Canning jam is an involved process, and although I don’t discourage it, I personally don’t enjoy doing it. But making jams and jellies is something I do enjoy. Sadly, people confuse the two and, as a result, avoid making them completely. That is a shame. The great news is, you can easily (and quickly) make jams and jellies without canning, so keep on reading my friends. From strawberry-rhubarb quick jam, to this delightful, sweet-spicy hot pepper jelly, there is a wonderful world of spreads out there for you to discover, and I hope you do.
Little did I know, pepper jelly is actually considered a Southern favorite. The Southern version is often described as being somewhere between a jam and a relish texture-wise. Made up of just a few ingredients; peppers, sugar, and vinegar, plus pectin resulting in a very special, and slightly unusual, preserve, I’m told Southerners love their pepper jelly so much, they will put it on just about anything. A well-known favorite being cream cheese served with a side of Ritz crackers. Interesting, but I’ve got to admit, not me at all.
That aside, I’m blogging about pepper jelly because it’s actually something one of my college besties was obsessed with. The Saturday morning farmers market near campus provided her with a steady supply which, just like a Southerner, (she is midwestern), she would put it on just about everything, but her favorite was pretzels. My roommate was the inspiration behind this jelly recipe and my husband has been the happy receiver of my developing it. He, like my friend, it yet to find something hot pepper jelly can’t be put on. And I’m totally serious about that. From sandwiches to scrambled eggs, this sweet-and-spicy spread is a welcome pop to just about anything you can think up.
Unlike traditional Southern pepper jellies, I make mine without pectin, and instead use dried apricots to help the jelly set. And although my jelly contains traditional red peppers, instead of jalapeño peppers, I use the combination of fresh habaneros as well as dried Aleppo pepper flakes for heat, which creates a unique sweetness and salty flavor with the perfect amount of heat.
Hot Pepper Jelly
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, seeded, finely chopped
- 3 Tablespoons, fresh Habanero peppers, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper flakes
- Step 1 In a medium saucepan add the sugar and bot vinegars and stir to combine. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the dried apricots, onion, red pepper, Habanero pepper and Aleppo pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer till slightly thickened, about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Step 2 Once the jelly is cool enough to handle, transfer to the bowl of a kitchen mixer, such as a Cusinart, fitted with a blade attachment. Next pulse on/off till well blended.
- Step 3 Spoon the jelly into a large glass jar and allow to cool completely in the counter. Once cool, place a lid on top and refrigerate. Stays fresh for about two weeks.
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