Friday, March 19, 2010

Jalapeño Apple Spread

Early on St. Patrick's Day brought canning both apple jelly and apple pepper jelly. The name apple pepper jelly seems to make people think it goes on toast so I've decided that from now on I'll call it Jalapeño Apple Spread. It's hot sweetness is great on a cracker with a tad of cream cheese. I usually use Trader Joe's reduced fat cream cheese, which IMO is just as good as the fully loaded cream cheese.

Here's a picture of a few jars of the Jalapeño Apple Spread and my regular apple jelly that I made. An older post about making jelly is here. It's definitely darker than the last batch I made up. I think that's because the apple juice I used was pretty red so I added more green dye otherwise it would have been purple. Eeeek!

Jalapeño Apple Spread & Apple Jelly

You will need a water canner and canning jars for this. In the summer time Walmart sells these supplies, but this time of year my choices are limited, but I know I can always get what I need at Meijer. Getting into canning probably costs about $60-$70 to get into but the investment will last for years and years. I've seen a canning combo too that includes the pot and tongs and funnel and other accessories which is a good way to get started.

Here's my recipe for Jalapeño Apple Spread:

Prepare the water canner, the jars, and lids following standard canning instructions. Don't forget to get out your funnel, bands, tongs and what not.
  1. 2/3 cups jalapeño, minced (4-5 large jalapeños should do or 6-7 small ones) I use the seeds too.
  2. 2 1/2 cups apple juice. I use my own that I make from the peels when making applesauce, but regular store bought un-sweetened apple juice is fine.
  3. 2 tablespoons vinegar, white is fine
  4. 6 cups of sugar, you can reduce this in half, quarter, or none if you use no-sugar needed pectin (below)
  5. 3/4 cups water
  6. 1/2 teaspoon butter, this keeps the mixture from foaming when cooking and helps get a clear jelly
  7. 1 packet of pectin, I like to add one extra teaspoon of pectin to ensure the jelly sets up but it's not supposed to be needed.
  8. green food coloring, 4 drops should do, but color as you like or skip all together 
  • In a bowl mix the first 4 ingredients and set aside
  • In a 6-8QT pot add water, butter and slowly stir in the pectin.
  • Heat the pectin mixture on the stove to a hard boil that you can't stir away.
  • Add the jalapeño mixture and the food coloring to the pot
  • Bring to a hard boil that won't stir away. Boil for 1 minute once it won't stir away.
  • Strain the liquid into a bowl to remove the jalapeño
  • Optional: I like to stir 1/4-1/3 cups of the strained jalapeño back into the jelly; it gives it a hot look!
  • Ladle into prepared jars, wipe the rim, apply the lid and band
  • Process 10 minutes after the water begins to boil again.
  • Remove from canner and set 2" apart on many layers of newspaper to protect your counter
  • They will seal with a pop very fast!
  • Let sit over night. Remove bands and wipe the jars clean. Label and store in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
Yield= 60 ounces (I used 7 half pint jars and one 4oz jar)

Great on variety crackers with a tad of cream cheese!

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