Pepper Jelly

Pepper Jelly

As rosy orange as sunset in a jar, sweet-spicy pepper
jelly on a tray with crackers and cream cheese is a
quintessential part of any proper Southern dinner party.

Origins
Though the exact origins of pepper jelly are unclear, it is presumed to have been invented by early settlers to Southern USA to preserve the chillies that grew there. Different regions have different styles – Texas pepper jelly usually contains jalapeƱos, for example, while St Augustine in North Florida uses unique datil chillies brought by Chilean immigrants. Most use sweet red bell peppers (capsicums) as the base, though green pepper jelly is not uncommon.

MAKES 6 JARS

You’ll need
2 red capsicums, seeded and
finely chopped
2 green capsicums, seeded
and finely chopped
10 jalapeƱo chillies, seeded
and finely chopped
1 cup (250mL) cider vinegar
1 packet (6g) fruit pectin
1kg (2lb) sugar

Cooking Method
1 Place the capsicum and chillies in a large saucepan and add the vinegar.
2 Stir in the pectin.
3 Bring the mixture to the boil over a high heat.
4 Stir in the sugar and return to the boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
5 Remove from the heat and skim away any foam with a slotted spoon.
6 Ladle into pre-sterilised glass jars or other heatproof containers.
7 The jelly will last for 2–3 weeks if stored in the refrigerator.

Tasting notes
The classic way to taste red pepper jelly is as an appetiser, served with crackers and cream cheese. The sweet heat of the jelly is a perfect contrast to the cool, unctuous cheese. Subbing goat’s cheese for cream cheese is a slightly more sophisticated take on the concept, bringing an element of tanginess to the party. Pepper jelly also makes an excellent glaze for meats, turning ham, chicken wings or shrimp into instant sweet-spicy delights. The bold may even enjoy slightly softened pepper jelly over vanilla ice cream, the potent, vinegary kick of the jelly cutting through the richness of the ice cream.

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