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That feeling comes from more than the knowing that even after the last fruits and vegetables are picked from their plants, my family will continue eating good quality food that was raised start to finish with no chemicals, food that was handled in the most sanitary way possible. I also find satisfaction in the joy that comes from experimenting with the many creative ways to preserve what we've grown.
I was recently introduced to jalapeno jelly and thought the contrast between sweet and spicy was fantastic. Using the following recipe, I now have a new way of preserving some of my jalapeno crop.
When making jalapeno jelly, the level of heat you achieve with each batch can vary depending on the amount of capsaicin that finds its way into your mixture. It is commonly believed that putting the seeds of a pepper in the dish you are preparing will increase the level of heat. The majority of capsaicin is actually stored in the membranes within a pepper. The seeds, being attached to the membrane, pick up some of that capsaicin. So if you've learned something new and you plan to make jalapeno jelly, you can skip adding those chewy seeds because there is a better way to add heat.
When working with peppers containing capsaicin, it's a good idea to wear rubber or latex gloves if you will be dicing them with a knife instead of some sort of mechanical chopper. I have diced hundreds of hot peppers in my lifetime and never experienced a problem with my skin being sensitive to capsaicin. When making this batch of jelly, I had my first reaction and by the time I was finished dicing, I was wishing I had been more cautious.
When deciding how hot you want your jelly, remember the more membrane material you add the hotter your jelly will be. If 15 jalapenos seems like a lot, feel free to use fewer! If it doesn't seem like enough, add more! However, we like our food very spicy and 15 jalapenos with membranes definitely made my jelly hot enough.
I've been enjoying jalapeno jelly on warm biscuits and as a topping to bagels spread with cream cheese and I'm anxious to find new ways to add it to our meals.
Yields: 5 (1/2 pint) jars
1 1/2 cup apple juice
1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
15 jalapeno peppers finely diced
1 (2 ounce) package of powdered pectin
5 cups granulated sugar
Choose jalapenos that are fresh and firm, with no wrinkles or bad spots. Wash and dry them and cut off the stem ends. Cut the peppers in half from top to bottom and remove the seeds. Remove membranes (or just part of them) if you desire a milder jelly. Finely dice the jalapenos with a knife or using a chopper taking care to protect your skin and eyes from the inside parts of the peppers.
Place the diced jalapenos, apple juice, apple cider vinegar, and powdered pectin in a stockpot, stirring until thoroughly mixed. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sugar and bring the mixture to a boil again. Boil 1 minute longer, stirring constantly, making sure the sugar dissolves and you are left with a transparent syrup.
Pour the syrup into hot 1/2 pint size canning jars that have been sterilized, leaving 1/4 inch of head space in each jar. Cap with sterilized canning lids and rings. Process the jars of jelly for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Instructions for the proper process for a boiling water bath can be found here on the Ball website.