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How to Push Prickly Pear Jelly Over the Top With Serrano Chiles

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

One Serrano

With an ongoing surfeit of prickly pear juice (and more fruit inbound this weekend, I hear), I decided to try some variations using the deadly-purple liquid. Over the past few days I’ve taken a bunch of ripe Serrano chiles from the bushes in the garden. They’re the only thing producing right now in our heat, other than okra. (And who eats THAT stuff, eh?) These little, red bullets of zest sure spice up tacos and the like; so I thought, why not put some in the prickly pear jelly?

This batch went very smoothly. I measured out 3¼ cups of the fruit juice, ¾ cup cider vinegar, 2½ cups each of sugar and sucralose, and 3 tablespoons of no-sugar pectin. Since the jelly-making equipment pretty much stays out and ready these days I had little setup time. All I had to do was cut off the stem ends of the Serranos, then halve them and remove the seeds. I also had one scrawny red jalapeño and two stunted ripe Cayenne chiles, so I included them. The more the merrier when it comes to capsaicin, yes? YES?? Right. I processed these chiles down with minimal fruit juice from the pot. I took them down to a very fine mince, basically a purée.

Mixing and boiling went smoothly, and the liquid looked very nice; no foaming this time, to speak of. Once I turned off the heat the syrup began to skin over immediately, indicating a strong jell, so I didn’t test independently. I moved directly to filling and canning jars, getting six full half-pints and about two ounces of leftovers for breakfast toast. I snuck a taste, and yes, it’s clearly prickly pear jelly. The heat is quite mild at first, then builds up a bit as the sugar dissolves on your tongue. Still, it’s not overpowering or flame-making; just a nice, even heat that makes you want more. (Yes, I gave in.)

The color’s the same as the previous batches, so I have to get labels on these new jars toot sweet. Wouldn’t want any surprises, come Christmas…

Enjoy the (Zesty Cactus Jelly) 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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