Harvest peppers from your garden and make a batch of this sweet & spicy pepper jelly recipe to give as homemade Christmas gifts.
What if you could get some of your Christmas shopping and gift giving out of the way now?
Pin this pepper jelly recipe, then pencil in a little time in the kitchen to make it this week, and come hustle-bustle holiday time, you won’t have to worry about making homemade gifts for your teachers, neighbors and friends.
Now is really the perfect time to make preserved holiday food gifts, like this easy sweet and spicy pepper jelly recipe. If you planted a garden, I bet you have lots of peppers to spare. And even if you didn’t, you can easily find peppers at the farmer’s market or local produce stands.
But the biggest reason to make your food gifts now is so you’ll have time to do it. How many times have had the good intentions to make homemade gifts for Christmas only to run out time?
Spare a part of an afternoon now, and you can relax come December. And you really don’t need much time at all. This pepper jelly recipe shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.
My mom has been making and gifting sweet pepper jelly for years, and she finally showed me how to make it. It really is easy, I promise.
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First, you’re going to want to prepare your jars. You’ll need six 1/2-pint jars.
You can boil them, but I find it easiest to run them through the dishwasher on the hot setting. Then, when the cycle is over, dry them and let them drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
You’ll need to sterilize your jar lids and rings, too, by boiling them in a pan of water.
Next, you’re going to want to chop up some peppers. (The recipe at the end of the post has precise measurements.) If you don’t like spicy, just stick with all sweet, but I do think it looks pretty if you choose different colored peppers.
When handling hot peppers I recommend wearing gloves to protect your hands and eyes.
Next, you’re going to grind up your peppers in a food processor. You may also want to wear a mask for this step to avoid pepper spraying yourself. My mom warned me about this, but I have a high tolerance for spicy food, so I didn’t mask and glove up. Boy, did I regret it. My hands burned for hours, and I had a full-out coughing fit.
You need a lot of sugar and vinegar for this recipe.
Not counting chopping time, it takes less than 15 minutes to cook up a batch of homemade pepper jelly.
Once the jelly has set for a few minutes, you can pour it into jars and seal them. After a few minutes, the jars will start popping, and you’ll know they’re sealed and safe to store in your cupboard until Christmas.
Print out a label for the jar lids, then add cute tags and personalized ribbon, and you have a dozen tasty, thoughtful gifts to share.
If I haven’t convinced you to make a batch of pepper jelly by convincing you that it will save you valuable time (and money) during the holidays, let me appeal to your sense of taste.
This stuff is delicious. Spoon a little pepper jelly over cream cheese, and you have an instant appetizer.
Bake up wontons in a muffin tin and fill them with a mixture of cream cheese and pepper jelly to make a simple, but delicious wonton pepper jelly appetizer. (You can also add and chopped shrimp to the wonton cups to make a version of shrimp rangoons.)
And pepper jelly makes any vegetable taste better. I love it mixed with green beans, limas, corn, and it’s also fabulous over chicken and pork.
I’m thinking you better make a double batch or your pepper jelly will be all gone by Christmas. (Actually, I recommend that you make two separate batches rather than a double batch. Otherwise, the pepper jelly could boil over and make a mess on your stovetop.
- ¼ cup chopped hot peppers
- 1½ cups chopped sweet peppers
- 6½ cups sugar
- 1½ cups vinegar
- 1 3-ounce pack liquid pectin
- Grind the peppers in the food processor. You may want to wear a mask to avoid breathing in fumes.
- Combine ground peppers, vinegar and sugar and bring to a brisk boil. Boil for 3 minutes.
- Add pectin and boil for an additional minute.
- Remove from heat and set for 5 minutes.
- Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal.
Recipe adapted from Southern Living.