Making Homemade Jalapeno Jelly with Hubby

Hi, this is Hubby. I thought I share with you how I make homemade jalapeno jelly. When I was little I helped my grandma with her canning and I have happy memories of that time so about a year ago I decided to give canning a try myself. Along with canning and making jellies, I like processing my own foods when possible so I know what goes in them.

The recipe for this jelly comes from Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving. It sounded good to me and Robyn said she also likes jalapeno jelly. I actually made this in December, but am just now getting around to posting about it. For Christmas, I gave away a few jars as gifts to friends and family and it was a hit. I do always ask for my jars back – they will get more jelly if they do this – no more jelly if they don’t.

Sterilize your canning jars

This recipe does not require pressure canning due to the acidity of the jelly. You need a water bath canner with jar rack. What I have actually has all the parts for whatever type of canning I am doing.

To start, wash the jars with soap and water. Then place them into the canner (pot) and add enough water to cover by an inch or so. Bring to a boil and “cook” the jars for at least 5 minutes to sterilize them. I leave the water on and boiling while I do the rest of the prep also because you need the jars to be warm when you put the jelly in and then you have to boil the finished filled jars also.

Seed the jalapeno peppers

I had never cut up a jalapeno pepper before so I asked Robyn how to do it. The first thing she told me to do was put gloves on to protect my skin from the oils of the peppers and especially if you rub your eyes with your fingers after cutting them – she said she has done this and it sucks.

Cut the jalapeno in half lengthwise. Then use a paring knife to remove the stems (membranes) and seeds from inside. Put the cleaned peppers in one pile and the stems and seeds in another.

Place the jalapeno seeds and membranes into cheesecloth and tie with string

If you like hotter jelly, make a spice bag with those seeds and stems. Just take a square of cheesecloth and put a handful in and tie it with cotton string. You will add the bag into the pot when you cook the jelly. Tasting the raw jalapeno pepper for heat is important since the heat level can vary. If you have really spicy peppers you may not need to do this bag part.

Add cleaned jalapeno peppers and vinegar to the food processor

Put your cleaned peppers in the food processor and add cider vinegar.

Puree the jalapeno peppers

Process until fairly smooth. It will get foamy like you see here.

Boil the pureed jalapenos, vinegar, and sugar for 10 minutes

Pour the processed peppers into another large pan and add sugar and more vinegar. Stir constantly while it boils for 10 minutes. If you are doing the bag of stems and seeds to make it hotter, now is the time to put that bag in during these 10 minutes. Remove before adding pectin.

Add pectin to the jelly mixture

Pectin is the next step and I have learned something important about this through several failed batches of different jellies. If your recipe calls for liquid pectin, use liquid pectin. If it calls for powdered pectin, use powdered pectin. While there is a way to figure out equivalents, I am not at that advanced stage in jelly making so just stick with the recipe as far as pectin goes. You will stir the pectin in for one minute. If you are using food coloring, I did not, this is the time to add that as well.

Fill the jars with the cooked jalapeno jelly

Skim the foam off the cooked jelly and then work quickly to fill the jelly jars. You should still have your canner on the stove with the hot jars in it. Use your jar lifter to take out a jar, empty the water out into the canner pot. Put the jar on the counter and use your wide-mouth funnel and a ladle to fill the jars with the jelly.

Make sure your jars have the proper head space

One of the most important steps in canning anything is getting correct head space. This little tool measures the head space on one end and on the other end the tool is great for canning thicker stuff where you need to remove air bubbles from bottom of jar. Your recipe should tell you how much head space you need in your jars.

Add lid to filled jelly jar

Your flat lids should be warmed in a pot of water also. Wipe any excess jelly off the rim of your jar and then place a flat lid on. Next screw on the band ring finger tight. Now use your jar lifter and put this completed jar back into the hot water in the canning pot. Continue for all of your jars and then boil all of the jars for the amount of time in the recipe – this called for 10 minutes.

Let the jars cool and give the jalapeno jelly time to set up

After being boiled. Take the jars out of the water and and let them cool and set up for 24 hours undisturbed. As they cool you may hear the lids suck down and pop. This is a good thing as it means you have a good seal.

Homemade Jalapeno Jelly

Since I was giving some of this away, I decorated some of the jars. I just took a piece of thin fabric cut with pinking shears and unscrewed just the band, placed the fabric on and rescrew the band on. You can put a little cotton batting under the fabric too if you like. The labels are available in stores by canning equipment.

My favorite way to eat this jelly is to eat with cream cheese and Ritz crackers. If it is just me having a snack I will just spread a little of the cream cheese onto the cracker and top with a bit of jelly. If I am putting this out for company, I place a block of cream cheese on a serving tray and spoon the jalapeno jelly over the top. Serve with the Ritz crackers and have a spreader so they can take however much they like to put on the cracker. Robyn bought 1/3 less fat Neufchatel cream cheese and it tasted just as good as regular cream cheese, I really didn’t notice a difference.

Do you have any found memories of making jelly or canning with your grandma or other relatives?