Pepper jelly ……………. again? I know, I know, we already did the whole pepper jelly thing two weeks ago, …………….. but this one is different and honestly, this stuff is like money in the bank, at least in a culinary sense, that is ………………
…………….. you see, you almost can’t have enough of this amazing stuff at this time of year. A stash of it, tucked away in your freezer or pantry, can keep you out of more than one “predicament” over the next few weeks. What kind of predicaments? I’m so glad you asked!
You know all the “little” gifts you need for the holiday season? Teachers, neighbors, coaches, co-workers, hostesses, bosses, mailmen ……………… and on and on the list goes. A sparkling jar of pepper jelly tied with a fun bow is the perfect solution. Need a bit more? Find a pretty basket, add some nice crackers, a log of goat cheese and a tiny jar of fresh pomegranate seeds*** ………………. you’ve got a lovely and practical gift anyone would love. (I’d be most pleased to get a gift like that …………….. hint, hint!).
You’ll also love having this jelly on hand for a super quick appetizer. If you’re spending a lot of time making a nice dinner, sometimes it’s enough to throw you over the cliff, having to plan a yummy appetizer too. Now, all you need to do is have a stash of pepper jelly, some crackers** and a few packages of cream cheese. Then, when the doorbell’s about to ring with merry holiday guests, throw the cream cheese on a pretty plate, spoon some pepper jelly over the top and add a fan of crackers. Voila! A fantastic appetizer that will receive rave reviews! If you want to really wow your guests, add a handful of fresh pomegranate seeds*** or diced mango, clementines, fresh pineapple ………….. or whatever your little heart dreams up …………… you’ll be put on the “hostess-with-the-mostest” list for sure!
One last reason to make a batch or two of this jam and have it on hand; it’s just so incredibly pretty! After I posted my last pepper jelly, my friend Aimee From Chapel Hill to Chickenville left a comment and shared a link to her pepper jelly (which I adapted just a bit). I couldn’t stop staring at her pictures of the beautiful sparkling jelly. Since I had a few jalapeños left in the pepper stash I was gifted with, I knew this would be going my “have to make” list. Put it on your list too, you won’t be sorry!
P.S. This combination of cream cheese with Jalapeño Pepper Jelly, pomegranates and a shower of finely chopped cilantro is amazing. And see the delicious looking crackers? Be sure to check back next week for this wonderful Seeded Whole Grain Cracker recipe. They’re delicious and very economical compared to the fancy gourmet crackers you’ll find at the market.
Jalapeño Pepper Jelly
¾ cup green bell pepper, very finely chopped*
¼ cup jalapeño pepper, very finely chopped
1 ½ cups white wine vinegar
6 cups sugar
1 packet Certo**, If you like your jelly quite thick use another tablespoon or so of Certo. With the one packet it makes a nice consitency for spooning on cream cheese, muffins, etc. but it is not super thick.
a few drops of green food coloring, optional
1. Combine peppers, vinegar and sugar in a large pot or dutch oven. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for one minute.
2. Remove from heat and add Certo and food coloring, if desired. Stir continuously for 1 minute. Skim any foam from surface.
3. Pour into jars, cover and allow to set at room temperature for 24 hours, then freeze. If freezing jam make sure to leave a 1/2 inch space at the top of the jar to allow for expansion in the freezer.
Alternatively you can use the water bath method; after adding the Certo and stirring, pour your jam into sterilized jars and proceed as directed here.
* ~ I like to chop my peppers by hand, but Aimee has another suggestion. This is how she does it; “Clean the peppers and cut them into sections. Then put them in a bag in the freezer. When you are ready to make the jelly, take them out and pulse them in the food processor.
** ~ If you like your jelly quite thick use another tablespoon or so of Certo. With the one packet it makes a nice consitency for spooning on cream cheese, muffins, etc. but it is not super thick.
*** ~ For a super simple way to open and remove the delicious pomegranate seeds, check out this post.