Spicy and sweet habanero-jalapeno jelly

I am absolutely awash in peppers…they seem to have been the only thing that thrived in my garden this year…and on top of that, a coworker with the same problem gave me several dozen of his habeneros he couldn’t use.  I am not really one to turn down produce, even though that meant scrambling to figure out how on earth I can use up so many habaneros.  Obviously, after accepting my coworker’s challenge, I HAD to do something!  So…when life hands you peppers…make pepper jelly!

And, oh my god, I am so glad I was up to the challenge, because I am absolutely obsessed with this stuff.  Two weeks later, I am already down three of the seven jars.  It perfectly hits that magical balance between sweet and spicy and savory.  With some crackers and cream cheese, it is the most delicious snack and makes an easy impromptu hors d’ouevre.  Canned, it makes a great gift, but sorry friends…this batch of pepper jelly is all mine.  🙂

The original recipe, adapted from the Ball Book of Home Preserving, calls for Jalapenos, but any mix of peppers will do.  You can adjust the heat by varying the amount of seeds/inner ribs you discard.  If you want to infuse some of the heat of the seeds and stems into your jelly, tie them in a bag of cheesecloth and boil with the jelly mixture, removing before canning.  As I was using habaneros, I did not do this, and the result was perfectly hot.

De-seeding the peppers is the most laborious part (12 ounces is a LOT of freakin’ peppers!); the rest of the recipe goes quickly and easily.  Almost too quickly…I took my eyes off the boiling pot for one moment and turned around to find the sticky, peppery mess spilling all over my electric stovetop.  Lovely.

But the end result was completely worth it.

Hot pepper jelly
Makes about six 250ml jars

12 ounces assorted chili peppers, seeds, stems, and ribs removed (WEAR GLOVES!)
2 cups cider vinegar (divided in half)
6 cups granular sugar
2 pouches liquid pectin

Prepare your canner, lids and jars.  Place lids in simmering water.  Fill canner with sterilized jars and water (covering jars by at least 1 inch) and start bringing to a boil.

In a food processor, blend the peppers and 1 cup of the vinegar.  The mixture should be fairly smooth, but not completely so you end up with pretty little flecks of peppers in the jelly.

In a large saucepan, combine this puree with the sugar and remaining 1 cup of vinegar.  Bring to a boil and stir constantly for 10 minutes.  Add the pectin and stir for one more minute.  Remove from heat and let foam subside.

Working quickly, remove jars from canner and pour jelly into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe the rims, center lid over jar and screw on band tightly.  Return to canner and process (at a high boil) for 10 minutes.  Wait at least 5 minutes before removing from canner.

As the jars cool, swirl gently to encourage more even dispersal of the pepper flecks.  Do not invert as this can affect the seal.  Refrigerate any left over jelly plus any jars that do not completely seal by the next day.

Preserved jars should keep for up to a year in your pantry, but if you’re like me, you’ll have a hard time keeping them that long!




23 thoughts on “Spicy and sweet habanero-jalapeno jelly

  1. k.m.

    Oooh this looks incredible. I might have to cheat and go buy some peppers, there’s no way in my shady yard I could grow peppers. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  2. foodblogandthedog

    I have tonnes of chillis this year too, I freeze mine but need to make some room in the freezer. This sounds amazing, don’t know where I would get liquid pectin from though (I live in Spain), congrats on being featured on foodpress!!

    1. bounteous Post author

      You can actually make liquid pectin yourself. Off the top of my head I don’t remember the precise instructions, but it involves cooking down apples and straining out the solids — the remaining liquid is pectin. Didn’t seem too difficult…may have to try it myself because the liquid stuff is definitely harder to find! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Sifting and Sowing

    I can’t wait until my plant grows some habaneros (or Scotch Bonnets as we call them in the UK) so I can make some of this. I was wondering if you might be able to help, my plant keeps growing flowers and then they drop off and never form into the fruit, any idea why this would be happening?? Any ideas would be HUGELY appreciated, many thanks and congratulations on the delicious looking jam!

    1. bounteous Post author

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Hmmm. There could be a number of reasons why the flowers fall off the plant. Low pollination, under or over-fertilization, or temperatures that drop below about 70 degrees could all result in poor fruiting.

  4. The Knife and Steel

    So simple, but it looks so delicious! Pepper jelly is one of those great things to always have around for your wine and cheese evenings with friends. I’m definitely going to try this recipe very soon. Thanks for posting it!

  5. Debora Cadene

    Your jelly looks amazing! Does it set like a jelly,or does it stay in liquid form? I tried to make some last year and it never set. I was so disappointed.

      1. Debora Cadene

        Thank you for your reply. Out of curiosity, when you say 12 ounces of peppers,(I am assuming you mean habenero’s) Are you weighing them or measuring them before or after you have removed all the seeds and ribs? I am really excited to make this.

  6. Debora Cadene

    I forgot to ask you guys something. When you talk about chili peppers….do you only mean habenero’s, or can you use them skinny red ones, or jalepeno’s or a mix? I’m still trying to figure out all these peppers……..

    1. bounteous Post author

      The recipe I used was written just for Jalapenos but I used a mix of Jalapenos and habaneros because I did not have enough of either. It is fine to mix it up.
      Measure 12 ounces after removing the seeds/stems. It is a lot of peppers…

      1. Debora Cadene

        one last question….promise. In the batch that you made, do you know what the ratio was for each of the peppers you used for the 12 oz’s?

  7. Aine Holder

    Gotta try this! Thanks for sharing. I am always running out of pepper jelly. We use it when we make grilled cheese sandwiches. It intensifies the flavour of the cheese. Give it a try :o)

  8. Arlene

    Thanks for a great recipe. I used Jalapenos and Serranos. I wanted mine HOT, so I put the ribs and seeds in a mesh bag and boiled them with for the first 5 minutes. It is HOT, and sweet and yummy! Thanks again, can’t wait to share it with my family.

  9. Annette

    I have a Jalapeno and about 4 habaneros and a large orange bell pepper….they came reduced in a bag at the grocery store with a red pepper that I needed to add to my others to make red pepper jelly, I wasn’t sure what they all were until I looked them up lol Could I use the orange bell pepper to make enough for a batch?

    1. Annette

      Never mind, it turned out the peppers I had was actually a cubanelle not a jalapeno and not habaneros but actually scotch bell peppers (SUPER HOT)
      so I cooked them all with the orange bell pepper and now have 6 bottles of what my bf called my “inferno” jelly lol


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