Pepper Jelly

In the South, you’ll find this delicious jelly served at nearly every family reunion, usually spread on top of cream cheese and served with crackers. If you like a spicier flavor, use all of the jalapeno seeds. The jelly’s also wonderful on grilled cheese sandwiches and open-faced turkey melts.



  • 6 half-pint canning jars
  • 4 pounds tart apples including cores, cut into small pieces
  • 6 jalapeños halved lengthwise (keep all of the seeds for hot jelly; use half for milder flavor)
  • 1 red bell pepper cored and cut into thin strips
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 31 ⁄2 cups sugar


  1. Prepare your boiling-water-bath canning equipment, and have your jars sterilized and hot.
  2. In a large pot over high heat, bring the apple, jalapeños, bell pepper, water, and vinegar to a boil. Immediately
  3. reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, for about 20 minutes, or until the apples and peppers are soft.
  4. Use a potato masher or ricer to mash mixture until it’s the consistency of baby applesauce. Place a mesh or cheesecloth-lined sieve set over a large bowl and carefully pour in mashed apple mixture; allow liquid to strain for at least 2 hours. Don’t force things: Let gravity pull the juices out for the best results.
  5. Measure the juice (you should have 4 cups) and pour it into a large heavy pot fitted with a candy thermometer. Add sugar and stir well. Heat over medium-high heat to bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook at a low boil, stirring regularly, for 10 to 15 minutes. Skim off and discard any foam. When jelly reaches 220°F on candy thermometer (make sure it’s not touching the pot), carefully ladle or pour the hot jelly into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1⁄4 inch of headspace. Gently tap the jars to remove air bubbles. Wipe rim of each jar carefully with a clean towel to ensure a good seal, and carefully place lids and rims on jars.
  6. Follow your boiling-water-bath canning process and process for 10 minutes.