Hot Pepper Jelly

PepperJelly2I appear to be involved in a canned goods swap with my gramma. I send her and granpa a jar of my favorite preserve of the year every Christmas — strawberry red wine jam one year, lemon-lime marmalade the next. Last year, Gramma must have foreseen that I was sending her another jar, because tucked into the shipping box between my and Dan’s gifts, we found a jar of her hot pepper jelly.

Dan and I loved it. It was excellent on a cheese plate, especially when we put it with some sharp cheddar and crackers. We ate it on grilled cheese, too. I dreamt of using it as a glaze on a ham, but by then the jar was too far gone.

I emailed Gramma last week to ask for the recipe, and Dan’s face lit up when I told him what I was canning this week. I’m anticipating a lot of happy cheese plates this winter — and that glazed ham!


Hot Pepper Jelly

Yield: 5-6 half pint jars

Hot Pepper Jelly

Adapted from my gramma's recipe. If you want your jelly to be the more traditional bright green color, add a few drops of food coloring to the jelly after you remove it from the heat.


  • 2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) chopped jalapeño peppers
  • 4 ounces (about 2/3 cup) chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 1/2 cup white vinegar (at least 5% acidity)
  • 6 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces liquid pectin


  1. Prepare for canning. Wash the jars and flat lids with hot, soapy water. Put the jars in the canning pot and fill the pot with hot water. Heat over medium-high heat to keep the jars hot. Place the lids in a heat-proof bowl.
  2. Puree the jalapeños, bell peppers and 1/4 cup of the vinegar in a food processor or blender. There will still be a few small shreds of peppers, which is fine.
  3. Stir the pepper puree, the rest of the vinegar and the sugar together in a large stockpot. Cover and bring to a boil. Once it is bubbly and foamy, continue boiling, stirring often, for 5 minutes. If it begins to boil over, reduce the heat a bit and stir until the foam subsides a little.
  4. Quickly stir in the liquid pectin and boil for another minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
  5. Move some of the boiling water from the canning pot into the heat-proof bowl containing the lids. Line the hot jars up on a folded towel, then pour the water out of the heat-proof bowl and off the lids.
  6. Fill the jars with jelly up to 1/4” below the rim.
  7. Use a clean towel to wipe any jelly off the rims, then top each jar with a lid and a tightened ring. Place the jars back in the canning pot and make sure they are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Place the jars on a folded towel and allow to sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Check the seals of the lids after 1 hour. If a seal has not formed, refrigerate the jar immediately.