Make hot pepper jelly from jalapenos and crabapples and make cowboy candy fruit leather from the leftovers. Zero-waste never tasted this good.
- 18 cups of crab apples (6 pounds)
- 8 cups of water
- 16 medium-size jalapeño peppers (1 to 1 ½ pounds)
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 4 1/2 cups of organic sugar
- Wash the crab apples. Sort them for any imperfections or bruises. Remove the stem and blossom ends and cut them in half. This extra step helps them cook down faster. Cut out any bruises or bad spots.
- Add water and apples to an 8-quart pot. Simmer on low heat until the crabapples are soft. About 30 minutes.
- Wearing disposable gloves*, chop the hot peppers. Cut off the stem end of the hot pepper. No need to core, and seed them. Slice the peppers into rounds. Add them to the pot, including seeds. The seeds have their own heat.
- Put the prepared hot peppers in the pot with the crab apples. Simmer until the peppers are soft, about 30 minutes. Don’t hold your face directly over the steam. It can be irritating to your lungs.
- While the peppers and apples are cooking, mash them with a potato masher to release as much juice as possible.
- Wet a cloth or jelly bag and wring out excess moisture. Line a colander with the wet cloth or use a jelly funnel. (I use a gauze diaper, purchased specifically for kitchen use.)
- Pour the cooked and mashed crabapples, and peppers through the cloth, catching the juice in a clean bowl.
- Tie up and suspend the cloth over the bowl to catch the drips. Leave it at least 4 hours or overnight. Don’t squeeze the cloth or your jelly will be cloudy.
- Reserve the pulp for Spicy Fruit Leather (aka Cowboy Candy).
- After the waiting period, add at least 6 cups of the strained juice to a large saucepan.
- Add vinegar and sugar to the saucepan. Bring the juice, vinegar, and sugar to a full rolling boil. Boil for 15 to 18 minutes until the liquid passes the gel test.
- Remove from the heat. Skim off any foam.
- Bottling: Pour into 7 — 250 ml/ 1 cup jelly jars. Cap with sterilized lids and rings. Tighten rings until finger tight.
At this point, you can store the jars in the refrigerator and give the jelly as gifts or eat it. It will safely last in cold storage for up to one month. Alternatively, use the water bath canning method below to have shelf stable jelly.
Water Bath Canning Hot Pepper Jelly
After you have bottled the jars. continue to process them in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from the jars from the water and allow them to cool on a tea towel for a few hours or overnight. The jelly will solidify while the jars cool. Sometimes it takes a few days for the jelly to become more solid, so don’t despair. It will still have the excellent taste you are looking for until it thickens. Rest assured, if it passed the gel test in step 10, it will gel when it is cool.
Properly canned jalapeno jelly will last in the pantry for 1 to 2 years.
Keywords: jalapeno jelly, hot pepper jelly with crabapples, pectin free jelly