This sweet and spicy Kentucky gem comes from my Nana! Hot Pepper Jelly is a family favorite that was served for every Derby Party at our house. No, you don’t have to make a big huge batch like she did. This small batch will make about 3 half pint jars
I was given the family canning cookbook. There’s recipes in there for pickles, canning fruits and vegetables, and, of course, jams and jellies. A good chunk of these recipes are from my mother’s side, but there’s a few from Nana and her kin. Consequently, this is where the Hot Pepper Jelly recipe comes from; my Southern side of the family. Or kin, as Dad calls them. LOL
This little recipe of deliciousness has essentially been a favorite snack, appetizer, and party treat ever since I can remember. Yes, I say appetizer and party treat. We’ve served it as both in my family. It’s always brought to the table with any Kentucky Derby part we throw.
*WARNING* I would not suggest making a batch of this in a small apartment like ours unless you enjoy the aroma of cider vinegar permeating the air for about a day. I didn’t think of that when I decided to whip up a batch. It’s been a few years and I couldn’t resist the urge to make some for this #SundaySupper, but the vinegar smell was overwhelming in our small apartment. And since S isn’t a fan of vinegar, it wasn’t a pleasant experience for him.
This recipe takes me WAY WAY back to when I first tried to make Nana’s recipe. It wasn’t a success, let me tell you. It didn’t set up the way I remembered Nana’s in the jar. Not to mention I had difficulty finding the liquid pectin she referred to in the recipes. I still have difficulty finding the liquid pectin, so I’ve created one that you can easily use with the powdered fruit pectin commonly sold in most grocery stores.
Being the resourceful person I was at the ripe age of “teenager” I simply opened all the jars, put them back in the pot, reheated the mixture to a rolling boil, and added yet another package of the liquid pectin. Voila! Perfectly jelled after that. So, if yours doesn’t set up, that’s all it takes. Don’t give up. Don’t scratch the batch. Reheat, re-jell and enjoy!
However, it’s almost a requirement to serve this tasty treat over cream cheese and butter crackers. My personal favorite are Ritz crackers. Who doesn’t love their buttery tastiness? But any cracker of choice will do. Because of this, I’ve served them on water crackers, too. The cool creaminess of the cream cheese pairs nicely with the sweet, sour and spicy of the jelly. The crackers are just the added salt and crunch to bring all the flavors together full circle. Trust me when I say you will love this make it a new personal favorite.
Since there’s just the two of us, I didn’t want to create a large batch I knew we wouldn’t eat. Not that it would go bad, I mean, the jars seal, but I didn’t want to move lots of jars when we buy a house. So, this is a small batch that will make about 3 half pint jars. Perfect for us!! If you want a larger batch, double it! It would be perfect for a Christmas food gift. The colors are spot on for that holiday; red or green. I don’t put added food dye in there, but you can if you’d like to really enhance the color.
Also, you can use any type of peppers you want. If you want it spicier, throw some hatch or habanero on there. If you want it less spicy, use more bell peppers. Just so long as the total pulp matches the recipe, you’re golden! You can adjust the color with the peppers you use, too. You can, therefore, make it orange with habanero and some orange or yellow peppers. Next you can make it red with ghost peppers and red bell pepper. If you want something interesting try some heirloom purple jalapenos and purple bell peppers. Finally, try some white habaneros and white peppers. Honestly, the possibilities are almost endless with the colors and flavors of peppers that are available now.
I hope you pick the perfect combination for your family and make a batch of this uniquely tasty Hot Pepper Jelly. I know you’re love it! Make sure to see what the rest of the crew have preserved from their summer produce.
- 3 cups pepper blend, minced in a food processor (jalapeno, bell, habanero, serano, etc).
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1.75 ounces no sugar needed fruit pectin (I used Sure Jell.)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups sugar substitute
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 4 pint jars with rims and lids, sterilized and prepared for canning
- Combine the peppers and cider vinegar in a large, non-reactive stock pot. It is better to err on the side of larger rather than smaller as the mixture will boil over quickly if the pot is too small.
- Combine 1/4 cup sugar with the package of fruit pectin and stir into the pepper mixture with a whisk. Bring to a full, rolling boil (a boil that does not go away after stirred) on high heat. Boil hard for 1 minute.
- Stir in the remaining sugar and sugar substitute along with the butter or margarine. Boil hard an additional minute. Remove from heat.
- Skim off any foam and pour into the prepared jars using a funnel. Wipe with rims with a damp paper towel and place the lids and rims on top. Do not over tighten which could prevent the seal from forming.
- Invert the jars 10 minutes, then turn them right side up and cool completely. If the jars do not seal, place them in a water bath until they seal.
- Serve with cream cheese and crackers.
Derby Day Recipes
- Chocolate Bourbon Balls by Simple and Savory
- Crab Salad with Lemon Dill Vinaigrette by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Hot Pepper Jelly by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches by Jolene’s Recipe Journal
- Kentucky Hot Brown Pizza by Cookaholic Wife
- Maple Bourbon Sour by Family Around the Table