I love to garden! Spending the late afternoons and evenings with my girls, connecting with each other and getting closer to nature is one of my favorite past times. Some years, I go all out and plant a little bit more than I perhaps need to, but I always find ways to deal with the abundance when harvest time comes around to enjoy the fruits of my labor throughout the year.
This year, my passion has been for peppers, and I have a wide variety of these delicious, nutrient-rich vegetables growing throughout my garden. And I know just what I’m going to do with them come harvest time! Let me introduce you to my “famous” pepper jelly! Trust me, when you get a taste of this, you might get a bit overzealous with your pepper plants this year too.
Even if you aren’t as avid a gardener as I am, you can find a wide variety of fun peppers at the local farmer’s market to give this fantastic pepper jelly recipe a try.
Homemade Pepper Jelly Recipe
- 2 cups peppers
- 3 cups organic raw sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 box pectin (such as Sure-Jell®) or 1/2 cup apple liquid pectin (directions to follow)
- Stevia: 1 cup for every 3 cups
- Honey: ¾ cup for every 1 cup
- Agave: ¾ cup for every 1 cup
- Fruit juice: ½ cup for every cup
- Sugar/Stevia: ½ cup sugar and 1/8 cup Stevia
Liquid Pectin substitute:
Fruits contain a fair amount of pectin, with apples being the highest pectin-containing fruit of them all. In fact, Granny Smith apples (or a tart variety) would be the best option over a sweet apple for this pepper jelly recipe. Since you will be straining the juice from the apple, you do not need to core the apples.
- 1 quart whole apples
- Enough water to cover the apples
- Bring water to a boil.
- Cut apples into large chunks and add to boiling water.
- Reduce heat and simmer until apples are tender (this can take up to an hour).
- Once apples are completely tender, remove from water.
- In a large bowl, mash apples, collecting all the juice as it’s removed.
- Compost the left over pulp.
- Strain the thick-ish liquid through a cheesecloth. (This is your apple pectin.) *Do not force it through, as it will inevitably push some of the flesh of the apple through. (Although honestly, if this does happen, it is not the end of the world.)
- You won’t need the entire batch of apple pectin for this recipe, so you can freeze or can the remainder for future use.
- Use right around a ¼ cup of the pectin per cup of fruit when making your jellies.
Apple cider vinegar substitutes:
- White vinegar: equal measurement
- Lemon juice: equal measurement
- Lime juice: equal measurement
Homemade Pepper Jelly Recipe: Step-by-Step Directions
Step 1: Boil the jars and lids you are going to use for your finished product.
Alternate method: You can also run your jars through a short cycle in the dishwasher or place jars only (no lids) in a 200-degree F oven for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Pick your peppers. I tend to make several batches of pepper jelly and use a variety of peppers ranging from mild heat to burn your face off heat. Usually the only thing the latter type of pepper jelly recipe is good for is combining with cream cheese and serving as an appetizer with crackers.
Fun fact: When consuming something with higher heat, if you combine it with something higher in fat (e.g., cream cheese), it will reduce the capsaicin, while allowing the flavor of the hot ingredient to still remain.
Step 3: Chop off the tops and rinse the peppers well. Then add peppers to a food processor and blend until finely chopped.
Step 4: I like to remove the mixture and soak up some of the water on paper towels. This would also work with cheesecloth if you have that available.
Step 5: Add peppers to a large pot and bring to a boil.
Step 6: Add sugar (or sugar alternative as mentioned above) and vinegar and continue to boil for 5 – 10 minutes. I like to keep stirring to incorporate all ingredients, and I can also keep an eye on the consistency by stirring. Lastly, add the pectin and continue stirring for roughly 5 minutes.
Step 7: Pour mixture into canning jars and tightly seal. If you made several batches (especially with hotter or more mild peppers), be sure to label them well.
Now, enjoy your pepper jelly!
Whether you follow the original pepper jelly recipe or choose hotter or more mild peppers, you and your family may just find this pepper jelly highly addictive. Don’t say you haven’t been warned!