Spicy Red Pepper Jelly
Easy-peesy! This is the perfect holiday gift for neighbors and friends. It's a never-fail recipe.
sweet red bell peppers
processed, but not pulverized
processed but not pulverized--seeds removed
must be high acid vinegar (5%)
a 'Certo' liquid pectin pouch works best
Prerequisites: I recommend wearing latex or vinyl gloves. You will need to have on hand 6, 250ml clean canning jars and new, two-piece lids. You will also need a pot large enough to hold a rack and the jars, allowing for one inch of water above the jars, and tongs to lift the jars into and out of the boiling water. And you will need a food processor. Getting all this in place ahead of time is the key to it being easy. Also, if you've never canned before, you might wish to 'google': 'how to prepare jars for canning and boiling water processing' and study the directions and recommendations. Proper sealing is essential!
Assemble your food processor, peppers, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, and liquid pectin. Get your large lidded pot, with bottom-fitting rack, full of water and on the stove. Wash your jars and place them in the pot, on top of the rack, so that 1" of water is above them. Put the lid on and let it come to the boil (you can do other things while this is happening--once boiling, turn it off, or let it gently simmer). Put your washed jar lids into a small pan and cover them with water, and they will need to be brought to nearly boiling just before canning.
Slice the peppers into fair-sized chunks and process them in small batches so that they aren't ground into a paste, but still have texture. This is a rustic jelly--more like a jam--so you don't want to pulverize the peppers. Two cups is the perfect amount. (If you want a very spicy taste, add another jalapeno.)
Place your processed peppers, the sugar and vinegar in a pot and heat quite rapidly to boiling while stirring continuously;
Once brought to the boil, remove the pot from the heat and let stand for fifteen (15) minutes. This is a good time to heat your jar lids to near boiling, then turn off and keep hot--at the same time, get your jars to the boiling point as well;
Reheat peppers to boiling, then add your lemon juice. Let it come back to boiling, and add your liquid pectin;
Once again, bring it all to boiling. Let it gently boil, while stirring constantly for five whole minutes. Then turn it off and let it sit.
Turn your attention to the canning process: make sure your jars are in boiling hot, but calm water--and make sure the lids are in almost-boiling water. Place a rack next to your pepper jelly mixture;
With tongs, lift out one jar and empty it of water, and bring it over to the rack next to your pepper mix. Using a ladle, stir into your jelly and begin filling your jar, leaving about 1" of air below the rim. With a toothpick, or plastic knife, eliminate any bubbles on the surface, and using a clean cloth, wipe the rim free of any jelly;
Place lid cover on rim and screw the rest on gently, (not tightly) and return the filled jar to the boiling water using your tongs. Fill and seal each of the six jars in this way, until they are all sitting on the rack in your large, boiling-water pot;
Make sure there is at least 1" of water above your sealed jars. Put the lid on the pot and bring the water to the boil, and then boil it all for ten minutes;
After ten minutes of continuous boiling, carefully lift each jar out and onto a rack. Listen carefully for the sound of the lid vacuum-sealing when it hits the cool air--it is a little popping sound as the lid warps inwardly. EACH JAR MUST WARP INWARDLY AND MAKE THIS LITTLE SOUND or it possibly didn't vacuum seal properly. Crouch down and examine each lid. If each is slightly indented, it is vacuum-sealed and can be stored for several months on a shelf, no problem. If you have any question about one of them, open it up, make sure there's a good 1" of air below the clean rim, reseal, reboil, and listen again for the sound of the lid indenting. Screw your lids on more tightly;
Label your jars and include a date on the label so your friends know when it was processed. Once you've done this recipe, you will see that your next batch goes along quite quickly--and you'll feel like a canning expert! [one final note: if you bought a box of a dozen jars, it is better 2 make two batches of six than to attempt to double this recipe.]