fresh produce for jelly ~ mostly from the garden!
Whenever I am going through a rough patch, there are several things that can bring me back.
In no particular order these are:
1. autumn in the air
3. lake superior
When cooking does the trick, India always comes to the rescue in some way.
Where did summer go? Where did the past 18 years go!?
Miss m went away to summer camp early in July, came home in August for the Week Of Laundry, and was off to college in the blink of an eye. There was hardly time for hello, nevermind goodbye. I was thoroughly in the dumps. On top of it all, I had a minor knee surgery that kept me off my feet for a couple of weeks afterwards.
Of course, the house is not empty ~ the kitties are here. And big brother is here, but at 22, he’s never here! Rightfully so; I’m nowhere near as much fun as his friends ;)
Because I was laid up, there was no good old-fashioned burying myself in the kitchen or garden to keep my mind off my baby leaving — no energy to work on this house that needs packing — just 90 degree temps and plenty of time to lay around feeling sorry for myself.
Thankfully, the weather turned over the long holiday weekend; autumn is an especially big pick-me-up this year. Yesterday I got out and ran errands, cooked supper, and planned for today’s supper — which is more than I have felt like doing in weeks.
The garden is still producing, albeit a little more slowly now. I wanted to do something with the serrano peppers that all ripened ON the plant — that didn’t happen last year. I thought about chutney, but I wasn’t in the mood to drag out the mixie.
Then I thought about jelly. Hot pepper and garlic jelly… something I could share with my dad, too. Yum.
Jelly won. Don’t ask me how it’s less work to drag out the canning outfit, wash and sterilize jars… I don’t have a good answer for that one :)
Tangy Hot Pepper Jelly
yield: approx 3 1/2 pts
use vinegar and sweetener to your taste
1 1/2 c banana peppers
remove seeds and chop
(about 6-8 peppers)
1/4 – 1/3 c red-ripe serrano peppers
remove seeds and chop
(again, about 6-8 peppers)
12-20 cloves garlic, peeled
trim off hard end of cloves
place in foil, drizzle with olive oil, crimp the top shut and roast about 20 min at 400F.
When cooled, chop finely, and sprinkle salt if desired.
2 TB chopped smoked eggplant
(optional ~ I had this leftover, grilled, from supper but again, didn’t want to drag out the mixie and make baba ghanoush….)
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
(or other fresh herb of your choice)
1/3 – 1/2c good red wine like cabernet
scant 1 c cider vinegar
scant 1 c white vinegar
1 c sugar OR
6-8 lumps jaggery, depending on size and your taste
1 1/2 c splenda or to taste
1 pkg (1 3/4 oz) dry, no-sugar-needed pectin such as Ball brand
more pectin if needed
Place chopped peppers, garlic, rosemary, and optional eggplant in a large pot. Add vinegar, wine, and sugar or jaggery.
Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. When sugar or jaggery is dissolved, add Splenda and pectin — start with one pkg of pectin (1 3/4 oz).
Bring now to a rolling boil — one you cannot stir down with a spoon — and boil for one minute.
Remove from heat and test for jelling. Take some up in a cold spoon (soak a spoon in ice water, was one tip I read). If it jells quickly, you’re good to go. If not, add another teaspoon of pectin, put it back on the stove and bring back to a rolling boil, and cook another 30-60 seconds.
Remove again from the heat to the clear space where your clean cloth and sterile jars are ready. Ladle carefully into the jars, leaving 1/2″ of headspace.
Using a damp cloth, carefully wipe the edges of the jars — you don’t want to drip water into the jelly — more importantly, you don’t want to burn yourself.
Place sterile lids on the jars and secure the bands.
Process in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove with a jar-lifter and set on a clean cloth. You should hear the lids’ vacuum POP shortly thereafter — there’s nothing quite so satisfying as that sound.
hot pepper jelly cooling on a dishtowel
If you have never tried home-canning, be it jelly or something else, don’t worry — there are lots of great resources out there.
Home Canning (Ball Company)
Site for USA and Canada, Ball Company
Pick Your Own
Lots of tips, recipes, and pick-your-own farm listings for the USA
If you are in the US, your local county extension will be a great resource too, as well as the USDA website.
As usual, I began by searching online for *the perfect recipe*. As usual, I began about 9 pm… why waste all this newfound energy!
And as usual when I got to the kitchen, I was missing one key ingredient:
And that is where India came to the rescue tonight; I may not keep sugar at hand, but there is always jaggery. Because jaggery is unrefined, this jelly might not sparkle in the sunlight, but it surely sparkles with flavor!
Inspiration for this recipe came from many places — principally these.
And no offense, I wish to give credit where credit is due!
However, these three sites all load VERY SLOWLY for me, and tend to lock me up. Nothing to do with the great recipes — but,
just so you know :)
Don and Marsha’s Hot Pepper Jelly
Gina’s Locally Famous Onion Garlic Hot Pepper Jelly
Big Black Dog’s Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
And for more India inspiration, try some Chanchal Okra — even in a pot, somewhat neglected this year, it will grow like a dream :)
field of okra, in a pot on the deck