Friday, October 1, 2010

Hot Pepper-Apple Jelly

So I said on Wednesday that I had three weeks worth of peppers, and I really didn't want to throw them away, because that is kind of against the purpose of a CSA, right? Try new things and learn to love vegetables that are in season? But I hate peppers. I always have. I still remember a salad my father made when I was 5 years old with green bell peppers from his garden. YUK! I never ate another pepper.

Today I am an adult and I can tolerate peppers a little better. And I have discovered that I like chiles, just not so much bell peppers. But the summer always produces more than I have the stomach for. I got a thought this week though, Hot Pepper Jelly. This is a very southern thing, because we love to douse everything with sugar and stick it in a jar that can last all winter. Of course as I have mentioned before, I hate all the recipes for canning jams and jellies that I find on the internet because they all have 3-4 times more sugar than they need and they always stupidly include manufactured pectin. Yuk. So, I made up my own recipe. And yes, I brashly contend that it will be safe for consumption after it sits in a properly sealed mason jar for a few months. And if not, I guess I will find out in January!
Hot Pepper-Apple Jelly (Jam really...)
2 Apples with their skins on
Several Chilies or Peppers, Bell, Jalapeno, Cubanelles (thanks TQ), Hungarian Hot, etc
1 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Cup of Water
1 Cup of Sugar (I actually used about one and a quarter...but I didn't need that extra bit, I just wanted to empty the bag).

First off I put the cored apples and the seeded and cored peppers through the shredder attachment of my food processor. I was going for a jelly that had a uniform consistency, I wanted the little bits to be small.
Then I dumped all the bits into my three quart saucepan and added the water, cider vinegar and sugar. And I boiled the mixture for about an hour or an hour and a half, until it became very thick and syrupy. Then I filled my glass jars leaving a little head room and processed them in a good old fashion water bath for 15 minutes.

There was enough leftover to store in a tupperware and DH and I had some as a snack before dinner. You know what? I tasted the mix while it was cooking and it was quite spicy. But by the time it got all cooked and done, it wasn't spicy at all. But what an interesting flavor combination, sweet, savory, sour and a tiny bit spicy. Nearly every website I found recipes on recommended cream cheese and crackers. But EVERY cream cheese in the grocery store contained Locust Bean Gum, and the brands named after that city in Pennsylvania had alot more unidentifiable stuff in it than I cared for. So I got a little container of Quark, a light cream cheese meets creme fraiche (it was cheaper too!). And I used our 100% whole wheat crackers and some quark and some pepper jelly. It was really awesome. Tomorrow I am going to put this stuff on a turkey sandwich with munster cheese. Anybody have any other good ideas for it? I have two jars of it put up. That is more than enough for us for now! I might not swap out my CSA peppers any longer. This is a sweet vegetable redemption.


  1. Ok, so I am the SAME WAY when it comes to peppers. Love hot peppers, hate sweet peppers. They dominate whatever dish they are in to the point that you can't taste anything else. As an adult I have discovered that I can tolerate them when they are the star of the dish, when they are supposed to dominate, like stuffed peppers, or grilled peppers...but overall I still prefer hot peppers.


  2. I definitely don't like green peppers but red, yellow, and orange peppers are good, especially cooked into things (I like them less when they are the star). I also like hot peppers.

  3. I was wondering about the jelly/jam thing when you posted about it last time. I remember watching the Good Eats episode where he talks about canning, and how some fruits have the pectin, but not the sugar, and others vice versa. How do you know which are which and whether it will set? I would love to cut back on the sugar/pectin I throw into jams/jellies/marmalades, but I am scared for it not to come out. I don't really have the time to redo a mistake (which I have had to do once, though I think it was a bad recipe).

  4. I like your comment Dianna. I think there are three things going on with all jams and jellies. The first is pectin. Lots of fruits have it but apples have alot which is why I put apples in everything and why I leave the peels on. I read that once but check out this cool blog post where she makes homemade pectin from apple peels-
    Secondly-sugar. I am under the impression that sugar doesn't help anything to gel, it helps it to preserve on the shelf. I admit. I am nervous about limiting the sugars, but whenever I open a can of jelly or jam that has been put up I always check it to make sure there is no growth and no bulging out the top. So far I have been lucky. I also attribute this to the number of low sugar canning recipes you can find on the web.
    Thirdly-water content. If you boil down jam until it is very thick it will probably be thick and jam like without the use of too much pectin. That was how the pepper jam was. It was very very thick while it was still cool, and pectin doesn't really set up until it's cold. Pectin is for sure more important for jelly than jam because you are only boiling the juice and not the meat of the fruit. But when I made my grape jelly earlier this summer I had a feeling that i didn't boil it down enough. But I was greedy and wanted a full jar of jelly. Which really I didn't have enough pectin to make a full jar of jelly--I needed to boil more water out.

  5. I just came to visit from Fed Up with Lunch. You got me with the hot pepper jelly post. I guess it was a good year for peppers! My CSA has given me several year's worth. I dried some. I put some in a jar of cider vinegar to use later. And today I made my first ever jelly! I used two cups of ground up hot peppers, bell peppers and pear (no apples in my house or I'd have chosen as you did) 3.5 c. sugar (less might have been fine) 3/4 c. cider vinegar and a pack of sure jell. It seems to have turned out good, altho the jars are still warm.

    Oh, and I too am a Practical Real Food Person.