I don’t really know why the memory of my grandmother’s Pepper Jelly popped into my head a month or so. Just about every year she would make several batches of both the red and the green versions. She’d can them using the old style paraffin wax method of canning which I’ve never trusted but which she was an expert with. Only a very few jars would be given away as gifts while the rest would be used at her many holiday parties and ladies “card lunches” she would throw this time of year. Her preferred method of serving was the colorful and easy ‘jelly over cream cheese with Wheat Thins party appetizer.
This year, when some of my workmates and I decided it would be both fun and frugal to have a ‘gift making collective’ this year her pepper jelly came to mind. Here is how our gift collective works: first, the four of us hold an ‘offsite’ meeting at lunch where we have an incredible lunch, eat too much, and talk about food. Then we decide on 2 or three food items we can make together in Myra’s fancy, newly rebuilt kitchen, decorate or package well, and then give as gifts during the season. We’ve already had the fun meeting and this batch of the jelly was my ‘audition’ to the group for one of our chosen items. They loved it. Natch.
After giving the the girls one jar each, sending one to Cindy, (my blog mentor and constant inspiration), and then using my remaining jar up at home smearing on goat cheese and crostini (no recipe needed!), I’m all out already!
· 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
· 1/2 cup chopped jalapeno pepper
· 5 cups white sugar
· 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
· 1 (6 fluid ounce) container liquid pectin
Remove stems, veins and most of the seeds of the bell and jalapeno peppers. Use gloves or avoid touching your face after handling peppers. Mince peppers in a food processor (and keep your face away from the opening of the food processor.) In a 5-quart pot over high heat, combine bell peppers, jalapenos, sugar and vinegar.
Bring to a rolling boil; boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Stirring constantly, add the pectin and let mixture continue to cool for 2 minutes more. Stir for 1 minute. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and top with sterilized lids. Process in a water bath for at least 15 minutes to create pressure seal.