Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Some Like It Hot

That afternoon, we all had interesting things to share - thoughts, policy arguments, political movements, ideas to change the world and jelly. Jelly? I almost hate to call it jelly - to reduce the sensation, the assault on the taste buds, the cacophony of flavors that we savored to mere "jelly." But that is it was.

After much licking of fingers and pleading, Jenn from Live Green, Wear Black offered to post her recipe for that "jelly" - a symphony of plums and peppers - on her blog.

I had never thought to add heat to my sweet - to drop a front yard jalapeno into a frothy pot of strawberries and sugar. To simmer habaneros and plums. To mix and match. But when Jenn handed me a baguette slathered with her courageous jelly, she gave me that light bulb of an idea. That permission to can outside the box.

This month, as my front yard hot peppers sprinted to a deep, rich red and as I toted home a bag full of a friend's homegrown jalapenos, I've been dabbling in a spicy new world.

Not only have I made Jenn's delicious jelly (make it hotter than you think it should be), but I stirred up some delicious red pepper jam and strawberry pepper jam. I shared Jenn's recipe with a friend who made it and was then inspired to also make blackberry basil jam - which I'm still waiting to taste (ahem).

They say variety is the spice of life.

They also say some like it hot.

I'll admit it. I sure do!


Strawberry Jalapeno Jam

3 3/4 cups of crushed strawberries
1 cup of finely chopped jalapeno peppers
1/4 cup of bottled lemon juice
7 cups of sugar
1 package of pectin powder

Wash, hull and crush strawberries, one layer at a time measuring 3 3/4 cups. Place in a deep saucepan. Add lemon juice and pectin. Stir to combine thoroughly. Bring to a boil and add the sugar. Stir well to dissolve. Bring back up to a boil and boil hard for one minutes.

Remove from heat and ladle into hot sterilized jars, apply lid and bands and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Remove from canner and allow to cool and set for 24 hours


ruchi aka arduous said...

My mouth is watering just remembering Jenn's jam!! Mmmmm, SO GOOD!

jennconspiracy said...

Ruchi, didn't I send you with whole jar of something? :)

Green Bean - don't forget - you can skip the hot water bath if you keep the sterilized jars in a warm oven. I have been cranking it up to 200 -- then you have much less mess and water waste and it's just as sterile.

Blackberry-basil sounds delicious! I am thinking about making fig-rosemary, but the idea of tomato basil jelly that is sweet might be some kind of yum.

Abbie said...

Yum! A friend of mine makes the best appetizer. In a pie pan, spread out cream cheese or fresh farmer cheese, then spread a spicy jelly/jam on top. Serve with crackers. The cool/hot combo with crunchy crackers is the best!

I want it now!!!

Stephanie said...

Isn't it funny how much more creative you get with food when you stop accepting what "they" give you as the standard? Pretty amazing actually.

jennconspiracy said...

peach chipotle.

cherry serrano.

fig ancho.

ruchi aka arduous said...

Long gone, my friend. Long gone.

kale for sale said...

Jenn has started something. The strawberry jalapeno sounds fabulous. It wouldn't last a week in our house. The fig ancho is brilliant. I'm very curious about blackberry basil. Let's us know how it is gb.

Green Bean said...

Ruchi: The strawberry one can seriously compete with Jenn's - hard as it is to believe.

Jenn: Oh wow! Tomato basil jelly. Post if you make it. And yes, I know that I don't need to boil but I'm paranoid and I reuse the water.

Abbie: That sounds amazing. I'll have to make try that sometime.

Stephanie: Super observation. You are so right. Once you stop buying everything processed, you care free to mix, match, explore.

Jenn: All of those sound awesome. Just finished picking the figs from my parents' fig tree two weeks ago so I'll have to wait until next year for that one.

Katrina: Yes, the strawberry pepper disappears pretty quick. No taste yet of the blackberry basil but I'm angling.


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