Saturday, September 17, 2016

Homemade Jalapeno Jelly

Last year's jalapeno crop did fairly well, but this year we've only had enough for the summer luxury of being able to walk out to our own garden and grab a jalapeno here diced for tacos, a few there for our delicious PB jalapeno burgers, and a handful every once in awhile for poppers.

only a small portion of the harvest :)
The in-law's garden, on the other hand, has been producing these about as readily as our garden has been producing cukes! So of course we have done some garden swapping; and I knew exactly what I was going to do with the first bucket full ... my MIL's borrowed recipe from Tried and Tasty.

Jalapeno Jelly

4 cups finely chopped jalapenos (2 dozen or so whole)
1 cup white vinegar
5 cups sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 box (1.75 oz) pectin
8 pint size mason jars with seals and rings

Halve and deseed peppers. Finely chop prepared peppers (food processor is an option, just be careful not to over chop). Combine everything in a saucepan. Bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat. Boil for 15 min or until 220 degrees (here's a great resource for when it comes to getting your jam to set correctly). Pour hot jelly into clean, hot pint jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Add seals and rings n. If water bathing is desired process for 10 minutes. 

Just a few disclaimers: 

1 - When working with jalapenos I would strongly encourage the use of rubber gloves. Now, I usually am TOO lazy to take note of my own tip although I'm fully aware of the hazards that can come with cutting up jalapenos; however, after the fact I almost always regret my lack of caution. You can be careful enough to maintain the oils from the jalapenos by touching NOTHING other than the jalapenos until you are completely done handling them AND wash your hands umpteen times while using a scrub brush to make sure you have gotten ALL of the oils out from under your nails (otherwise you will oh so be in pain the next morning when you go to put your contacts in) as wells as a final rinse using some milk and vinegar OR you could just use gloves. Needless to say, but after a few times of suffering to consequences I know have a pair of gloves specifically for cutting up jalapenos {SO much simpler and smarter}. 

2 - If you are dead 'set' :) on having your jam turn out, well, like jam, then the resources link in the above recipe is VERY helpful. The last two batches of jam I have made have not set as well as I would have liked primarily due to (again getting lazy or quite possibly because I didn't want to take the few extra minutes when it was already hours past my bedtime ... zzzz!) and not cooking it long enough. While I followed to time suggested in the recipe, I didn't follow the tale-tell sign that the jam has passed the sheet test. Both of these batches have not and will not go to waste and honestly we have become quite fond of the not-so-set jalapeno jelly as it allows for a few more options as a dip, as a topping, and as a spread.

<insert picture of final product ... not sure how I forgot to grab this one at the time, the final product pic is the easiest one!>

COST COMPARISON: homemade 8 oz jar - $0.70 vs. store bought 10 oz. jar - $4.49 ... yeah it's definitely worth it! Even if you buy new jars it's still only about $1.80 for a 8 oz. jar. 

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