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My Experience Canning Pepper Jelly

August 17, 2010

Written by Valerie Halloran 

This year I decided to grow green peppers to make my green pepper jelly with some extra to sell at a Christmas boutique in which I participate. I planted twelve plants and they are producing well. I rounded up my mother and father’s old blue canner. Keep in mind I have not canned for about 25 years. I had given all my canning jars away thinking I would not be canning again.  

I bought small canning jars with lids, cheesecloth, and ingredients. I got up that morning and was prepared to have jars of jelly by afternoon. I had been choosing between two recipes but evidently not reading them too carefully, I might add. The one I decided to make, I now noticed, had to sit in the refrigerator all night after being pureed in my food processor and be strained the next day through cheesecloth. This would produce six
half-pint jars.
 

The next morning, after cutting the cheesecloth, I got the big bowl of green juice and pulp out of the fridge and, with my husband pouring, I squished it so the juice ran through the cheesecloth and into the pot. I added the rest of the ingredients. 

A new problem arose. I needed three burners and only had two. I needed one for the canner, one for the jar and lid sterilization and one for heating my pepper mixture. Two big pots do not fit well on my two burners. The front pot hangs over a bit. A lot of juggling of these three pots took place. Luckily, I had my husband to lift the heavy canner from here to there as needed. A lot of walking back and forth by me to check the recipe and the canning instructions. Which pot was to simmer and which was to boil and how long. I must have returned to the canning book four times to look at the two different pages. I was wondering about my short-term memory at that point. 

The four cups of juice took a long time to boil after the sugar was added. Contributing to that was probably the fact that a fourth of the pot was not exactly centered on the burner. The huge canner was behind it and taking up too much room. Finally, it boiled and I poured the mixture into hot jars, covered them with lids, and put them in the canner for ten minutes. If I counted the time and effort—the hours of watering the pepper plants, preparation, processing, supplies and ingredients, these small jars of pepper jelly would be invaluable. 

Green Pepper Jelly 

Ball Blue Book® Guide to Preserving 2010  

  • 7 sweet green peppers
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 ½ cups cider vinegar, divided
  • 1 ½ cups apple juice
  • 1 package powdered pectin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups sugar
  • Green food coloring (optional)

To prepare juice:  Wash peppers; remove stems and seeds. Cut peppers into ½-inch pieces. Puree half the peppers and ¾-cup vinegar in a food processor or blender. Puree remaining peppers and vinegar. Combine purée and apple juice in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Strain pureed mixture through a damp jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth. Measure 4 cups juice. Add additional apple juice to make 4 cups, if needed. 

To make jelly:  Combine juice, powdered pectin, and salt in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Stir in a few drops of food coloring, if desired. Ladle hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. 

Recipe variation:  Substitute sweet red, orange, or yellow peppers and red, orange or yellow food coloring for sweet green peppers and green food coloring. 

Note:  When cutting or seeding hot peppers, wear rubber gloves to prevent hands from being burned.

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2 comments

  1. I was wondering what to do with my extra bell peppers. After reading your article, I am definitely NOT going to make any pepper jelly because (1) space and burner problem, (2) I don’t have anyone to help move the heavy pots around, (3) lack of jelly jars and lids (I, too, gave away all my supplies).
    Your last sentence says all.

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  2. Betty, My other recipe I got off the recipe was a pepper jelly recipe from Paula Deen. The way it read, it seemed that you didn’t have to use a canner. Just pour the hot green pepper mixture into hot sterilized jars and put the lids on. That is how I understood it, but I was really not sure. My neighbor talked to her friend who makes the pepper jelly (without pulp) and she does not process it in the canner. I am not advocating doing it, but it is done.

    I love using the pepper jelly over cream cheese as an appetizer and also when making my own turkey burgers (trying to be healthy!) I like to put some pepper jelly on the outside of the patties and it caramelizes and makes the patties get some tasty brown stuff on it. Yum.

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