Sometimes you think you have it all figured out. You have a tried-and-true recipe you make time and time again, and it always works, so why try something new?
Well, when a friend with ulterior motives offers to bring red pepper jelly to the bus stop for you, you don’t say no. And when that pepper jelly is just as good as your tried-and-true recipe, and happens to boast way more peppers, less sugar, and zero canning time, you understand why said friend was determined to sway you to her pepper jelly fan club. Good friends save you time and calories, amright?
But I’m not removing my old red pepper jelly recipe, because it has its perks that can’t be beat. It uses only two peppers, an amount I regularly have on hand. This recipe uses 12 peppers – that requires some pretty deliberate pepper acquisition. My old recipe requires canning, yes, but that essentially guarantees sealed jars, where this new one depends on having enough heat in the jelly and the jars to result in sealing. One of my jars didn’t seal this time, so next time I’d probably just throw them in the canner for 5 minutes anyway to be sure.
Otherwise, though, if you have 12 peppers at the ready, you need to drop all other to-dos and move this pepper jelly to the top of your list. It is perfectly sweet despite having way less sugar than my original version, and you can add more heat with a couple jalapenos if you prefer. There are no special thickening ingredients, as the natural pectin in the peppers makes it set up perfectly.
My mom and I made this while she was here recently, and we agreed that there was no clear winner between this and my old recipe, so we need more opinions. Make both, share both, take notes and opinion polls, and report back. Weekend plans made.
- 12 sweet red peppers (about 8 cups total after passing them in the food processor)
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon coarse salt (aka kosher salt or pickling salt)
- 3 cups white sugar
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- Prepare the peppers by removing seeds and membranes and chopping into quarters. Pulse them in a food processor or blender until mostly puréed (a few small chunks is fine, it looks pretty in the jelly).
- Put the puréed peppers in a bowl, stir in the coarse salt and let stand for 3-4 hours at room temperature.
- After that time, put mixture in a fine sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold water to remove the salt. Drain well, pressing out as much moisture through the sieve as possible with your hands.
- Put the drained mixture in a Dutch oven or other large pot, stir in the sugar, vinegar and minced garlic, and bring to a boil. When it boils, set the timer for 30 minutes and lower the heat to medium. Keep it at a good simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While it boils, sterilize jars (makes 8-10 125 mL jars) and lids.
- After 30 minutes, pour bubbling hot mixture into sterilized jars, leaving about ¼-inch headspace, and close the lids to fingertip tight (don't overtighten).
- Listen for the jar lids popping to be sure that they are well sealed. Store at room temperature when sealed, and refrigerate after opening. If one fails to seal, just store it in the fridge and use within 2 weeks.
Recipe adapted from food.com, via my friend Renee.