Growing up in the South, pepper jelly with cream cheese and crackers was definitely a thing – you’d undoubtedly find it somewhere on the table at any holiday party, church picnic, or family reunion. But of course it was loaded with refined sugar and artificial coloring to make it thick and *bright* green so when I found myself with a surplus of peppers this summer I decided to whip up a healthy, honey sweetened alternative to the stuff I knew in my childhood! Not only is it a fun throwback, but canning them was a great way for me to use all the peppers I had without any of them going bad!
I enjoy eating my version of Southern Sweet Pepper Jelly with some almond based cream cheese and paleo-friendly crackers such as Simple Mills.
Southern Sweet Pepper Jelly Recipe
2 ½ cup finely minced poblano peppers* (pulsed/processed in food processor)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup + 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
1 ¼ cup honey
1 ½ tbsp low sugar pectin
1. Wash 3-4 half-pint (8-ounce) glass jars and keep warm until needed (you can do this by wrapping them in a large towel).
2. Wash the lids and rings in soapy water and set aside. Fill a large pot with water, leaving 4-5 inches of space at the top, and bring it to a boil. This will be your canning bath.
3. Combine peppers, garlic, and vinegar in a large stockpot, then gradually stir in the pectin.
4. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a full rolling boil over high heat.
5. Add the honey and bring back to a full boil. Boil hard for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim foam if needed.
6. Ladle the hot jelly into prepared warm jars one at a time leaving, ¼ inch headspace in each jar. Wipe the rim clean, center the lid on the jar and attach the ring, screwing just until fingertip-tight. If you have one, add your canning rack ot the large pot.**
7. Lower your canning rack and process jars into the pot of boiling water for 10 minutes (timing starts after the water comes to a boil after the jars are submerged).
8. After boiling for 10 minutes, remove the jars to a towel-lined surface to cool undisturbed for 24 hours. Remove rings, check seals and label with date before storing.
*If you like a little bit of spice, you can substitute ¼ cup (or more) minced jalapeno peppers for ¼ cup poblano peppers
**If you don’t have a canning rack, no problem! You can line the bottom of your pot with a single flat layer of butter knives. If the knives won’t fit in a flat layer you can fashion a canning rack out of aluminum foil like this. The canning rack is important so the glass jars don’t touch the bottom of the pot and the hot water circulates around the jars evenly.
For more recipes like this one, be sure to check out my Paleo Sweets cookbook available on my website!