Jalapeño Jam

12/06/2013

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Gary and I love all things spice, so I was thrilled when my friend Melissa brought me 13.8 pounds (13.8!) of jalapeño peppers. Her pepper plants out at her organic farm Forage went crazy, and we reaped the bounty.

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We pickled some, dried others, and made jam out of the rest. I realize that jalapeño jam doesn’t sound all that enticing, but believe me, it’s fantastic. The sugar cuts the spice just enough to make it a great spread on cornbread, or with chèvre on crackers.

This recipe is from our friend Sam. Unlike many recipes I attempt, these instructions have to be followed EXACTLY! Jam and jelly is tricky that way; if you don’t do the boiling or adding exactly as they say, you end up with runny jam. (Which is exactly what happened in my first batch, which ended up being compost). I am by no means an expert on canning (although that actually is one of my life goals), so I defer all canning questions to the Queen of Canning through her Food in Jars blog. It does make me feel better that even she gets runny jam every once in awhile.

Ingredients:

3 cups of bell or sweet peppers, red and/or green
1 c jalapeño peppers
1 c cider vinegar
1 1/2 boxes Surejell Fruit Pectin
1/2 t butter
5 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl (See tip below.)

Instructions:

Bring boiling pot half-full with water to a simmer. Wash the jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

Clean and coarsely chop peppers. It’s best to protect your hands with rubber gloves while preparing jalapeño peppers. You want 4 cups total of the peppers, but you can add more or less hot ones for your taste. I used all jalapeños for my recipe, but that’s because we love the FIRE! You can also omit or leave in some of the jalapeno seeds depending on your spice tolerance. Place the peppers in a food processor and grind them up. Next, put them in 6 or 8 quart pot.

Add the vinegar. Stir in the pectin. Add the butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in the sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of the tops. Wipe the jar rims and threads. Cover with the lids and rings, but do not screw down the lids tight–air still has to escape. Place the upright jars in the pot with the boiling water that you used to sterilize the jars, but make sure they’re not touching one another. Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Put the lid on the pot and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars, screw the lids on tight, and place upright on towel to cool completely.

Makes about six one cup jars.

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