Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Homemade pepper jelly:
Eat some now, give some later

Last week I had the worst week at work: Layoffs and furloughs have left many of us stressed, overworked, and at serious risk for burn out. And to top it off I have had what I thought was a head cold for nearly three weeks running. I've since decided it's allergies, but living with constantly stuffed and achy sinuses has left me feeling pretty under the weather.

Thank goodness I found an activity that addressed both problems: Pepper jelly. I'll explain. I find few things as relaxing as canning. It's sort of like cooking in that it's a creative outlet, but canning really addresses the squirrel in me: Especially during this time of year, I like to stock up tasty things to take me through the winter. And the hot water bath works as a nice sinus steamer, while the pungent odor of the peppers blasts through, giving me a whiff of something for the first time in weeks.

Much credit goes to my blog and real-life friend Trevor for this inspiration. I mailed him some fig jam; he mailed me some of this grandmother's recipe of pepper jelly. Over the weekend, he made fig jam, and I made pepper jelly. He made his as part of a holiday gift-making collective; I'll take some of mine to sell at Sophie's school holiday art fair.

My produce market had a wonderful collection of peppers. Although the recipe calls for red peppers, I couldn't help throw in a few yellows as well.

Seeding the jalepenos keeps this jelly from being too hot. It's just perfect for my white-girl taste buds.

I chopped all peppers coarsely and then ran them through the food processor.

Perhaps what I love most about this recipe is what it does not include: green food coloring. You can go ahead and dump this over a brick of cream cheese if you must, but it does not need a lurid green hue. I prefer Trevor's recommendation of crostini and goat cheese. It's a great addition to any cheese and cracker or bread combination.


Anonymous said...

Oh I am jealous of you having time to can. I am a graduate student and full-time worker. My free time is spent sleeping! I should make myself try pepper jam. I always refused it growing up. Jam = sugary. Pepper = not sugary. It didn't seem to mesh.

Purple Flowers said...

Hi Cindy - You've been mentioned on my blog today.

Kate said...

You may sneeze at the cream cheese, but I LOVE me some pepper jelly with cream cheese and wheat thins. I draw the line at dumping the jelly over the cream cheese, however.

Trevor said...

I was wondering why I was getting email on this post and now I see! Hi Kate! When my grandmother served this she always dumped over the cream cheese. She'd make a green batch and a red batch and dump each over half the same brick. Very colorful and holiday but it got a bit ugly towards the end of the plate. But then, the fact that it did showed how much everyone just loved it. I'm making more tonight.

Laura [What I Like] said...

Oh I'm with you on the canning! My only problem is that I really want to engage in the activity in cold weather but all of the bounty comes when it's hot!

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

I love canning too! Don't laugh, but I stick my face over the steam, convincrd its just as good as a salon facial. I look like a fool but that's a given most of the time anyway.