Homemade Apple Jalapeño Jelly makes the most delicious gifts not to mention it is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. Get step-by-step instructions on how to make this obsessively good homemade jalapeno jelly at home. 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.
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.
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.
If you’ve ever canned anything before you probably have most of these things already, but here’s a rundown of everything you’ll need to make this jelly.
- An 8-quart stock pot with a lid. Ideally two stock pots—one to make the apple juice and one to make the jelly but you could wash the one you made the juice in and use it again for the jelly if you only have one big pot.
- Potato masher to mash the apples after you cook them for juice.
- Large fine mesh strainer for straining out the apple juice.
- Cheesecloth for straining out the little bits of pulp for perfectly clear juice.
- Large bowl or deep pot for collecting the juice.
- Liquid measuring cups
- Small plate for checking the thickness of the jelly.
- Canner with rack and lid
- 10 1/2 Pint (8 ounce) mason jars with clean lids and rings
- 2 Candy thermometers with pot clip. You’ll need one for the canner and one for the jelly.
- Wooden spoon for stirring jelly.
- Dry measuring cups for measuring sugar.
- Canning tongs
- Canning funnel
how to make apple jalapeño jelly
The first step is to make homemade apple juice. Cut the apples and place them in a large pot with the water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook until soft, about 20 minutes.
Mash cooked apples with a potato masher, strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve and discard the pulp.
Combine the homemade juice with the chiles, 7 cups sugar, boil over medium until the sugar dissolves.
Add the pectin and continue to cook and stir occasionally, until jelly reaches 220°F.
Meanwhile, prep the pint jars. Sterilize them by submerging them in a hot water bath (ideally the canning pot you are using). You can use any size jars you’d like, even the small 1/2 cup ones work great.
Once the jelly is ready, ladle it into the sterilized jars, seal, and process the jelly in the hot water canner for 20 minutes if using pint jars.
Remove from the hot water bath, let cool, then store for up to a year.
what are pie crackers?
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.
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:
- Read the recipe all the way through before beginning and make sure you have all the equipment you need. Check the list above.
- 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 220°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:
For the Apple Hot Pepper Jelly:
- Make apple 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 apples into a pulp. Mash mixture with a potato masher.
- Strain out juice. 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 2 more times. Strain the juice through the cheesecloth 2 times, rinsing the cheesecloth between each straining. Measure 5 cups of juice.
- Freeze a small plate. Stick a small plate in the refrigerator to chill. You will use this to check and see if the jelly has set.
- Prep the jars and canner. 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, rings 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. Leave jars, lids, and rings in the hot water until you are ready to fill them.
- Combine juice, chiles, and sugar. 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.
- Add pectin. Stir the entire contents of the pectin pouch. Return the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, then continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the thermometer reads 220°F, about 10-15 minutes more. Remove pot from the heat.
- Test jelly. 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.
- Fill jars. Remove jars from the hot water and place on a towel on a counter. Shake out any excess water, but you don't need to dry them. Leave the lids and rings in the water for now. Ladle 1/2 cups of the hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace (A canning funnel works really good for this). 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 at room temperature 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.
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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
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