. Yes, there are pectins out there that use less or no sugar but I have not had luck using them and cannot give you the required amount of sugar substitute to match flavors.

One Other Note: While this mixture is boiling it will be tempting to put your face over the pot and take in a big whiff. From a distance this smells AH-MAY-ZING and, like some artwork and several woodland creatures, is better admired from afar. Think about it… this is aerosolized peppers. It’s pepper spray in steam form. Speaking from experience here… don’t do it, you will mace yourself.


Once your jelly has boiled for ten minutes, add the packets of liquid pectin and boil for 1 more minute. 


Remove from heat and carefully pour into your hot jars leaving ¼ inch air space in the top of the jars.  Put on the lids and rings.

Place the jars in a water-bath canner or water filled stockpot with a towel on the bottom to keep the jars from rattling.  Be sure they are covered by at least 1” of water.

Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for another 5 before removing the jars from the water.

Place on your counter away from drafts for 12-24 hours.  Check the lids for a good seal according to the manufactures notes.  Label and use… however you want!    


We recommend topping sliced bread with cream cheese and a dollop of this jelly. SO YUMMM!

How about spreading on a ham or chicken as a glaze?


A little of this on a pork roast sandwich with pepperoncinis and Swiss cheese is a favorite around here just about any time of year.

K, I’m hungry now… and I have 10… wait… make that 9 jars calling my name.


That's it for this edition of Cookin' With The Shibaguyz! Come back soon for more recipes, general food "stuff", gardening chat, and just about anything else we can think of to get into.


talk to you soon…
the Shibaguyz
 


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