Have you ever had sweet red pepper jelly? If you have, you may know that it’s a southern thing! It can be odd to think that you can make jelly out of a pepper, but trust me, it is delicious! Whether you grow lots of red sweet peppers and want to preserve them, or if you just like to give homemade canned goods for gifts, this is a unique treat that you can’t buy off grocery store shelves.
How do you eat red pepper jelly? I don’t necessarily think of this dish as a jelly, it does have the chopped peppers in it, so I guess really it should be called a jam. But, I think of it more as a spread.
None the less, you can serve it on top of crackers with cream cheese. You can use ritz, but I like plain multi-grain crackers since the ritz is buttery tasting and over powers the red pepper.
You can also serve it on cornbread, maybe a jalapeño cornbread? Or you can serve it with biscuits, maybe a cheddar biscuit?
Take it to a potluck or set it out as an appetizer and it’ll probably be eaten up quickly!
The jam tastes best if eaten within a week of opening. It will probably last several weeks after opening however. I haven’t tested this because it gets eaten so quickly!
You can make red pepper jelly without canning, but if you want to preserve it, you’ll want to use a water bath canning method to seal it.
Note on ingredients: Pectin, Sugar, and Acid (the vinegar) is what effects the gelling capacity of your jam n jelly. The consistency of what I made turned out perfect for this spread. I used cane sugar, not beet sugar, which I’m unsure if that makes a difference. I used Heinz apple cider vinegar. I only keep the ACV with the ‘mother’ in my house. I bought plain AVC since the canning process will kill the mother anyway, and can make the end product look cloudy. I used the granular ball brand classic pectin. I always use organic cane sugar, but I also got organic red bell peppers since they were on sale and very fresh.
Red Pepper Jelly Spread
- 4 Cups finely diced red peppers (about 3-4 large red peppers)
- 1 Cup apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
- 4.5 TBS of Ball Realfruit Classic Pectin
- 5 Cups sugar
- Optional: Sliver of butter to reduce foaming
- Optional: 1 chopped jalapeño for heat
This made exactly 56 ounces. I used 10- 4oz jars and 2- 8oz jars
Set up your space and prepare for your method of water bath canning
Guide to Water Bath Canning PDF- from University of Georgia National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Also, I recommend the Ball Blue Book of Canning
- Wash and dry red peppers. Remove stems and seeds. Finely chop into small diced pieces. I did not use a food processor because I think it creates more water from the pepper, which can effect the consistency of the jam. However, this is just my thought!
- Measure out 4 cups of the peppers. Put in a mesh strainer and drain the watery juices out.
- In a large saucepan, add your peppers, vinegar. Sprinkle 1 TBS at a time of the pectin on top, and gently mixing each batch. Add in butter if using.
- Bring mixture to a hard rolling boil.
- Add in entire amount of sugar and stir.
- Bring mixture back to a hard rolling boil.
- Once it reaches this, cook for one minute. Turn off and remove from heat. You may keep mixture on warm if you need time to fill jars.
- Fill jars as you normally would when water bath canning jams n jellies.
- Process for 10 minutes in water bath canner.
- Allow jars to cool overnight and jelly to set. Check seals.
If you don’t have the means to can you can still make the jelly, but you will need to refrigerate and use it right away. You may be able to half the recipe, but I haven’t tried this so I can’t vouch on how it would turn out.
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