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Yellow Inferno for Breakfast: Caribé-Habañero Pepper Jelly

This entry is part of a series, Pepper Jelly Chronicles»


Most of you are familiar with the tiny terrors known as Habañero chiles. Or maybe you’re familiar with its tongue-scorching cousin, the Scotch Bonnet. They appear about the same size and shape, although there’s a claim they have different flavors. (I don’t want to know how that tasting experiment was done.) These two chiles are members of the Capsicum chinense cultivar (There! Some science for you.), which includes the Yellow Lantern chile.

I wanted to make yellow pepper jelly, to complete the set; I’ve got red, green and orange, so yellow seemed a natural next step. Our local Central Market had some nice Caribé chiles, a very light yellow fruit that’s reputed to be just slightly hotter than a jalapeño. I bought a half-dozen last weekend, along with a couple of bright yellow bell peppers. I couldn’t find any yellow variants of C. chinense in our local markets, although I did find some nice, light orange ones. So I bought a couple of those. The lightest orange I could find.

I was set to make jelly.

First I cleaned and chopped the Caribés, and tasted a piece or two as I went. I found them to be quite mild at first, with a glow growing nicely on the back of my tongue as I chewed. Without their seeds and membranes I would say these chiles were milder than a jalapeño. They’re bigger, about three inches long, so the total heat content is more per-pepper. On the whole, though, I was glad I had the habs to punch up the zest.

For the orange menaces, I simply cut the flesh quickly away from the seed ball and stem, limiting the handling to a few quick swipes with my ultra-sharp ceramic blade. That way I didn’t get overwhelmed like I did when I was making the orange jelly. I quickly processed these with plenty of yellow bell pepper flesh to dilute their eye-searing vapors. Once I had all the peppers pulped, I put them in a pot on the stove with two cups of cider vinegar and cranked up the heat.

While the pot was warming I measured out 2½ cups each sugar and sucralose (often goes by the brand name Splenda), and 3½ tablespoons low-sugar pectin powder. The recipe calls for three, but I find that a bit light when you’re using so much fruit pulp. You have to supply all the pectin, since chiles and bell peppers have essentially none.

I set aside a couple ounces of the sugar, then dumped the remaining sweeteners into the pot. Over high heat, the mix came to a strong boil quite quickly. I cooked that for about 7-8 minutes, then I mixed the last bit of sugar with the pectin and added that to the pot. It took a pat of butter to control the froth, but I boiled the hot jelly for a couple of minutes to get the pectin activated.

From there it’s into the jars to be processed. I canned up three half-pint jars, reserving the remainder for a later experiment. These jars of jelly (or pepper jam, if you prefer) set up nicely when cooled, and have a pleasant, dark-yellow color. Based on my taste test, they’ve got a solid chile punch on toast, with a mean finish if you take too big a bite!

A jelly that bites back; I like that…

Enjoy the (Yellow Menace) Heat!

Entries in this series:
  1. Red Pepper Jelly Sunday
  2. Pepper Jelly Update: Anybody Got a Gas Mask I Can Borrow?
  3. Tag-Team Teaching in the Kitchen
  4. Lemon Ginger Marmalade, an Easy Spread to Make
  5. Yellow Inferno for Breakfast: Caribé-Habañero Pepper Jelly
  6. Lemony-Hot Jam, a Hybrid Spread With a Slow Burn
  7. Hatch Chiles and Lime, a Great Combo for Jam
  8. Jessica, Your Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly is Ready
  9. Hunting the Wild Prickly Pear in South Texas
  10. Prickly Pear Jelly Redux: Juice, Juice Everywhere…
  11. Charred Pineapple, Habañeros and Bourbon, a Great Jam Combo
  12. How to Push Prickly Pear Jelly Over the Top With Serrano Chiles
  13. Not Your Momma’s Marmalade
  14. A Jam That’s Just Plum Good…
  15. Peaches O’ Eight Jam, the Perfect Pirate Toast Topping
  16. Saint Basil’s Green; It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore
  17. Pepper Jelly Redux: Apricot Jam, Extra-Zesty Habañero and Serrano Jellies
  18. Pepper Jelly Sweetened with Stevia: It’s a Hit!
  19. Gardens, Gators, and Green Pepper Jelly
  20. Do Hairless Peaches Make Great Jam? You Betcha…
  21. Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onion Jam
  22. Cinnamon Plus Heat Equals Magic
  23. March Madness, With Mangos…
  24. StingJam, a New Variety of Pepper Jelly
  25. Butter and Scotch? Not Quite; But a Great Jelly Nonetheless…
  26. White Flesh Peach Zingjam, a Refreshing Topping
  27. More Summertime Fruit Pepper Jellies
  28. Holiday Marmalade with Habaneros and Prickly Pear Juice
  29. Pepper Jelly Makes a Great Christmas Present
  30. Cherry Season is Here, and Cherry Pepper Jellies are Great
  31. Pepper Jellies and the Manzano Chile
  32. Singapore Sling Pepper Jelly! Now You Can Drink Your Toast…
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