Making homemade jellies is a lot easier than I expected. With the right supplies and a little patience, you too can create some gourmet jellies for holiday gifts. Cranberry Hot Pepper Jelly makes a great appetizer, served with crackers and cheese, especially cream cheese. It's also great as a spread on a turkey sandwich.
The best part about making your own jelly is that it is CHEAP! Assuming you already own the required canning equipment, the cost per 125ml jar of Cranberry Hot Pepper Jelly works out to less than $2 per jar! My batch of eight jars actually cost $1.73 per jar. That cost includes the jar, sugar, pectin, red pepper, jalapeño and cranberry juice AND the jar top labels. (The vinegar is not included in the cost analysis because I already had a large jug on hand, but even with the amount of vinegar used in the recipe added in, the total per jar would still be under $2.) Homemade jellies are personal, affordable, easy and delicious.
The green jalapeño peppers used in this recipe are quite mild and taste peppery rather than spicy. If you'd like a spicier mix, try using Serrano peppers or red jalapeño peppers. You could also add a teaspoon or two of dried red chili flakes to the saucepan during step one.
Recipe from 'The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving'.
1 large sweet red pepper
2 green jalapeño peppers, seeded
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup 100% pure cranberry juice (NOT cocktail)
3 cups white sugar
1 pouch liquid fruit pectin
8 125ml canning jars, snap lids and rings
1 jelly bag or cheesecloth
1. See here for instructions on how to prepare jars for canning and here for how to prepare your boiling-water canner.
2. Finely chop red pepper and jalapeño peppers in a food processor. Place mixture in a small stainless steel saucepan* with water and vinegar. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes. Strain mixture through a course sieve, pressing with the back of spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Pour liquid through a jelly bag or through a couple layers of cheesecloth to remove any remaining sediment.
3. Place strained liquid, cranberry concentrate and sugar in a medium stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin, return to a full boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam.
4. Ladle mixture into hot 125ml canning jars. Cover with a hot snap lid and secure with a ring. Process jars in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (15 minutes if you are above 1000ft elevation). Turn off the heat. Wait 5 minutes before removing jars from water (to stabilize pressure inside jars). Remove jars from water and place them on a towel. Let jars sit, undisturbed, to cool at room temperature overnight. Remove rings, label jars with contents and date, and store jars in a cool, dark place. (If you are giving as gifts, leave rings on, or replace rings just before gifting.)
Yields 8 - 125ml jars