Red Pepper Jelly with a Twist

Last Fall while I was in Utah, my mother-in-law Nina invited me over to make Red Pepper Jelly. Nina's a master gardener, and grows all sorts of fruits and vegetables, including peppers. Whatever Nina and Grant don't eat over the summer, they can. I was excited to learn how to make jelly from a pro, and believe me, Nina's a pro. (So is my father-in-law, Grant.) You should see their fruit cellar! We spent the afternoon making jars and jars of jelly to give out as Christmas gifts. This is Nina's recipe. But, I added a twist --raspberries. (The raspberries are optional, of course.) If you've never canned, this is a great recipe to make as it does not require a water bath. And best of all, EVERYONE loves getting this jelly as a gift. After Christmas, had 4 people call and ask me for the recipe.

2 large red bell peppers
6 red Fresno peppers (also known as California peppers)
1 ½ cup cider vinegar
6 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups fresh raspberries, or 1 - 12 oz. bag frozen raspberries (I bought the Great Value bag at Walmart.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package liquid pectin (There are two packets in a package of pectin. Use one packet.)
1 tablespoon butter
10 half pint canning jars with seals and lids.

To prepare, run your canning jars, lids and seals through the dishwasher. Keep them in the dishwasher until ready to use.

Wearing rubber gloves,  cut the tops of the peppers.  Remove the seeds and membrane. Cut each pepper into quarters.

Place the peppers and raspberries in a blender with the vinegar. Puree until smooth.
Add the pepper mixture to a large cooking pot along with the sugar, salt and butter and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a rolling boil and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add the pectin and cook for 1 minute more.  Remove from heat. 

Ladle the jelly into sterilized jars filling the jar 1/4 inch from the top.  Remove any foam with a teaspoon. Wipe off the rims of the jars with a wet paper towel.  Wiping the jars is a very important step to ensure you  get a tight seal.
Place the seals on each jar and  add the metal ring and seal the jar -- not too tight.
Turn the jars upside down on a dish towel to cool.
(Remember, this recipe does not require that you process the jars in a water bath.)

Once cool, Make sure the seals are set by pushing down on the center of the lid. If you hear a popping sound then, place the jar in a water bath, or use the jelly immediately. Unsealed jars will keep in the refrigerator up to 6 weeks.  Jars with a proper seal will keep for about one year.

Makes 9 to 10 half pints.


Do not substitute powdered pectin in this recipe.  Use liquid pectin or it won't work.

Make sure to cover your hands when cutting the peppers, the oil from the peppers says on your hands and it will burn if you accidentally touch your eyes.

Make sure you thoroughly wipe the rim of the jar before adding the meal seal.  This insures a proper seal so you can store the jelly for up to a year.  

If you plan to give as a gift, consider using Weck canning jars which are much cuter than ball jars.  If you use these jars, don't turn them over after you fill.  Just add the clamps and let sit to cool.

Let this jelly set up for a few weeks to allow the flavors to  blend.   It will appear runny at first, but it firms up if it is allowed to sit a few weeks.  If you still find that it's too runny for your liking, then next time you make this,  add 1 1/2 packets of Certo instead of 1.

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