So I reviewed my Practical Home Canning Tips, dusted off the canning supplies in the basement, turned down the air conditioning ... and got to work!
THE TASTE TEST ... Green Pepper Jelly may be sweet but it's also astringent. The lick-the-spoon test suggested it might be better suited for savory treatments like stirring a spoonful into a sauce for fish or glazing grilled pork or chicken. But the bread-n-butter test cinched my approval: like with marmalade, the sweet and tart combination is terrific for everyday toast and good bread. Yum.
WHAT I LEARNED ...
- Food coloring is a necessity. There may be perky navy blues and crisp navy whites but green pepper jelly, sans food color, comes out brownish army bluck.
- The book says the same recipe works for red peppers, with, of course, red food coloring.
- Liquid fruit pectin should not be substituted for the specified powdered fruit pectin. Luckily, I learned this BEFORE starting to cook.
- August is a hard month to find canning supplies. Two stores were out of powdered pectin, one out of half-pint canning jars.
- "Pop" is an oh-so-satisfying sound!
GREEN PEPPER JELLY
Print or bookmark Green Pepper Jelly
Hands-on time: 15 minutes Day One, 60 minutes Day Two (not all active)
Time to table: 24 hours
Yields 6 half pints
7 green peppers, washed, stems, ribs and seeds removed, in quarters
1 jalapeno, ditto
1 1/2 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups apple juice (+ potential need for more)
1 package powdered pectin
1/2 teaspoon table salt
5 cups sugar
Green food coloring
DAY ONE In a food processor, puree half the peppers and jalapeno with half the vinegar. Transfer to a very large covered container. Puree the remaining peppers with the remaining vinegar. Transfer to the bowl. Stir in the apple juice. Refrigerate overnight.
DAY TWO [Set up the boiling water canner and a pot to sterilize the lids and bands. Run already clean jars through the dishwasher on the extra-hot cycle to get hot.]
Strain the peppers through a chinois / china cap / other strainer into a four-cup liquid measure. If you don't end up with four cups liquid, add more apple juice to make four cups.
Transfer four cups to a large pot. Sprinkle with pectin and salt, bring to a boil, stirring often. (I wish I'd used a non non-stick pan for this for it took too long on medium heat to get this to a boil. Next time I'll use stainless steel.) Once it boils, add the sugar. Return to a boil, stirring often if not constantly. Let boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add food coloring. One jar at a time, ladle through a funnel into hot, sterilized jars with 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the lips. Add lids and bands and tighten. Process 5 minutes in boiling water canner.