So, last week I had some peaches I needed to use, so I threw them in the fridge with some sugar, Bulleit bourbon, and a split vanilla bean. As I haven’t had a chance to get to the farmers’ market to pick up more fresh, delicious Colorado peaches, there they’ve sat. Lonely. Unloved. Until today, that is, when my friend Lenny dropped off a ton of jalapenos from his garden. When life hands you jalapenos, you make jalapeno-peach jelly!
I searched the internets far and wide and wasn’t able to find a low- or no-sugar recipe, so I was forced to create my own. To make sure I don’t poison Dan, myself, or anyone else, I started with the jalapeno jelly recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
FACT: It’s crucially important when water-bath canning to ensure your food has the right level of acidity; if not, things can go horribly, horribly wrong. Badly/improperly canned food can kill you, people. For reals. Here’s a handy list of FAQs about home canning.
Since the Ball recipe calls for pectin and the 6 cups of sugar that go along with it, I consulted the instructions on the jar of Ball Low- or No-sugar needed pectin I have on hand. It said that for 2 cups of fruit, you need 1.5 tbsps pectin and up to 1/2 cup of sugar/sugar substitute/honey. I ended up adding about 1/4 cup of honey to augment the sugar from/on the peaches and I think it worked out pretty well.
Here’s the recipe:
12oz. jalapenos – stemmed, seeded & chopped (I left the ribs and some stray seeds in)
2 cups apple cider vinegar, divided
~1.5 cups peaches, pureed
1/4 cup honey
1.5 tbsp RealFruit Low 0r No Sugar Needed Pectin
1. Prepare canner, jars and lids. Place a spoon in the freezer to use later for testing the jell of your jelly.
2. Puree the peppers and 1 cup of the vinegar until smooth. Then, add in your peaches and puree it all together until smooth. (I used a stick blender for this, but it can be done in a regular blender or a food processor with a metal blade.)
3. In your favorite jam-making (read: non-reactive) pot, combine the pepper-peach puree, the honey, and the remaining cup of vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes.
4. Add in the pectin, 1/2 tbsp at a time, stirring well in between. Continue boiling at a rolling boil, stirring constantly, until the temp reaches 220°F and/or it starts to look shiny and feel thick like jelly. If there’s foam, you can skim it off, or just stir it back in again.
5. Take the spoon out of the freezer and spoon out some jelly; let it cool and then test it to see if it’s jelled enough. If not, add more pectin and keep boiling.
6. When ready, turn off the heat under the jelly. Take the jars and bands out of the canner and place them on a clean towel next to your stove. Fill each jar (note: funnels are awesome), leaving a 1/4 inch of headspace at the top. Wipe off the rims, center the lid on the jar, then screw on the band until it’s super tight.
7. Process jars in the canner (ensuring they’re completely covered) at a boil for 10 minutes. I processed mine for 15, since I’m a little over 5,000 ft above sea level. Remember to start the timer only after the water has reached a boil.
8. Remove jars from canner and let cool completely. You should hear pings as the jars vacuum seal. When the jars are cool, remove the bands and check for a seal by picking up the jar by the lid. If it doesn’t move or come off, you’re good to go! If it does, put the jar in the fridge and use it right away.
Sealed jars should be good in a cool, dry place for up to 18 months according to most of the recipes I’ve seen. If you see bubbles on top of the jelly or any other signs of spoilage, DO NOT EAT IT.