My CSA has been sending a ridiculous number of hot peppers, which, oddly, I don't typically use in everyday cooking. I reach for the end product of hot peppers when making breakfast, lunch, and dinner - the dried peppers and chiles, hot sauces, hot oils, etc. I will apparently have the ability to make a lot of my own "end products" as each of the recipes I have investigated uses only a few ounces of chiles.
The reason I had not tackled this particular recipe, as enticing as it is, before now was strictly due to intimidation. It calls for making apple pectin and seemed like loads of additional work. Surprise! Not really so much!
|4 lbs of Granny Smith apples cut into eighths, 4 ounces of chiles and one bell pepper roughly chopped, 3 cups of water, 3 cups of white vinegar, a sliced lemon, and some of the papery skin of a few red onions.|
|The onion skins are for color. You can also use a cup of plums or cranberries for the same purpose without substantially changing the flavor of the resulting jelly|
Drain the mixture into a fine mesh strainer (or a jelly bag), a big one unless you want a mess, set into a large bowl, and let it drip. You can stir it now and then just to get things moving but if you have made jelly, you know not to mess with it too much or you will make your jelly cloudy. If you didn't know that already, now you do!
|This fits nicely, with enough of a lip to grab later without burning or pinching my fingers, and plenty of room in the bowl for the liquid to drain out. It defeats the purpose if you have it sit in the liquid|
At the end of 30 minutes, you should have about 4 cups of liquid. If you are short, add some water to the strainer mixture and give it a gentle, non-cloud-inducing stir to make up the difference.
During the wait, you can set up your jelly/water-bath canning process: sterilized hot jars, small plate in the freezer with spoons, and lids being warmed for later sealing. Also, wash out that big pot! You are about to use it again and don't want bits and pieces in it (clouds, always the clouds).
Pour the juice back into the pan along with 3/4 cup of sugar per cup of liquid (telling you this for future reference in case you make a small batch of something using apple pectin), in this case, about 3 cups of sugar. Bring it to a boil and stir to keep from burning until either a candy thermometer reads about 220F or you do the jelly test with your freezer plate and spoon. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
The jelly test -
Version 1: you put small amount amount of jelly on the cold plate. Let it rest for 30 seconds and tilt or nudge. If it runs down the plate, keep boiling.
Version 2: you dip your cold spoon into the boiling jelly and raise it up about 12 inches, turning it sideways. If the syrup flows down to form 2 drops that become a sheet and hang off the side of the spoon, it is done.
Once your jelly is done, spoon it into the hot jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Clean the edges with a damp paper towel or cotton cloth, place a flat lid on each jar, and finger-tighten each ring. Process the jars in the canner for 5 minutes, timing after the water begins to boil fully, then remove to the counter. As much as you want to play with them, don't disturb for 12 hours. Make sure you hear that beautiful ping as each jar seals.
|As always, the recipe says you get 4 half-pints. I get 3 and a 1/2 half-pints, tiny jar not pictures as it was being eaten. ::ahem::|
|Krissoff is quiet on what to do wtih all that boiled apple, chile, and pepper mess. This was my thought|
|I ended up with about double this - a tangy, spicy, apple-y puree now in the freezer while I ponder its use. I have ideas!|