Jalapeno Jelly

Two things about making Jalapeno jello that I wasn't prepared for:

- how beautiful the jelly would look once in the jars
- how several days after making it the tips of my fingers are still tingling

The tingling part is my own stupidity or perhaps if I were to be gentler on myself I would say it was because of my own 'throw caution to the wind' mentality. You decide. You see, even though I know these beautiful little green suckers are spicy and I have read in countless recipes that when dealing with them in this quantity that wearing gloves is always a great idea...what did I do? Yep, you guessed it - I chopped them all bare handed. I had the music going, the ingredients all lined up and I was in my own little world. Not at all thinking about my fingertips and what the spicy juices were doing to them. Cruel and heartless is what I am.

I saw the recipe in 'Blue Ribbon Preserves' by Linda J Amendt. I have mentioned this book in the past and have made several things from it and they have all been delicious. I won't post the recipe here (because I don't think she would appreciate it all that much), just the results and some key things to keep in mind should you decide to go out and buy her book and try making this yourself. She says this jelly earned her the Best of Show at the Montana Fair...so it must be worth making.

I was in the canning frame of mind and was undecided about what to make. Should I go tried and true and make spicy green beans or break out and try something new. Something new won out and before you know it I was at the grocery store buying up almost all of their jalapenos. :)

The recipe calls for 1 2/3 cups seeded, stemmed and finely chopped Jalapeno peppers and she approximates this to be 35 of them. Well taking her at her word, I bought 35 and found that I had enough peppers to more than double the recipe with a few left over in case I want to make salsa. Perhaps my jalapenos were larger than what grows in her neck of the woods...who knows. Just something for you to keep in mind.

Take her at her word when she says if you want a nice clear jelly to strain it through 2-3 coffee filters. It takes a little time but the final result is a crystal clear looking jelly. Food colouring was listed as optional and I went for it. Green - as you can see from the photos. Without it I think the colour would have been flat and not nearly as lovely to look at.

This morning, I cracked open one of the jars and spread it on a cracker with a little white cheddar. The end result is delicious. Not spicy in the least, but it has a soft subtle flavour that is not too sweet. She recommends serving it with cream cheese and I can only imagine how quickly it would be gobbled up served like that.