Discover the perfect recipe for adding a fiery kick to your holiday celebrations. Get ready to impress your guests with this unique and flavorful condiment that pairs perfectly with cheese, crackers, and so much more!
Get ready to add a fiery and tangy twist to your holiday festivities with this cranberry hot pepper jelly. This zesty recipe will awaken your taste buds and amp up your holiday appetizer game. This southern classic recipe with a twist will have you and your guests raving. So, get ready to ramp up your holiday menu with this easy to make cranberry hot pepper jelly. Its simple preparation and delectable flavors will delight you and your holiday guests. So, say goodbye to bland and boring and hello to a whole new level of flavor!
Where does hot pepper jelly come from?
The exact beginning of hot pepper jelly is a bit hazy. Some believe it emerged in the early 20th century when canning and preserving became popular. Others claim that a chef in Lake Jackson, Texas invented this jelly. Finally, there’s the school of thought that early international trade between explorers lead to the creation of this delicious recipe.
Regardless of how it came to be, hot pepper jelly truly found its stride in the South. The combination of heat and sweetness is highly revered in southern cuisine. Over the years, hot pepper jelly has become an integral part of Southern food traditions. It’s topped everything from biscuits and cornbread to cheese boards and even glazed hams. In fact, some claim that no Southern holiday gathering is complete without the presence of hot pepper jelly. I would have to agree with them.
Eventually, hot pepper jelly started gaining popularity beyond the Southern regions. It started making its way into kitchens across the country. Its unique blend of flavors and easy recipe with common ingredients made it a favorite among home cooks and professional chefs alike. Today, you can find hot pepper jelly not only in artisanal shops and farmers markets but also on the shelves of your local grocery store.
Hot pepper jelly not only tastes delicious but is also very versatile. People use it to add a spicy kick to both savory and sweet dishes. Its bright color adds a festive touch to any table. It makes a simply delicious appetizer with just some cream cheese and crackers. This jelly makes a killer glaze for not just ham but also duck! There’s one chicken chain that has pepper jelly dipping sauce. It makes a delicious dipping sauce for chicken or spring rolls.
How do you make cranberry hot pepper jelly?
I cannot stress how simple this jelly is to make. For those that don’t make jelly, there’s only one special ingredient you can get at any grocery store. And that’s pectin. Other than that, the process of making homemade hot pepper jelly is surprisingly simple and with very few ingredients. There are cranberries, jalapenos, bell peppers, cider vinegar, sugar, and pectin. That’s it!
I wanted little jars to make this jelly. I usually only keep quart jars around for various uses, but I wanted little jars so I wouldn’t have to open a large jar and either stash it in the fridge for a while or wind up eating the whole jar myself. So, I went to Good Will and found a bunch of little jars with no lids. Thankfully, I had lids. But they’re usually easy to find at Walmart or your local grocery store.
I start by prepping the jars. I ran them through the dishwasher to make sure they were super duper clean. Then I heated up some water in the microwave until it started to boil. That’s about 5 minutes for my microwave. Then I dropped the rings and lids in the water and let them chill while I prepared the jelly.
I used fresh cranberries. Yes, they have natural pectin, but peppers have a lot of moisture in them. So, I erred on the side of caution and added in the pectin. The first time I made hot pepper jelly without the cranberries, it didn’t set up. Set up means it didn’t gel right. I had to cook it again, add more pectin, and it finally set up. This is why I would rather add the pectin than have to recook a jelly again.
I finely diced all the peppers. There’s only one jalapeno in this recipe, but feel free to add more if you want more heat. Or change it and try a serrano, habanero, ghost pepper, or that new one that’s hotter than a ghost pepper. I don’t want all that heat because I like to taste my food.
When you chop the peppers make sure there are no seeds in there. I was very thorough about removing them all from the peppers and the cutting board before I chopped my peppers. Some say to wear gloves when handling jalapenos. If your skin is sensitive you might want to do that. Mine isn’t. But I do make sure to wash my hands thoroughly before touching anything else.
Put the cranberries and peppers in a large, non-reactive pot. You don’t want the vinegar to do anything to your pot so make sure it’s a stainless steel or similar pan. Yes, you can use a non-stick pan, but I like to see the color of the jelly as I’m cooking it. Stir in the vinegar and let the cranberries and peppers simmer for 10 minutes.
Yes, I know this recipe says jelly, but technically it’s not. It’s just what I’ve always called it. I mean, what Nana always called. It. A jelly is just the juice of a fruit or vegetable. This is more a jam if you want to be technical. Not many people now know the difference between jelly, jam, preserve, marmalade, or butter. So, I’m calling this jelly.
After the cranberries have popped open and the peppers are nice and soft, stir in the sugar. Yes. 4 cups of sugar. You could try the low sugar method, but you might need additional pectin. I’m not a huge sweets fan, but I love the sweet tart flavor in this jelly. So, I used all 4 cups and loved every bite!
Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. That’s a boil that does not slow down when stirred. When it reaches a full rolling boil that’s when you stir in the pectin. I used a whisk to make sure it completely dissolved evenly throughout the pepper mixture. Bring it back to a full rolling boil and boil hard for at least 1 minute but I usually do 2 minutes. Then you remove the mixture from the heat.
Carefully ladle the hot pepper jelly into the sterilized jars. I have a funnel specifically for filling jars with jams and jellies. It’s come in handy many times. I use it for this, and I also use it to pour a homemade spice mix into the jar, too. Sometimes I get a little messy and drip in the rim of the jar. So I keep a wet paper towel handy to wipe the rims. If you don’t, it could make a mess like it did to me!
Nana taught me to screw on the lid and flip the jar upside down. However, when I did this one of the jars looked like it exploded! Either it had a mess rim and didn’t seal, or I didn’t screw the lid on tight enough. Either way, I had a sticky mess all over the cutting board.
Turning the jars upside down for 5 to 10 minutes allows the rubber in the top to get hot and expand. After about 10 minutes you turn the jars over. Doing this will ensure that the lids seal tightly. I always thought it was to make sure the fruit or whatever was in the jam didn’t just sink to the bottom.
What does cranberry hot pepper jelly taste like?
The first bite has the vibrant sweetness of cranberries shining through. Their tart flavor plays off the cider vinegar and sugar in this hot pepper jelly. Mine wasn’t too hot. It’s hit or miss with the jalapenos. But I’m okay with it not being super hot. However, the heat of the peppers does complement the sugar and the sweetness of the cranberries.
And this really does look like jelly. There aren’t many lumps in this recipe at all. It’s smooth, delicious, and perfectly pourable over a brick of cream cheese. That’s how we always eat this delicious hot pepper jelly; poured over cream cheese with Ritz crackers. Always Ritz. Because they’re my fave.
With the creative flavors of this cranberry hot pepper jelly, you can elevate your holiday festivities. Your guests will be impressed by the unique and delicious flavor combinations in this easy to make jelly recipe. So, get in the kitchen and whip up a batch! If you find some small jars are your local thrift store you can double the batch and give some as gifts!
Get ready to spice up your holiday gatherings with this delectable Cranberry Hot Pepper Jelly. It will have your guests talking and become a must-have on your holiday menu.
- 2 cups cranberries
- 1 cup bell peppers
- 1/4 cup jalapeno peppers
- 1 cup vinegar
- 4 cups sugar
- 7 ounces Sure-Jell
- Start by prepping the jars. Either run them through the dish washer or sterilize them in a pot of boiling water. Place the rings and lids in a bowl of boiling water and let sit until the jelly is ready to pour into jars.
- Finely dice the jalapenos and bell peppers. Add the peppers with the cranberries and vinegar to a large pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the sugar and bring to a full rolling boil (one that doesn’t go away when you stir it). Add the pectin and stir with a whisk until the pectin dissolves. Bring back to a full rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes.
- Remove the jelly from the heat and ladle into the sterilized jars. Fasten the lids and rims and turn the jars upside down for 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully turn them over and allow them to cool completely.
Amount Per Serving Calories 205Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 1mgCarbohydrates 52gFiber 1gSugar 51gProtein 0g