Sunday, September 14, 2014

Make It Monday: muy caliente peppers, pepper jelly no muy picante

So my Spanish is probably all wrong, but you get the gist - we planted the wrong peppers! They were too hot to handle and I had to step back and ponder what in the world to do with bushels of crazy hot peppers. Problem solved when we came up with this great pepper jelly recipe. It really takes the heat out and "sets up" so nicely because apples are a great natural pectin to use as the basis for any jams or jellies - a great after school snack.  Sometimes sweet silver linings come from what can first appear to be a disaster! Such a yummy recipe and great on toast or with cream cheese too.

*this is a two day process, so it's a good weekend project...

Step 1:

  • 1 1/2 lb Granny Smith apples, chopped with skin on
  • 6 cups cold water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 hot chile peppers ( I also added 3 mild peppers from a friend)
  • small pat of butter
You will also need:
  • a mixing bowl, sieve, and large square of cheese cloth
  • jam jars
Step 2:
  • Put all the chopped apple in a large pot or preserving pan and boil in 6 cups of cold water. Simmer for 40 minutes on a low heat until the apples are cooked down and soft. Remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher.
  • Place a sieve over a mixing bowl and line it with cheese cloth (pictured below)
  • Spoon the apple into the sieve and allow the juices to drain through overnight.
  • Next day: You should have 4 to 6 cups of apple juice. Pour the juice into a large pot and add the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a rapid boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pat of butter to reduce residue. 
  • Continue to boil and stir for 18 to 20 minutes - check for the setting point by placing a tsp full on a plate and drag your finger through it (it should separate on the plate).
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add your finely chopped chile flakes and stir them in well. Ladle into hot jam jars and sterilize (see tutorial below).
PMK tips:
  • When it's time to rapid boil the jam, send the kids out to play - they don't need to be anywhere near that big pot, no matter how tempting to help stir!
  • Mince the peppers as finely as humanly possible - better yet, use an electric chopper.
  • Don't rush the apple juice process - let it soak through overnight. This will ensure a crystal clear jelly!
  • Always sterilize your canning jars before using and here's a great tutorial on hot water bathing your filled jars. I promise it's not a difficult process!

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