Are you a fan of sweet heat? Then Roasted Red Jalapeno Jelly is what you need to bring to your next cocktail party or holiday dinner!
Are you a fan of sweet heat in your food? I’m guessing you probably are because sriracha is in the top 10 most preferred condiments in the United States and it’s the perfect example of America’s love affair with sweet heat. Seriously the first two ingredients of sriracha are chili and sugar.
You know what else has sweet heat? You’re reading a post titled Jalapeno jelly So I’m assuming you already know, but jalapeno jelly is delicious and the perfect thing to have on hand in your pantry or to serve to dinner at parties. It’s not the kind of jelly you’d want to put in your PB&J, rather it’s the kind of jelly you smear on a cracker with a dab of goat cheese.. Jalapeno jelly goes really well with goat cheese and if you put both on a single cracker during cocktail hour, MMM. Heaven in 1 bite.
Where Do You Get Red Jalapenos?
You know, I have the hardest time finding them and here’s my theory as of why: AMERICANS ARE WUSSES! Sorry to hit you with that truth bomb, but red jalapenos are considerably hotter than the green ones and since spicier jalapenos aren’t in as much demand, grocery stores carry the less spicy version.
Because they’re so hard to come by, and because I love spicy food, I grow my own jalapenos. I know what you’re thinking, “ugh this fucking recipe requires I spend months growing the food before I eat it?” The truth is a jalapeno plant is super hard and all it needs is a little water, some soil, and sun and a $2 dollar seedling will supply you with 4-5 lbs of peppers. They’re even deer repellent so if you plant a pepper plant near a plant that deer love to eat, they’ll stay away from the whole area because the spicy smell will irritate their sensitive deer noses.
What’s The Difference Between A Red Jalapeno Plant And A Green One?
Nothing. It’s the same freaking plant. A red jalapeno is simply a pepper that’s fully ripened. Not all jalapenos turn red, but you’ll know they’re ready to harvest when they start splitting. Don’t be afraid of the red! Use them in some salsas, on a banh mi, or some Roasted Red Jalapeno Jelly!
How Do You Roast Jalapeno Peppers?
So let’s start at the start. Most jalapeno jelly recipes out there on the interwebs call for raw peppers and I feel like this does the peppers a huge disservice. Roasting them beforehand brings out a lot of sweetness and some extra kick from the jalapenos. How do you roast them? Well it’s simple and all you need is a little olive oil, a baking sheet, and an oven. Trim the tops off the peppers and lay them on the baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Coat them evenly, rubbing with your hands, and spread them out evenly. You can see in the photo that there’s a larger red pepper on the sheet. I like to add a bell pepper to flesh out the jalapeno jelly and cut the spice a little bit. Put the sheet in the oven and roast for 10 minutes.
Quickly place them in a plastic bag and let them steam within the bag. Doing this makes it easier to peel the peppers and if you did it right (it’s hard to screw up) the charred skins of the peppers should peel easily. Protip: Wearing gloves will keep your hands clean of all the hot pepper oils. I suggest buying a box of nitrile gloves. You can get then at any hardware store or Amazon.
Toss your peeled peppers and anything that accumulated in the bag while steaming into a food pressor or a blender and add a cup of apple cider vinegar. Purée until smooth.
You’ve probably followed a recipe that uses jalapenos and requires you to seed and devein them. I’m here to tell you that is wrong! All the heat from a pepper lies in the little white ribs where the seeds live and removing them is a chili sin!
Anyway toss the purée in a large pot with granulated sugar and a cup of cider vinegar and boil for 10 minutes. Skim off any excess foam.
What Makes Jelly Gel?
So here’s the most important step of making any jelly. You need to add pectin to make it set, otherwise you will just have a mushy paste. Pectin is a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in the cells walls of most fruits that when mixed with sugar and heated will give jelly that semi solid consistency we all know and love. You can make it at home, but OMG I’m going to save you that pain in the ass and tell you to go to any grocery store where you’ll find it in the canning section, or the section that sells Jell-O.
Here’s a funny story. I walked into my local Stop and Shop and asked the 16 year old behind the counter of the customer service desk where the pectin is. She looked at me blankly. Asked what pectin is (I don’t blame her. At her age I had the same job and couldn’t tell the difference between a cucumber and a zucchini) and as I tried to explain, the older woman behind the desk, without looking up from her paper said “We don’t carry pectin. But we do have something called Sure-Jell.” We’ll as you can see in the picture, It has liquid pectin written right there on the box. Sure Jell is a brand name, lady. You can also find pectin sold by Ball (they make those mason jars) and it really doesn’t matter what brand you use, you just need 6 fluid ounces.
How Jelly Is Made The Easy Way
So, like I said, you could slave over a hot stove like they did in the old days and try to render pectin. Newsflash: You’re not going to get enough from peppers anyway. Or you could take a shortcut (if the tool exists to make life easier use it) and pour 6 ounces of pectin into your pot and bring it too a hard boil. Cook for exactly 1 minute and remove from heat and quickly ladle the jelly into sterilized jars.
Wait! How Do You Sterilize Jars!? Do You Use Bleach Or Something?
Oh God no! This is an optional step but I highly encourage you to do it because it will allow you to keep your jelly in your pantry practically forever. Step 1: get a canning set. I have this canning set from Norpro and the most important tools from it that you are going to need are the stainless steel funnel and the jar lifter.
Simply bring a large pot of water to a boil remove the lids and bands from your jars and place all of the separate pieces, along with your stainless steel funnel, into boiling water. Everything is sterile at this point. Use the jar lifter to safely pull the jars out of the water and place them on a kitchen towel. The idea is to keep the inside of the jar bacteria free so that nothing will grow and as long as nothing unsterilized touches the inside of the jar you should be fine.
Using a sterilized canning funnel from your pot of boiling water, ladle the jalapeno jelly into your sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch of empty space. Wipe rims of the jars to ensure you get a good seal and Place your sterilized lids on top and screw on the sterilized bands until they are finger tight.
To get a proper seal you have to process the jars. Relax it’s not that hard. Take your jars and gently lower them into boiling water making sure they don’t touch. Leave them in the water for 10 minutes and then lift them out one by one and place them on kitchen towel. As they cool you should hear a metallic ping. That means you have a vacuum seal and you can easily test this by checking to see if the “button” on the lids does not move.
Now all you have to do is let them cool and store them in a cool, dry place like your pantry. Your jalapeno jelly should last at least two years, if it doesn’t get eaten first.
Jalapeno Jelly Made With Roasted Peppers
Are you a fan of sweet heat? Then Jalapeno Jelly is what you need to bring to your next cocktail party or holiday dinner!
- 10 Red Jalapeno Peppers*
- 1 Red Bell Pepper*
- 2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar divided
- 6 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 6 Ounces Liquid Pectin*
Preheat a broiler. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place jars, bands, lids, and a stainless steel canning funnel into the boil water. This sterilizes the jars and will allow you to keep your jelly for long periods of time.
Trim stems off the jalapenos. Seed and devein the bell pepper. Lay them out on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Coat the peppers evenly with your hands and spread them out evenly on the baking sheet. Place in the broiler for 10 minutes.
Remove the peppers from the broiler and quickly toss them into a plastic bag and seal. Let them steam in the bag for 5 minutes. This makes it easier to peel the peppers.
Peel off the charred skin** Toss peeled roasted peppers into the bowl of a food processor or blender with 1 cup of vinegar and purée.
Pour the purée into a large pot with the sugar and the remaining vinegar. Bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on it making sure it doesn't boil over. If it does you will have a lot of sugar to clean up. Skim off the foam if necessary
Quickly, add liquid pectin**** and bring to a boil. Boil hard for precisely 1 minute.
Remove from heat and ladle the mixture into sterilized jars using the sterilized canning funnel.
Wipe any excess jelly from the rims, place the lids onto the the jars and tighten the bands. Gently place the jars back into the boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. This will create a vacuum seal.
Place the jars onto a clean kitchen towel and allow to cool. Store in a cool dark place.*****
*This jelly can be made with green jalapeños and a green bell pepper. The difference is that the flavor will be more mild and the color will be green (duh).
**Liquid pectin usually comes in a box of 2 three ounce packages.
*** Wear gloves to protect yourself from the hot pepper oils. Seriously, you don't want to accidentally touch your eyes
**** Protip: You have to work very quickly at this step. It's easiest to cut the the packets open and stand them up inside a glass/jar/measuring cup so they are readily available.
*****Jalapeno Jelly will keep for up to 2 years unopened in the pantry. Refrigerate after opening.