Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Harvest

Well, it is not because I have not been busy in the kitchen that I haven't posted lately. It is harvest time with the tomatoes and peppers that I have been growing in my garden. So in fact, I have been very busy making enough tomato sauce to keep me eating homemade sauce through the entire winter, PLUS, I have enough red pepper jelly to ensure that not a cheese plate will go without until next year. Oh yeah, and I still have enough to give to friends and family. I have always wanted to do that, pretty little jars with my own homemade concoctions. Truth is though, I have always felt a little bit intimidated by canning. What with the boiling and pectins and the sterilizing and the tongs and the potential to accidentally poison the people that I love. Well this year, I conquered that fear with a fabulous little book given to me by my good friend Chris, Jellies, Jams & Chutneys, by Thane Prince and published by DK Books.

So with the detail and far from overwhelming instructions from this beautiful little book, I felt ready to tackle my first 'official' jelly. So following the recipe on page 182, I made a most lovely Red Pepper Jelly that is now the talk of my girlfriends and family. Not only is good on cheese, but I quite like on toast with butter and eggs too! So here it is my friends, the Jellies, Jams & Chutneys recipe for Red Pepper Jelly.

My personal notes before you start:

  1. This Jelly has great flavour and a very pleasant amount of heat. But if you like a little more kick to your jelly, throw in a couple more fresh peppers, or include the seeds.
  2. I prefer to have a few flakes of the peppers floating in the jelly, so once you drain the peppers, take a couple of tbsp of the peppers and put it back into the mixture. 
  3. This is a 2 day process, so you don't have to prep you jars until Day 2.

Red Pepper Jelly

Takes 30 mins over 2 days
Makes about 3 1/2 lbs or 16 little jars
Keeps for about 6 mos. refridgerated

6 large red bell peppers, stems remove, halved and seeded
12 red chiles, halved (I used a combo the Bird's Eye or Red Thai, Westland and Scotch Bonnet Chiles)
2-1/2 cups red wine vinegar
2-1/4 lb granulated sugar
9 oz. liquid pectin

  1. Put the peppers and chiles into a blender or food processor, and chop finely, pulsing the machine on and off. Alternatively, chop by hand.
  2. Transfer the chopped peppers and chiles to a deep, heavy nonreactive saucepan. Add the vinegar, and bring to a boil Boil for 5 minutes, then let drip through a cheesecloth or other jelly bag overnight.
  3. Pour the resulting liquid into the cleaned saucepan and add the sugar. Bring the mixture slowly to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Add the pectin, increase the heat, and cook at a full rolling boil for 2 minutes, then test for a set.
  5. When the jelly has reached the setting point, ladle into small sterilized jars and cover with vinegar-proof seals.
    Hope you enjoy this beautiful jelly as much as I do.  I will let you know what else I make from this great little book.

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