If you read this blog, you know that, for me, a big part of growing up is learning to accept – nay, enjoy – the foods that I hated all my life. I chalk many of my food aversions to up bad pizza. I can’t tell you how many sleepovers, after-soccer pizza parties and trips to the zoo included pizza topped with horrible bell peppers, olives, mushrooms and old sausage. How would younger me know that these things can be splendid, when treated properly?
Older me is here with you today, eating a delicious balsamic red pepper jelly dripping over a soft smear of brie on a cracker.
As you may know, one of my favorite things is a sweet or savory jelly over brie, goat cheese or cream cheese. What a lovely snack that makes! This jelly is special because A) I made it myself! B) it’s so rich and almost smoky tasting, from the balsamic vinegar and the toasted peppers. I recently went to Lowe’s for more Ball jars, so I can make more of this and gift away for Christmas.
Adapted from my Ball book of home preserving.
Balsamic Red Pepper Jelly
Ingredients (makes four 4-ounce jars):
- 5 medium red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded
- 3 medium jalapenos, stemmed and seeded
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
- 3 T balsamic vinegar
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1 package powdered fruit pectin (I used 1-2 T, which wasn’t a hard jelly)
- 3 1/4 c. sugar
Finely dice 1/2 c. red peppers and set aside. In a food processor, puree remaining peppers and garlic until smooth. Transfer to damp cheesecloth set over bowl and let drip, 30 min. (you can speed this up by pushing the juice through with a spatula, and by adding up to 1 c. hot water to the puree to help it drip). You’ll want 1 1/2 cups of pepper juice.
Meanwhile, prepare your jars and lids (boil jars and lids to sanitize); keep large pot simmering for processing.
Transfer pepper juice to large stainless steel saucepan. Add reserved peppers, vinegars and lemon juice. Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once and return to full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard, always stirring, 1 min. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam.
Quickly pour hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space from the top. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar, screw on ring to finger-tip tightness.
Place jars in canner, covered in water, and boil 10 min, with canner (pot) lid on. Remove lid, boil another 5 min., then remove jars and cool until they seal.
Here’s mine on the left, along with some of my hot pickled okra and chow-chow.
I recommend serving with a salted cracker, or just sprinkling some coarse salt over it to make the flavors pop.
The bits of diced red peppers look like little rubies. Fantastic. Enjoy, friends! xoxo