Hunka Burnin' Love Hot Pepper Jelly

Our family’s burning love for hot peppers (all pun intended) is well documented. Like many natives of the South, I grew up with peppers, lots of them. The hot, muggy climate seems to make for the perfect growing conditions for a wide variety of capsaicin-laden peppers.

Sweet, tart, and spicy, hot pepper jelly is nearly irresistible to those of us raised in the South.  Most frequently ladled over goat cheese or cream cheese, this jelly adds a serious kick to a simple grilled cheese sandwich and makes a great glaze for chicken wings, pork loin or even grilled quail.

You can use whichever kinds of peppers you wish (or that are plentiful.) For this batch, I used a combination of poblano, cayenne, cow horn and a few mild cherry peppers ranging from 1,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville Scale which is the measurement of the spiciness of chili peppers or other spicy foods containing capsaicin. While the cayenne peppers have a robust flavor, they are very fiery.

Not a fan of the heat?  It is fine to use mild, sweet peppers.  I would, however, recommend using peppers that are all the same color (red or green) else you will end up with a murky-brown jelly that will not look very appealing.

  • 2-2 ½ cups peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 (3-ounce) envelope of liquid pectin

Be sure to wear latex gloves when working with hot peppers. If you want your jelly hotter, include a few seeds. Pulse the chopped peppers in a food processor (and seeds if desired) in food processor until finely minced, 12 to 15 pulses, scraping down bowl every 5-6 pulses.

Combine peppers, sugar, and vinegar in large saucepan and bring to vigorous boil over medium-high heat. Stir the mixture to ensure that the sugar is completely dissolved. Keep a close eye on the pot so it doesn't boil over.  Having made this mistake, I can tell you the mess is epic.

Add the liquid pectin and return to vigorous boil, stirring constantly, for about 10 to 15 minutes until the temperature registers 221 degrees F on a candy thermometer.  Using large spoon, skim any foam from top of jelly.

Ladle the jelly into sterilized jars with tight-fitting lids. Let the jars cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate. Let jelly set in refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. Jelly can be refrigerated for at least 2 months. The jar can also be processed in a hot water bath for longer term storage.

This jelly will be a wonderful condiment addition to your Thanksgiving table; in fact I plan to mix some in with my homemade cranberry sauce this year. Come to think of it, this would be a wonderful hostess gift for the upcoming holiday season!