Popin' Pepper Jelly

Added 9/16/09

A spicy-sweet treat that goes well with almost anything.  Peas need a little pep ?  Corn-bread a little dull?  Try a little of this concoction and you'll be hooked.  It is also great on crackers with a little cream cheese, a perfect hors d'oeuvres for your next party.  The perfect way to spice up your life.  The Brass Dragon has a limited supply of his jellies for sale, you can find them here.

Now for  the nitty-gritty.  Here's the ingredients (one batch, approximately 8 one-half pint jars):

2-3 large bell peppers (mix the colors 

for a nice looking jelly).

pouch of liquid pectin ( I prefer the liquid)

 the cups of vinegar if you want a little more flavor.

a couple of drops to tint the jelly red or green.

Before we start, let me mention that when chopping up the peppers you need to wear rubber gloves.  Depending on the pepper, the capsaicin content can be quite high, especially the habaneros.   l didn't wear any gloves and my hands were still burning the next day.  Also, even if you wear gloves, please remember to not rub your face, eyes, or anything else; it will burn sensitive areas, I learned this this the hard way. Now, with that out of the way, here's how I make it:

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Gather the required  raw materials to make the jelly.  It is always better to do this first, so you don't get in the middle of the process and discover that you are missing something. Next, we need to sterilize the jars.  Some people like to just put them in the dish washer on the hygienic cycle, but I like to sterilize mine with boiling water.  Just put them in a pot and let them boil for five or ten minutes.  Remove from pot and place on a clean towel to dry.  Don't forget to put the rings and lids in the pot, too. Select and wash the peppers that you are going to use.  Pictured in the first picture are some of the peppers that I picked today, and the second shows some of the ones that I used in the jelly, minus the habaneros, I had already washed and chopped them. Seed and chop the peppers.  Please note that parts of this recipe freely use the J.A.R. (just about right) principle. Chop the peppers to whatever size you like, I like mine fairly small. I also like to go ahead and prepare all of the peppers that I am going to use so that when I start processing, I don't have to stop.  I seed all of the peppers except the tobascos and the chilis, the are just too small.  In the second picture, clockwise from the upper left, we have habanero, tobasco, bell, chili, and jalapeno. Place the vinegar, apple juice (if used), lemon juice, and the Sure Jell in a large boiler on the stove and bring to a boil.  Allow to come to a full boil (one that doesn't stop after being stirred) for one minute.  Then add the sugar and stir in. Next add the peppers Bring to a full boil again, for one minute, then remove from heat.  At this point you are ready to put the jelly into jars, but I like to test how the jelly is going to gel.  I put a small amount of the mixture on a plate and allow it to cool  Push it with your finger to see if it is going to gel, if it doesn't, add another package of Sure Jell and boil again.  Test for gelling again.  
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Once satisfied with the gel properties of your jelly, carefully ladle into jars, leaving a quarter inch head space.  Then use a clean rag to wipe the lip and threads of the jar clean.  Tightly cap each jar and place on counter to cool.  After they have cooled, check the lids to see if they have sealed by pressing in the center, if they are, the center will not give.  If you find one that did not seal, just store it in the refrigerator until you use it.  Place the others in a cool dark place, like the pantry.  They should store for up to one year.  I made six different types tonight.  Bell, Chili, Habanero, Tobasco, Jalapeno, and a blend of all five.  If you would like to try one , check out the offerings page.