Hot Pepper Jam

Hot pepper jam 1st placeI think it’s safe to say that my peppers – both sweet and hot – are the most productive crop I have. That said, what can you do with pounds and pounds of peppers? I’ve stuffed them (with ground beef and chicken), frozen them, dehydrated them, pickled them, and made hot pepper relish. So, why not make hot pepper jam? This recipe isn’t as firm as the hot pepper jelly you buy in the store, but I like the jam consistency (thicker than a preserve but not stiff like a jelly). Also, I don’t add food coloring to what I eat, so what you see is the natural color.

HOT PEPPER JAM

— I found this recipe on a great website called Pick Your Own. She recommended using a no-sugar-added pectin WITH sugar, but I made mine with regular pectin and was happy with the outcome. (So were the judges at my county fair; I won first place!)

  • 1 pound hot peppers of any variety (you can mix varieties like I do)
  • 6 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar (with 5% acidity)
  • 3 packages pectin (I used Sure Jell regular)

1. Wash your peppers, then weigh them with the stems on. I make my jam with several varieties (fish peppers, lemon drop peppers, jalapenos, cayenne, and pepperoncini), so actually weighing the peppers is the only way to know for sure. I use a digital kitchen scale and add peppers until I have 18 oz. By the time I remove the stems, it’s about a pound.

A pound of hot peppers

A pound of hot peppers

2.. Sterilize 6 jelly jars (8 oz mason jars) in boiling water or a dish washer. Sterilize the lids and screw caps in simmering water. Turn on the heat under your filled canning pot, to bring the water to a boil.

3. Remove stems and seeds with pith from all the peppers. Cut into smaller pieces and put into a blender with about half the vinegar (to help with processing). Puree well.

Cut green peppers in blender

Cut green peppers in blender

4. Measure sugar into a bowl and set aside.

5. Empty 3 boxes of pectin into a second bowl, then take a half cup of sugar from the first bowl and mix it into the pectin. Set aside.

6. Combine the pepper puree, the remaining apple cider vinegar, and the bowl of sugar in a pot. Heat to a good boil over medium heat. Boil for ten more minutes, stirring constantly.

Hot pepper puree with vinegar & sugar

Hot pepper puree with vinegar & sugar

7. Add the pectin-sugar mixture, bring back to a boil, and boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. (NOTE: The first batch I made, I didn’t bring it back to a boil before counting the one minute; and the jam wasn’t as firm.)

8. If you have foam on the top of your jam, skim it off. (I didn’t have foam on any of my batches.)

9. Pour jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean, damp paper towel to remove any jam that may interfere with the seal. Then apply lids and rings.

10. Process jars in your canning pot at a full boil for ten minutes. Shortly after removing the jars from the water, you should hear those lovely pings that tell you the jars are sealing! However, let the jars cool for twelve hours before checking the seals. Then, push lightly in the center of the lids; if they don’t have any give, the seals are good. (Otherwise, you’ll have to refrigerate the poorly sealed jar or jars, and eat first.) After 24 hours, the jam should be fully set and you can enjoy!

As a note, don’t ever double a canning recipe! Follow the recipe, as is, and make multiple batches. My first batch, I used all green peppers. The second and third batches, I mixed green, red, and yellow peppers. You can see the difference in color:

Two pepper jams: mixed color on left, green on right

Two pepper jams: mixed color on left, green on right

DISCLAIMER: If canned incorrectly, clostridium botulinum is a real and dangerous risk! Sanctuary Gardener is not responsible for how this recipe is used, the use of poor canning practices, or canning errors. Please visit the site for the National Center for Home Food Preservation for more information on canning and preserving.

I plan on making several more batches of this jam and giving it as gifts. What gifts are you giving from your garden?

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