Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Heirloom Pepper Jelly

Zach and I went to the Clarkston Farmer's Market last weekend and tasted some of the most delicious produce, pasta, cheese and bakery items. Clarkston has a beautiful market on Saturday mornings, 8am through 12 noon, June through October in the parking lot across from Depot Park.
While we were there we picked up some beautiful purple heirloom peppers. I used some for some fresh Gazpacho (along with some heirloom tomatoes, it made the most cheerful, colorful soup!) and the rest we made into jelly.

We modified the recipe that came with our pectin. 
We started by washing the jars, lids, bands and all canning tools with hot soapy water. Then we processed the jars in boiling water for ten minutes.

While we waited for the jars to boil we chopped the peppers into fine pieces. This is my favorite part, I love to use a knife in the kitchen, there's something relaxing and methodical about chopping up beautiful vegetables and piling them in a pot. All the colors and smells, sometimes I work on being fast, curving my knuckles towards the knife, sometimes I work on the size and uniformity of the pieces...too many hours of watching Food Network I guess.

I'm a bit sensitive to Jalapenos so Zach chopped those up for me. If you are sensitive to hot peppers wear latex gloves, or marry a blacksmith with leather hands to do you chopping for you. We used about 3 cups of peppers. You can change the ratio of sweet peppers to jalapeno depending on how spicy you want it.

When we had the peppers chopped we added cider vinegar and sugar and brought it to a rapid boil that couldn't be stirred down. Then we added the pectin, brought it to another rapid boil and boiled for one minute.
We ladled the hot tangy jelly into the clean jars using our canning funnel. We wiped any drips from the tops of the jars to ensure a good seal. Then we put on the lids and the bands and boiled the jars of jelly for 10 more minutes (check you local elevation for processing times)
The sound of the jars popping always makes me giggle a little inside. Pepper Jelly is delicious with cream cheese on crackers. It also makes a great dipping sauce for fried chicken, pork chops etc. Enjoy!!!

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