Jamming: Red Pepper Honey Jam

This year many of the peppers have already turned a brilliant red.
Peppers do very well in our Kansas garden. Unfazed by summer's heat, they soldier on week after week while other garden plants bite the dust and finish their shorter seasons. As fall arrives, peppers are in their prime. Branches bend under the weight of ripening peppers and sometimes break. The culmination of an optimistic spring when a few too many small plants were tucked into the ground is fulfilled with a bountiful and beautiful harvest. What to do with them all? I roast a few (click here for more information on that). I make salsa, both fresh and canned (more about another time). And this year, I am making Red Pepper Honey Jam.

The combination of Anaheim, Poblano and Jalapeño peppers makes a tasty jam.
Sparkling jars of brilliant red are lovely to behold, but it's the taste--sweet and tangy while packing a bit of heat--that make this jam simply outstanding.
This jam is best made using a combination of mild and hot peppers. We have Anaheim, Poblano and Jalapeño peppers. My favorites are the Anaheim, but the Poblano are real beauties with their glossy color. Both Anaheim or Poblano tend to be fairly mild. This year it doesn't seem like the Jalapeño peppers are very hot either. I think that most peppers tend to get sweeter as they ripen to a brilliant red. Bell peppers would also work well in this recipe. No peppers in your garden? Farmers' Markets are no doubt full of peppers of all kinds this time of year. I would also point out that you could use peppers that are green or another color, but obviously it wouldn't be Red Pepper Honey Jam.

Nothing does red quite like a pepper (Jalapeno, Anaheim and Poblano).
This is not a difficult recipe and definitely worth a try even if you don't have a lot of experience making jam or canning. A total of five cups of finely chopped seeded peppers are needed to make this jam. That's usually a little more than 2 1/2 pounds of peppers. Most likely you would want less than half of that to be hot peppers. The original recipe recommended just one half cup. When I made this recipe I just gathered what I had and ended up with about 1/3 of the total being jalapeño peppers. That worked very well, but a few more or less would have also been very good.  Hot peppers must be treated with respect. Even my mild Jalapeños evidently pack a punch. Go ahead and wear your plastic gloves when you stem, slice and seed these peppers unless you're sure they don't affect you. And please don't touch your eyes before taking those gloves off or washing your hands thoroughly. This is a mistake you only make once because the consequences can be quite severe. (A certain young lady who blissfully came to my home to learn the joys of making this jam and left considerably less blissful can testify to that! This is how we know that the antidote to pepper juice in the eye is milk in the eye.) Don't be afraid of hot peppers, but do respect them. 

Sterilize 6 half pint jars and lids according to standard canning procedures.

Finely chop a little bit more than 2 1/2 pounds of stemmed, sliced and seeded assorted red peppers. For me the best way to do this is with my little used food processor. Measure 5 cups of Finely Chopped Red Peppers.

Sugar, honey, apple cider vinegar and pectin are added to the peppers. 
In a large saucepan place chopped peppers and 1 1/4 cups Apple Cider Vinegar. Gradually mix in 3 tablespoons of Real Fruit Pectin (low sugar is recommended, but I used regular). 

Over high heat, bring mixture to a boil while stirring constantly. If your stove has an exhaust fan, turn it on.  

A full rolling boil can't be stirred down.
When mixture is at full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, add 1 cup of Honey and 2 cups of Sugar. Continue to stir constantly and bring again to a full rolling boil. Boil for 3 minutes.

Ladle hot jam into sterilized jars, cover with lids and screw on bands. Process in a water bath canner according to standard canning procedures for 10 minutes. Remove from canner. 

I am thinking I am going to really enjoy having Red Pepper Jam on hand. It will make a tasty gift at Christmas. It makes a quick and yummy appetizer when poured over cream cheese and served with crackers. Other ideas include as a condiment on sandwiches or perhaps as an accompaniment with poultry or ham. Also it might be a great addition to a sweet and sour sauce. Can you think of any more ways to enjoy Red Pepper Honey Jam? Let me know in the comments below.
Summer's bounty can be enjoyed all year long.

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