One more pepper jelly and then we’re done (for a while, at least). Today I made jalapeño jelly, using a dozen fresh chiles and two medium green bell peppers. Nothing much special, although I added one interesting ingredient: Fresh basil from the garden.
I decided to steep the basil in vinegar rather than put it directly in the jelly. If you put the herb straight in, you have to cook it into the syrup. Basil doesn’t take well to cooking, in my experience. So I took the two cups of cider vinegar I planned for the jelly and brought it up to a simmer, then removed it from the heat. As it cooled slightly I roughly chopped about a cup of fresh basil from the garden, then I tossed it into the vinegar to steep for a few minutes. While that was working I got the rest of the hardware ready.
I cut and deseeded the jalapeños and the bell peppers, then I puréed the whole shebang in my trusty small food processor. That took all of about five minutes. The chile purée went into the jelly pot with the sweeteners (sugar and sucralose, a couple of cups each) and pectin (3 tablespoons). I strained the basil from the vinegar as I added it directly to the syrup. I had to manage the foaming using lots of stirring and a tablespoon of butter. I don’t know why green chiles and peppers seem to foam so much more strongly than for other jellies, but they do. Trust me, you Do Not want the pot to boil over at this point. (I can’t tell you how I know this.)
Canning was a snap, and I got a half dozen nice jars of dark green jelly for all my troubles. I tasted the pot drippings, and it’s plenty zesty with a strong sense of “green” in the flavor. Sweet but not overpoweringly so. And there’s that interesting hint of basil in the background…
Enjoy the (Green for Christmas) Heat!
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