If you’re a fan of jalapeños and you want to try your hand at canning, my mom’s sweet and spicy jalapeño pepper jelly is a great one for you to try. It’s our favorite way to preserve the bounty of jalapeños that my mom has in her garden at the end of the summer.
Canning is an economical, eco-friendly and therapeutic (once you get the hang of it) pastime that’s coming back. My grandma used to can just about everything she grew in her garden. My mom used to help her can, and now she’s passing down the tradition to me.
I never post a recipe on my blog that doesn’t bring health benefits. This jelly is a unique treat that allows you to enjoy a taste of your summer garden throughout the winter, as well as a way to include healthy jalapeño peppers in your diet. Capsaicin, the naturally occurring chemical in chili peppers that makes them hot, offers several benefits. It can help provide relief for headaches and congestion, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, help the body burn fat and fight inflammation.
This recipe is a good one for those who are new to canning and it requires just a half pound of jalapeños (or a pound to double the recipe.)
A Canning Intro to Get You Started
This intro guide from Ball is really helpful because it shows a list of recommended supplies and brief step-by-step canning instructions for beginners.
You can find supplies like Ball jars and water bath canners just about anywhere like Target, Bed Bath and Beyond or even amazon.com.
We choose Pomona’s Universal Pectin when we make jam and jelly because it’s natural, sugar-free and preservative-free. This jalapeño jelly recipe has less sugar than other recipes since we use Pomona’s Pectin. It’s activated by calcium and doesn’t actually require any sugar in the recipe to jell. Alternative sweeteners such as honey or agave can be used. Each box makes two to four recipes. It can be found on Amazon.
Organic Jalapeño Pepper Jelly
Recipe makes three to four 8 oz jars of jelly, but my mom doubled it to make six jars.
- 1/2 pound organic jalapeno peppers
- 1 1/3 cup cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin
- 2 teaspoons calcium water – packet comes with Pomona’s pectin
- 2 1/3 cups organic unrefined and unbleached whole cane sugar or 1 1/2 cups organic honey
- Four 8 oz jelly jars with rings
- Tattler BPA-free lids
- Water bath canner with rack
- Food processor
- Mixing bowls
- 1 small saucepan for heating the lids
- 1 large dutch oven pot for cooking the jelly
- Kitchen thermometer
- Jar lifter
- Towels/pot holders
- Spoons, knives etc.
- Large ladle
- Wash and rinse the jars in warm water, then scald them in boiling water in the water bath canner. Keep in hot water until ready to use. Bring lids and rings to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce heat and keep at 180 degrees until ready to use.
- Prepare calcium water. Add 1/2 teaspoon calcium powder to 1/2 cup water in a small clear jar with lid. Store in refrigerator between uses – can be kept for up to 2 months.
- Prepare sugar/pectin mixture. In a medium bowl, add 1 1/2 teaspoons pectin powder and 1/3 cup sugar, thoroughly mix and set aside.
- Wash 1/2 pound of jalapeno peppers. Remove stems and seeds – be sure to wear gloves while doing this! I didn’t wear gloves the first time I helped my mom make this jelly and I was soaking my hands in sour cream and yogurt for days to soothe the burn.
- Puree peppers with 1/3 cup of cider vinegar in a food processor. You should have about 1 cup of this pureed mixture.
- Add remaining 1 cup of cider vinegar to the pureed mixture. Pour the mixture into a large dutch oven pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add 2 teaspoons of the calcium water that you prepared earlier and mix well. Bring back to a boil.
- Add your prepared pectin/sugar mixture, stir and make sure it is completely dissolved. Then add 2 more cups of sugar – stirring vigorously for 1-2 minutes while cooking to dissolve. Return to a boil and then remove from heat.
- Remove jars from water bath canner using your jar lifter and set them on a towel, as close to the pot of cooked jelly as possible. Fill jars using a ladle and funnel, making sure to leave 1/4″ space from the top of the jars. (Cooked jelly will seem very runny, but will jell as it cools in the jars.) Wipe rims completely clean with a damp washcloth. Attach the lids and rims to the jars. Be sure to follow instructions that came with your Tattler lids. Place jars in hot water bath using your jar lifter and boil for 10 minutes. Remove jars from water and let cool on a towel. Check seals! Jelly in jars with lids that failed to seal should be refrigerated and eaten right away.
- Completely cooled jars with lids that sealed properly can be kept in a cool, dark place for up to six months. Opened jars must be refrigerated and can be kept for up to 3 weeks after opening.
Please note that since this jelly is 100% natural, it will not be bright green. The green color you may see in jalapeño jelly at the store is usually from synthetic food dyes.
Also note that Pomona’s pectin is 100% pure citrus pectin and jells thoroughly when completely cool. It doesn’t contain any artificial preservatives that some commercial pectins do.
We provided basic canning instructions in this recipe that was adapted from Pomona’s Universal Pectin. For more details and a list of recommended supplies to help get you started, please see the intro guide from Ball.