Prep 30 mins
Cook 10 mins
Hot & delicious. This is hotter than the usual pepper jelly, so if you're not into really hot stuff, decrease the amount of habaneros to 3 (sometimes I've even used 7 habaneros for my husband who likes extra-hot, but I would not recommend this on your first batch). Serve over cream cheese and spread on crackers, use in a brie en croute, or serve with roasted meats. I like it on turkey sandwiches :) A note on pectin amount: I use one 3 ounce packet of Certo liquid pectin, which results in a nice soft jelly - it is set, but if you shake the jar the jelly will wiggle a little. If you want a really firm jelly, like the kind you would buy in a store, use two 3 ounce packets of Certo. Some people like a really loose, almost pourable jelly to use over cream cheese, brie, or to use as a thick dipping sauce - if this is what you're after, use just half a 3 ounce packet of Certo. Wear gloves when working w/ hot peppers. Make sure you use a very large pot when making this - the mixture will expand to more than twice its original volume when it gets boiling. "Cooking time" includes processing time.
- Put habaneros, bell pepper, & garlic in a food processor and process until they are finely minced - be careful not to turn it into mush.
- Put the minced vegetables into a large pot and add the sugar, vinegar, and lime juice. Mix well, and bring to a boil, stirring often.
- Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, keeping any eye on the mixture to make sure it does not boil over the top of the pan.
- Remove from heat and stir in food coloring (if using) and butter.
- Add the pectin and stir briskly with a whisk for 3 minutes - this helps to evenly distribute the bits of pepper and garlic throughout the jelly.
- Ladle the jelly into sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with damp paper towels to remove any jelly which got on the rims or the threads. Place the lids and the bands on the jars, just tightening the bands fingertip tight.
- Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes, then remove and let sit, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours before checking seals. It is important to let them sit undisturbed for 12 hours because the sealing compound on the lids is still cooling and hardening, completing the seal. While the jars cool, you will hear a "plink" type sound from each jar - this is the jars completing the vacuum seal as the final air escapes the jar. After 12 hours have passed, remove the bands and check the lids - press down in the center of the lid. If you cannot push the lid down any further, the jar is sealed. If the lid "gives" a bit, and you can push it down, the jar did not seal. You can either put the band back on the jar, and reprocess it for another 5 minutes, or you can just put it in the fridge and use it within 3 months.
I made this jelly the other night, and I love it. I de-seeded the peppers to make sure it wasn't too spicy (not for myself, but for everyone else i was sharing it with) and it became the perfect level of hot. It's got a sweet pepper and garlic taste to it, without much spice at all until after it has been swallowed. Then it leaves a nice burn in the throat, but nothing unbearable. I added some oregano to it, which i think helped with the taste. This was extremely simple to make and I would definitely do it again. It goes great on bagels and toast. I even put it on a sandwich with cheese, basil, pepperoncini peppers, and a tiny bit of champagne dill mustard and it was delicious. I want to try making it again some time with a little less pectin to make it more or a dip. I could imagine it being great to dip chips and pretzels in.