Hot Pepper Jelly. Plus (Surprise) Syrup. Oops.

My first jelly.  Hooray!  And (for better or worse) another example of how an “oops” can become a win.  I set out to make Hot Pepper Jelly and (eventually) ended up with a delicious jelly AND a tasty syrup.   

How I made my first jelly (hot pepper). And fixed it when it didn't gel. And turned it in to a delicious hot pepper jelly cream cheese appetizer.

Hot Pepper Jelly

This all began with the Food in Jars online Mastery Challenge.  Every month challenge participants make a new kind of preserve—January was marmalade and February salt-curing. Hot Pepper Jelly was my March pick.  

My inspiration for this was the classic cream cheese and hot pepper jelly appetizer, served at a recent party. Creamy, sweet and spicy, I kept going back for more!  

Hot Pepper Jelly & Cream Cheese Appetizer

I started out on the internet looking for a recipe that was lower in sugar and ended up at The View from Great Island.  I had all the ingredients including a jar of a different low/no sugar pectin than she used.  But I figured since it was a low sugar recipe it would be okay.

Famous last words.   

Turns out that Sure-Jell and Ball low/no-sugar pectins need to have ingredients added in a different order (see Chickens in the Road for more detail.)  Who would have thought? 

And so, after cooking, and water bath canning, my jelly remained a syrup.  Though the flavor was outstanding. 

But all was not lost…  

How I made my first jelly (hot pepper). And fixed it when it didn't gel. And turned it in to a delicious hot pepper jelly cream cheese appetizer.

Hot Pepper Jelly

 How I remade the jelly that didn’t set

My youngest (always a ray of sunshine) wandered by as I stood, dismayed, by the jars and suggested we use the syrup on egg rolls or crab Rangoon (which we did—yum!).  But I still wanted my jelly.

So, I left two jars as syrup and decided to try reprocessing the rest.  Based partly on Food in Jars instructions for fixing jam and partly on general reading, I took a couple tablespoons of Meyer lemon juice (to add pectin) and another tablespoon of powdered pectin, opened the syrupy rejects and boiled it all together until thickened.  Used the freezer test to check (drop a bit of jelly on a small plate that’s been in the freezer awhile and see if it thickens) that it really was working.

How I made my first jelly (hot pepper). And fixed it when it didn't gel. And turned it in to a delicious hot pepper jelly cream cheese appetizer.

Hot Pepper Jelly & Cream Cheese Appetizer

After reprocessing in a boiling water bath and letting cool I did indeed have jelly.  And I made my own pepper jelly cream cheese spread for my next dinner party (an 8 ounce package of lite cream cheese, topped with a 4 ounce jar of hot pepper jelly)!

And the moral of the story is… Pectin is not pectin is not pectin.  So, always read the instructions on your specific brand and adjust your recipe accordingly.   

I should caution that (I hear) re-processing a fruit based jelly or jam can sometimes result in an overly cooked flavor.  I consider myself lucky to have made the mistake on a hot pepper jelly!  

For more information on learning how to can, see the Food in Jars or Ball websites.    

How I made my first jelly (hot pepper). And fixed it when it didn't gel. And turned it in to a delicious hot pepper jelly cream cheese appetizer.

Hot Pepper Jelly

Hot Pepper Jelly
Yields 64
How I made my first jelly (hot pepper). And fixed it when it didn't gel. And turned it in to a delicious hot pepper jelly cream cheese appetizer. Yes!
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43 calories
11 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
25 g
2 g
10 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
25g
Yields
64
Amount Per Serving
Calories 43
Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 2mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 11g
4%
Dietary Fiber 0g
1%
Sugars 10g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
4%
Vitamin C
15%
Calcium
0%
Iron
0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. • 8 jalapeno peppers or 4 thai hot peppers (or combination—I used 4 jalapenos and 2 thai)
  2. • 12 oz assorted colorful bell peppers (weighed after trimming)
  3. • 2 cups white or cider vinegar (not homemade, which won’t have a standardized acidity level)
  4. • 3 cups sugar
  5. • 1 box (1.75 oz) no/low sugar needed pectin
Instructions
  1. Wash the hot peppers and trim the stem end off, but do not de-seed. Process in a food processor until finely minced or chop very finely wearing kitchen gloves. (Hot pepper oils can sting, so avoid touching to skin or mucus membranes; fumes can also be irritating to breathe.) Add chopped peppers to a large saucepan.
  2. Wash bell peppers, removing ribs, stem and seeds. Process in batches in a food processor until finely minced. Add the bell peppers to the saucepan and top with the vinegar.
  3. Read the directions on your low or no sugar pectin and add sugar and pectin in the order specified by that brand. Currently for low/no sugar sure-jell: add the sugar to the pot and stir to combine. Bring the pot up to a full rolling boil (so it stays boiling if you stir), and then add the pectin. Boil, stirring, for one more minute. For Ball low/no sugar: add the pectin to the pot and stir to combine. Bring the pot up to a full rolling boil (so it stays boiling if you stir), and then add the sugar. Boil, stirring, for one more minute. And because the formulations are subject to change, always double check your package instructions.
  4. Ladle the hot liquid into clean jars, cap, and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes (see note) according to standard canning practices. Alternatively let cool, cap and refrigerate, and use up within a week or so.
Notes
  1. Makes about 4 cups.
  2. This assumes that you are already familiar with basic canning techniques. See the earlier links for more information
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calories
43
fat
0g
protein
0g
carbs
11g
more
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13 thoughts on “Hot Pepper Jelly. Plus (Surprise) Syrup. Oops.

  1. cheri

    Hi Inger, your story sounds similar to mine I made a white wine lavender jelly, which in the end we loved, I also made a grape jelly which I tried to over-correct and it turned out like plastic.

    Love the color of your pepper jelly, gorgeous. I learned that jelly making is hard;)

    take care, Cheri

    1. Inger

      You know now that you mention lavender, I did make a jelly before–violet from the lawn violets. That one worked perfectly–must have been beginners luck. I’ll have to get on over to your blog to read about your adventure! White wine lavender sounds like heaven!

  2. grace

    i LOVE hot pepper jelly and am so glad you were able to save some of it! i’ll also say that a hot pepper syrup sounds pretty darn tasty too. 🙂

  3. Juliana

    I love hot pepper jelly and have used in various way…and I am loving the idea of the jelly on cream cheese…
    I hope you are having a wonderful week Inger 🙂

    1. Inger

      If you get a chance, I’d love to hear how else you use it Juliana. I am thinking this may be a regular winter canning recipe!

  4. Pingback: Easy Baked Crab Rangoon - Art of Natural Living

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