March 20, 2015

Wintertime Canning: Hot Pepper Jam

Canning hot pepper jam in the middle of winter is the perfect pick-me-up. It's nice to put up a quick little project that doesn't rely on perfect in-season produce, and this jam refreshes the canning pantry which is starting to look a little thin this time of year.

These are local Maine peppers though; I promised A. that we'd can one day last summer, and we both bought the necessary supplies. I, as is my tendency in the summer, overbooked my evening and had to bail, so I recommended that she freeze the peppers until we had time to can. Well, a good seven months later, we did. 

A. froze the peppers whole, so we thawed them partially before chopping. We also found we'd bought some habanero peppers to substitute in for some of the jalapeƱos to make it hotter. This jam came out delightfully spicy, sweet with a tangy kick. A. says it's great with cream cheese and bagel chips.

Hot Pepper Jam
Adapted from Sure Jell

1-1/2 cups red peppers, seeded, finely chopped (about 2 medium)
1-1/2 cups green peppers, seeded, finely chopped (about 2 medium)
1 cup jalapeƱo peppers, seeded, finely chopped (about 5 large peppers, 1 habanero)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl, divided
1 box Sure Jell For Less or No Sugar Needed Pectin

Wash 8 4-oz. jars, lids, and screw bands. Set lids and screw bands aside. Fill boiling water bath canner halfway with water and heat on medium heat. Add jars to canner.

Chop peppers; wear gloves when chopping hot peppers. Bring peppers, vinegar and water to a boil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching. Measure out 1/4-cup sugar into a separate bowl, and mix in pectin powder thoroughly.

When pepper mixture boils, add sugar-pectin mix and stir to dissolve. Return to a roiling boil and add remaining sugar. Stir to dissolve and return to a full rolling boil. After mixture boils, remove from heat. Ladle into 4 oz. jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims. Apply dome lid and screw band until fingertip tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Let cool, check seals, and store for up to one year. 

Yield: about 4 cups (8 4-oz. jars)

For more information about safe home food preservation visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation