My gardening skills and ability to preserve my harvest are novice but, I am learning fast. I shied away from preserving because I thought it was too complicated, and time consuming. It can be time consuming but it is surprisingly easy. Honestly, I find it relaxing. It allows me time to just focus on the process and the volume of jars filled with garden goodness at the end is my prize.
Preserving fresh garden vegetables or fruits are superior in quality and taste. It is better than almost anything you can pick off the shelf at your local grocery store. More importantly, you can enjoy your garden harvest or your farmer market special all year.
I planted extra jalapeños and other varieties of hot peppers this season with the idea of preserving them in salsas, hot sauces, and in jam and jellies.
My vision last summer was to take a crack at making jalapeño jelly with the idea of spreading it on a block of cream cheese and using it as a glaze for pork, seafood and chicken. I like to keep things simple and started out with an easy to prepare jalapeño jelly recipe. My first taste was on my morning toast and it was quite tasty.
Easy Jalapeño Jelly
Makes about five 8-ounce (250 mL) jars
Recipe from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
12 oz (350 g) jalapeño peppers, stemmed seeded and deveined
2 cups (500mL) cider vinegar, divided
6 cups (1.5 L) granulated sugar
2 pouches (each 3 oz/85 mL) liquid pectin
Green food coloring (optional)
Note: I did not add food coloring
1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
2. In a blender or a food processor fitted with a meta blade, puree peppers and 1 cup (250 mL) of the vinegar until smooth.
3. In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine pepper puree, remaining 1 cup (250 mL) vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes. Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in food coloring, if using, and quickly skim off foam.
4. Quickly pour hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) head space. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
5. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.