Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sweet and Spicy

I have conquered the pepper peach jelly! And it only took four years.

Even we experienced jelly-makers have our Everests; for me that's been pepper peach jelly. If it weren't so delicious I'd have given up years ago because I am not a patient woman. (I can hear you all laughing, so cut it out.) When it comes to good food I am perseverance personified.

I found the original recipe on Recipezaar, and while the ingredients were a tasty combo, the amounts just weren't right. I'd have to reprocess once, sometimes twice, to get the jelly to the right consistency. Sometimes it would take up to two weeks to jell. Each year I'd try a different set of proportions, and this year I am happy to share with you the accurate measurements for an excellent set. And such a pretty color.

Pepper Peach Jelly

3 lbs peaches
4 red jalapeno or habanero peppers
1/4 cup lemon juice
5 cups sugar
1 box Ball powdered pectin

1. cut peaches into rough chunks and discard pits
2. slice jalapenos in half (taste the peppers to make sure they're hot enough; heat is subjective so please yourself here, but I opt for hotter as better)
3. add peaches and peppers to 1.5 cups water in a large saucepan
4. bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, mashing occasionally
5. strain through jelly bag to produce 3 cups juice; add water if necessary
6. pour juice into jelly pan with lemon juice
7. add powdered pectin (I use Ball instead of Sure Jell because it calls for less sugar. Also, for some reason I do not understand, the powdered works better than the liquid in this recipe.)
8. bring to a full rolling boil that can't be stirred down
9. add sugar, whisking thoroughly into the juice
10. return to a full roiling boil (that can't be stirred down) and boil for one minute (one minute!), while stirring contantly
11. remove from heat and skim foam
12. pour into jars (this makes approximately 6-7 eight ounce jars)
13. seal and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes
14. it takes a few hours to jell, so go out and weed the garden to take your mind off whether it's going to work or not
15. try this on top of cheese toast or baked Brie and silently thank me for saving you four years of disappointment and frustration

This has been a make-room-in-the-refrigerator-and-freezer weekend. As an experiment, I dehydrated some potatoes, since storing the large quantity that comes in from the CSA is always a challenge. Has anyone out there ever dried their own potatoes? I'd be happy for any tips.

Also, I'm heading for Portland, OR on Thursday for a Garden Writers' conference. Any suggestions on restaurants or good foraging in the area would be greatly appreciated. Perhaps even rewarded with a jar of pepper-peach jelly...


At September 14, 2008 at 11:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent! Glad the peach-pepper jelly mystery is solved and conquered.

At September 15, 2008 at 12:02 PM , Blogger SaraGardens said...

It's absolutely beautiful, and I'm sure it's delicious - YUM.


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