This homemade jelly is Peter Piper approved
Each year, I plant a salsa garden with beds full of tomato and pepper plants and, if I’m being candid, renewed optimism.
My luck with tomatoes can be hit or miss, but my peppers are always spectacular successes. I’ve turned my haul into spicy pestos, infused oils with their heat, garnished an untold number of dishes and, of course, made bowl after bowl of fresh pico de gallo.
I already have a good feeling about this season; I’m predicting a bumper crop. So, I went in search of new ways to dispose of my harvest. This quick jelly, with pieces of fresh pepper suspended like party confetti, is beautiful in color and sweet with a mild heat.
If you have a flame-retardant tongue, return all the jalapeño seeds to the mix. Or, if you’re more like us mere mortals, add the seeds back cautiously — a scant 1 to 2 tablespoons per batch.
Use this homemade pepper jelly to baste all kinds of grilled meats, whisk it into salad dressings and sandwich spreads, toss it with stir frys, smear it over salmon and drop it by spoonfuls onto deviled eggs. Or, try the classic preparation: poured over a brick of cream cheese and surrounded by a sleeve of wheat crackers.
Confetti Pepper Jelly
Yields: 3 pints
2 red bell peppers, veins and stems removed, chopped
8 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and reserved, chopped
5 cups granulated sugar
11⁄2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 (3-ounce) pouches of liquid pectin
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade attachment, add the bell peppers and pulse until finely chopped, but not puréed.
Measure out exactly 2 cups and set aside. Discard remaining peppers (or save for another use). Place jalapeños in the processor and pulse until finely chopped. Measure out precisely 11⁄2 cups. Discard remaining peppers.
Combine the peppers and place in the middle of a double layer of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel. Gather the ends and twist to wring out excess liquid. Dry peppers will yield the best results.
Combine the peppers, sugar and vinegar in a 5-quart pot and begin to cook over medium heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons of reserved jalapeño seeds for desired heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved. Increase to high heat and boil the mixture for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Add pectin pouches to the mixture and stir every 3-5 minutes to evenly distribute the peppers. Carefully ladle the hot jelly into clean glass containers. Cover and allow to cool completely. Jelly can be safely stored in the refrigerator up to two weeks.
Alicia Cahill is the owner of The Kitchen Chick, 2402 Market St. in Galveston.