Friday, October 22, 2010

A Friday Flop

So, not at all of my kitchen experiments work out perfectly.  In fact, sometimes they are a total flop.  Luckily, my latest project was not a complete and total flop...just a minor one.

I've been obsessed with making my own pepper jelly lately.  I just love the stuff, and I think it tastes good on or with so many things.  But, I'd never made my own before, and no one that I asked confessed to any experience with it either.  So, I did some research and read through many recipes (including several from my folks, thank you!) and came up with a formula that I thought would work.

Well, it didn't.  I mean, it tasted good...a nice combination of sweet and hot, but the consistency was all wrong.  It ended up not like jelly, but more like honey.  Disappointing to say the least.

Unfortunately, I'm still preoccupied with the challenge of making pepper jelly.  So, I'm looking to you for help, dear readers.  I would appreciate it if you would review what I did and offer suggestions for improvement or advice on what I could do differently.  Thanks in advance!

Pepper Jelly
Makes 6 half-pints

1 cup green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 cup jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
6 cups white sugar
1 box of pectin

I finely chopped and seeded both kinds of peppers.  You can see I wasn't too careful about the seeds.

I combined the peppers with the vinegar and sugar in a big heavy pot, and brought it to a rolling boil.  I let it boil for about a couple of minutes.

Then, I took it off the heat and added the pectin.  I used one box of Sure-Jell.  I stirred some more to get rid of all the lumps and then I spooned it into sterilized half-pint jars and sealed.  I processed the jars in a boiling water bath to complete the seal.  Once the jars were vacuum-sealed, I turned them over and around a bit to distribute the peppers throughout the jelly.  I could tell it was thickening, but only so much.

I'm guessing I didn't let it cook long enough.  Thoughts?


  1. Off the top of my head, I'd say to increase the amount of pectin. Just from looking at your recipe, I'd say you need 4.5 to 6 ounces of pectin. You'll need to play with it to get to the consistency you're looking for...

  2. Oh and my suggestion was based on the thought that you used a 3 oz box. If you used, say 1.75 ounces, then I'd go for a total of 2.5 to 3 ounces.

  3. Good suggestion. I think I used a 3 oz box, so I will use a larger amount next time. Thanks, I knew I could count on you for feedback!

  4. I'm glad to help. Also, you said you let it boil for a few minutes. How high is your heat? You may want to turn it down to medium high, cook it a bit longer and continually stir (seriously never stop stirring, until you're pouring it into the jars). I have to do that when I'm making banana pudding or gravy.