Homemade Apple Hot Pepper Jelly makes the most delicious gift and is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. Try with cheddar pie crackers!
I’m pretty sure Hiro and I collected the entire contents of two apple trees last week and then started on a third until I ran out of Rubbermaid containers to put them in and room in my basement for storage.
The over zealousness of my apple picking has prompted me to consider a blog name change and possible identity crisis.
Last week I graced you with this over-the-top apple pie with a cheddar cheese crust and now I bring you a sweet, supple apple jelly flecked with fiery jalapeños and fresh cayenne chile slices.
On Friday I will go back to being ¡Hola! Jalapeño and save you from the apple cider, caramel apple butter, apple whoopie pies, applesauce, apple-poppy seed slaw, and that other apple pie I made.
In a previous life I’m pretty sure I survived the Great Depression the way I like to hoard food.
I cannot under any circumstance turn down a grocery sack full of garden cucumbers, a jar of pickles, or in this case bucket after bucket of fresh picked apples no matter how much I really, really don’t need them.
I have this inner urge to gather and store so either I lived through the Great Depression or am a reincarnated squirrel.
I’m really leaning toward my Great Depression theory because not only do I accept any offering of food, I also am an avid canner.
This time of year my canning pot lives permanently on the stove and plans can change on a dime if say, I’ve finally gathered enough tomatoes to fill the quart jars and they need to be canned.
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Why You Must Make This Apple Hot Pepper Jelly
This is the first year I’ve attempted apple jelly and I don’t have any idea what has taken me so long.
It is the most soft, luxurious jelly with that fresh-picked smell of crisp, raw apple.
I added spicy jalapeños and fresh cayenne chiles to it because hot pepper jelly is one of my favorite afternoon indulgences.
A thin shear of hot pepper jelly over some cream cheese on a seeded cracker satisfies my every mid-day desire.
Last week when I was testing the cheddar cheese crust for my apple pie I found myself shamelessly over-snacking on the scraps.
Pie crust cookies are absolutely a thing, but have you ever had pie crust crackers?
The salty cheese in the crust makes an amazing cracker, especially topped with crunchy, nutty sesame seeds.
Like we used to say back in the GD….. Never let a good thing go to waste!
Tips For Success
If you’ve never canned anything before, take a deep breath. This isn’t a hard process, just takes some patience. Here’s a few pointers for getting it right:
- You don’t have to use fresh-picked apples, store-bought Granny Smith apples would be fine, but you do need to make your own apple juice if you want the jalapeno jelly to set properly.
- The type of apple is important, green, tart varieties like Granny Smith are higher in pectin and set better than other varieties.
- Use this recipe to make jam or jelly. Jam-lovers don’t need to strain out the pulp when making the juice. Leave it in for a thicker more apple-butter-like consistency.
- Apples have lots of natural pectin (the natural fiber found in plants that gels and becomes thick) especially in the skin. So don’t peel the apples before cooking them.
- Cook the apple jelly to 230°F. It’s best to use a candy thermometer (you will need two thermometers for this recipe) but also to test your jelly by dropping a dab on a chilled plate, putting it in the freezer for a few minutes then see if it has jelled.
- Prefer pepper jelly to jalapeno jelly? Substitute green bell peppers for the jalapeños and cayenne chiles.
Because Who Doesn’t Love Pepper Jelly?
Seriously though, this spicy-sweet jelly is so good, it’s pretty impossible not to love. Try the recipe, and let me know how you like it, OK? Share a photo and tag me on Instagram using @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so that I can see your stuff! Happy eating!
For the Apple Juice:
- 5 pounds fully ripe tart apples (green varieties like Granny Smith work best), quartered
- 4 cups water
For the Jelly:
- 5 cups apple juice (from the juice you made)
- 9 jalapeños, minced (seeds removed if you want it less spicy)
- 4 fresh cayenne or thai bird chiles, thinly sliced (seeds removed if you want it less spicy)
- 7 cups granulated sugar
- 1 (3-ounce) pouch liquid pectin
For the Cheddar Pie Crust Crackers:
- 1 recipe or scraps from Cheddar Cheese Pie Crust
- 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
For the Apple Hot Pepper Jelly:
- To make the juice, combine quartered apples (with their cores and seeds) and water in an 8-quart stock pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce the heat, cover and simmer, stir occasionally, until soft, about 20-30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit 30 minutes.
- Mash mixture with a potato masher.
- Place a fine mesh sieve over a large pan or bowl. Ladle the cooked apples in to the sieve and strain the juice from the pulp. Resist the urge to mash mixture down, just let it drain naturally. Discard the pulp. Rinse the sieve thoroughly and line it with 3 to 4 layers of clean, damp cheesecloth.
- Strain the juice through the cheesecloth 2 times, rinsing the cheesecloth between each straining. Measure 5 cups of juice.
- Stick a small plate in the refrigerator to chill. You will use this to check and see if the jelly has set.
- To make the jelly, wash 9 to 10 half-pint jars, lids, and rings in hot soapy water; rinse. Fill a large stock pot (preferably a canning pot) with water. Attach a candy thermometer to the side and set over medium-high heat. Place clean jars and lids in the water to heat. Watch the thermometer and heat the water to 200°F. Once it reaches the correct temperature, make sure to raise or lower the heat to keep it there.
- Meanwhile, heat the 5 cups of apple juice in a separate 8-quart stock pot over medium heat until just warm. Clip a second candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Add the jalapenos, cayenne chiles, and 7 cups sugar and heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Stir the entire contents of the pectin pouch. Return the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Continue cooking until the thermometer reads 220°F, about 10-15 minutes more. Remove pot from the heat.
- Quickly skim off any foam and begin testing to see if the jelly has set. Spoon a bit of jelly on the chilled plate and stick in the freezer for a few minutes. If it wobbles and wrinkles when you nudge it with the back of a spoon, you are ready to can. If it looks runny, keep boiling and checking until it sets.
- Ladle 1/2 cups of the hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims and threads with a clean, damp paper towel. Cover with hot lids and apply screw rings. Process half-pint jars in a 200°F water bath for 15 minutes, pint jars for 20 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the water and set aside to cool. Once cool, check to see that the lids have sealed by pressing down on the middle of the lid, it should not pop back under your finger. If it hasn't sealed properly you can store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. The sealed jars will keep, unopened for 1 year.
For the Cheddar Pie Crust Crackers:
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Roll out pie crust to 1/4-inch thick and cut into strips or shapes. Lay crackers in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake until crisp and golden, about 10-15 minutes.
It is important to make your own apple juice from fresh apples. Store-bought apple juice will not have enough pectin to firm up the jelly.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 70 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 13mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 25gProtein: 1g
One More Thing
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