On day two of Homemade Christmas we have, Habanero Pepper Jelly
I am a gardener and if there is one thing I can grow really well, it is hot peppers. Usually, my family just sticks to jalapenos but a couple years ago I grew habaneros just so my husband and boys could have a habanero challenge. I should have known by the way my jalapenos grew that I was in for an overabundance of peppers and I was. I stuck my peppers in my freezer to figure out what to do with later but then Hurricane Mathew came and I lost my peppers when we lost electricity.
After the peppers were gone they were the next to the last thing on my mind until this past summer when a neighbor was giving away habaneros. I knew what I could do with them so I took some and went and bought a canner. I was going to make Habanero Pepper Jelly.
How to make Habanero Pepper Jelly
When working with hot peppers the most important thing I can tell you is to wear gloves. The peppers will burn your bare skin and depending on how bad you could be left with your hands soaking in sour cream or in the emergency room.
The next thing I want to warn you about with this recipe is doubling. Do not double the recipe in an attempt to make a larger batch. Your jam will not turn out and you will have habanero pepper syrup. You can read more about why you shouldn’t do this HERE.
Your first step will be to prepare the habaneros. You will want to destem and deseed them.
Next up will be your red pepper. Toss it in the food processor and chop it up but be careful not to overprocess it. Once it is chopped up remove from the food processor and allow to drain in a fine mesh strainer. You want to try to get out as much liquid as you can.
Next up is an ingredient that isn’t a pepper at all, carrots. The carrots add some extra sweetness that balances the heat out. It also adds an extra pop of orange. You will need one cup shredded.
Finally, you will process your habaneros. Like the red peppers do not over process and be careful when removing the lid of the food processor. You can “gas” yourself with the peppers. Like you shouldn’t look directly at the sun the same rule applies to this. Keep your face away from the bowl when you remove it.
Once everything is prepped it is then time to get cooking. You will want a big, heavy-bottomed pot. You are working with sugar and it is a pain in the butt if it boils over. Go for the bigger pot. Add your peppers, carrots and apple cider vinegar to the pot and slowly stir in powdered pectin. Next, bring to a boil using medium heat and remember to keep your face away from the pot.
Once the pepper and vinegar mix comes to a boil it is time add the sugar and bring to a boil again. You will need to boil and stir until the jam reaches 220 degrees using a candy thermometer. Once the temp is 220 you can start checking for doneness. HERE are some good examples of how to tell if your jam is done.
Once your pepper jelly is done it is time to add to clean and sterile jars and process using a water bath. Canning food is something I was always hesitant to try but it is extremely easy to do. The ping you hear when you are done is very rewarding too!
For more info on water baths and canning click HERE
I have made several batches of habanero pepper jelly and now have plenty for gifting and some for my family as well.
To dress up the jar for gift giving I use a small square of fabric and secure it around the lid with a rubber band and then tie with ribbon. All that is then left to do is to add a pretty label and give away.
How to use Habanero Pepper Jelly
There are several uses for Habanero Pepper Jelly but my families favorite is serving it poured over a block of cream cheese and served with crackers. Some other uses include:
Glaze for meats (pork, chicken, ham, etc.)
Topping for ice cream
Use in the place of your favorite jelly (ex. Peanut Butter and Habanero Jelly sandwich)
A savory thumbprint cookie
A spiced up vinagrette
- 8 half pint canning jars with lids and rings
- 1½ cups cider vinegar
- 6½ cups white sugar
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- ½ cup minced red bell pepper
- 15 habanero peppers, seeded and minced
- 1 pouch powdered pectin (ex. SureGel or Certo)
- Add habanero, red pepper, carrot, and vinegar to a large pot over medium heat. Slowly mix in pectin. Stir constantly and bring to a rolling boil.
- Add sugar and return to a rolling boil. Bring mixture to 220 degrees and check for doneness.
- Remove from heat. Skim off any foam from top.
- Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pour the jelly into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within ¼ inch of the top. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.
- Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 5 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the stockpot and place a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all).
Recipe from Allrecipes.com
How long will this last in the fridge?
Honestly, once we open a jar it quickly disappears. I would imagine like other canned jellies 3 months but you also need to keep an eye out for any signs of spoilage.
The jelly tastes amazing but it is very thick. Wondering if the pectin package I use was bigger than the recipe called for. The peppers, carrots and cider vinegar turned into a paste when I added the pectin.
Something went wrong. The pectin I used was Pomona’s Universal Pectin.