Okay, so with all my peppers coming in strong in the garden it was time add to my stash of Christmas gift-giving yumminess and stock the pantry with some Jalapeno Pepper Jelly! My garden is chock full of more jalapenos than I have ever grown before in addition to many pepper newcomers like Anaheim, Thai Chili, wax peppers and pablanos. I am not really sure what I’ll do with the Thai peppers, but I just took the first batch off the dehydrator. I’ll probably end up turning them into a powder. The first few Anaheims made their way into a fabulous enchilada dish just a few days ago and I’ve pickled lots of the wax peppers. But I hadn’t yet used any of the pablano peppers, until yesterday. I harvested my very first, gorgeous and um, rather plump pablano the fateful morning I made my first batch of Jalapeno Jelly of the season.
Now I didn’t start out thinking I would add the pablano. It just sort of happened.
The recipe called for six jalapeno peppers and two cups total of bell peppers, green and red. Since I didn’t have any fresh red bell peppers on hand I rehydrated a small handful from my pantry stash a few hours before starting the recipe. I was still a little under the 2 cup mark after I chopped all the bell peppers and put them in the measuring cup, so I went back to the garden and grabbed a couple more smallish bells. Even after chopping these additional two I was still a bit shy of my 2 cup goal. Hmmm. Conundrum.
Out of the corner of my eye I spied the gorgeous green pablano I picked earlier in the morning. I wonder…
Before I had a chance to ponder it much more I was busy reducing the pepper to so much chopped confetti. Now, if I had stopped there I think my jelly would have been just fine for the average pepper jelly connoisseur.
But I didn’t.
Remember how I said the recipe called for six jalapeno peppers? Well, I decided to live a little dangerously and go for seven! Taking a walk on the wild side and cranking up the heat!
But truth be told, I really don’t think this was the decision that took my jelly from the usual sweet heat to a five alarm fire of the mouth. No, more likely it would be my next “minor” modification.
I went just one teeny-tiny step further and opted not to devein or deseed any of my jalapeno peppers! That, my friends, was my last and perhaps biggest mistake! Normally I devein and deseed at least some of my jalapenos. I like my pepper jelly to have a little heat so I usually keep some of the veins and seeds to crank it up a notch. I honestly don’t know what got into me, but the resulting jelly is super stinking hot! Yowza!
And for a while there I was thinking I would have to pitch the lot. Even while the stuff was cooking I could just feel the heat in the air and my nose told me this was no ordinary batch of Pepper Jelly. A tiny taste of the still-hot goo just before processing set my mouth on fire! And for one small moment in time I considered dumping it all down the drain.
But I did not.
After letting the processed jars chill out on the counter overnight I popped the top on one of the wee jars and dared a tiny taste. The verdict? It’s hot! Dadgum hot! But maybe, just maybe it’s salvagable. After all some folks munch on habenaros just for the fun of it, right? And, though I don’t know quite where this would end up on the Scoville Scale, I daresay my jelly isn’t anywhere near as hot as a habenaro.
So, if you’re not one to let a little heat get in the way of your dining pleasure then try my pepper jelly! C’mon! I double dog dare ya!
Double-Dog-Dare-Ya Pepper Jelly Recipe
Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.
Add peppers, vinegar, and sugar to large pot. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.
Add pectin and return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
Ladleimmediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars in water filled canner. Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary. Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)