I grew up in the little town of Knob Noster, Missouri, population 2,400. A few miles from Knob Noster (no really, that's what it's called) was the town of Windsor, which had established Amish and Mennonite communities. Several Amish stores popped up around the state tempting those with their delicious home made jams, jellies and soup mixes.. This was my first encounter with pepper jelly.
I've tasted pepper jellies that were more like candy in their sweetness but with little to no spicy heat and others with a hint of spicy. I prefer pepper jellies that bite back ;). So I was delighted when I saw that Pham Fatale's Habanero jelly recipe called for 15 habanero peppers! I've adjusted her recipe to suit my taste and I advise you to do the same. If you prefer a medium to hot jelly, then use 6 habaneros. If you like it extra, extra hot, then follow the original recipe and use all 15 peppers.
Pineapple Habanero Pepper Jelly
adapted from Pham Fatale
makes 6, 8 oz. jars
2 cups pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 jalapeño peppers
6 Habanero peppers
5 1/2 cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 (3 fluid ounce) pouches liquid pectin
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
Rinse the pepper and remove the stems. Half the peppers and remove the seeds. (I left the seeds on both jalapenos and 2 habaneros for a hotter jelly). Place peppers in a blender with the apple cider vinegar and pulse until peppers are minced.
Pour the pepper-vinegar mixture in a saucepan. Add sugar, pineapple juice, and salt. Stir well until dissolved. Dissolve the red food coloring in 1 teaspoon of water and add it to the mixture. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to make sure the ingredients don't stick to the bottom.
Add the liquid pectin Bring to a boil again, then lower the heat to medium-low and cook for an additional 2 minutes until thickened and syrupy.
Canning the jelly:
Clean 6, 8 ounce jelly jars, lids and bands in very hot soapy water. Boil a large pot of water take it off the heat and place the jars and lids in the hot water for 10 minutes. Be sure to read the instructions that come with your jelly jars. They'll give you exact time and techniques.
Remove the jars from the water and fill with the hot jelly, leaving about ¼-inch of head space. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean, damp cloth. Carefully place the lids on the jars. Tighten the band around each jar. Bring your large pot of water back to a boil and place all the sealed jars in it for 10 minutes.
Remove the jars from the water. Do not place the hot jars on cold surfaces such as tile. If the top of the lid still pops, the vacuum didn't form and you'll need to consume the jam in the next couple of weeks, storing it in the refrigerator. Otherwise you can safely store it in your pantry for up to a year.
Allow to sit at least for a week before opening the jars.