We gave hot pepper preserves our first shot over the weekend and things went swimmingly. Not as hot as I wanted it to turn out, but we will manage. It does have a bite though, just a bit subtle, like, "hmmm, this apple cranberry jelly is good, did you add pepper to it?" subtle. It's an odd effect, because it has that capsaicin warmth but it does not go very far, like it usually does when having salsa, or pickled jalapeños. The recipe we used was a natural pectin recipe, which explains the apples and cranberries, the source of pectin for this procedure.
We used this recipe here, but there is an Eric'ized version with visual goodness care of my new hot little black box after the jump.
Cube 4 lbs of granny apples, cores and all (for the pectin). Slice and seed several jalapeños and serano peppers. Throw this stuff into a stock pot with 1 cup of cranberries, 3 cups water, and 3 cups white vinegar. Now proceed to cook the HELL out of it, boiling hard and stirring for 20 minutes. After boiling you mash is up with a potato masher until it looks like dog vomit. With the pepper and vinegar, it may also smell slightly like the aforementioned canine gift. OK, that last part was a lie, but the smell is overpowering.
After mashing, strain the juice. We lined a collander with 4 layers of cheesecloth and it took a couple of hours to get the juice, but it had very nice clarity after such a long strain.
Take the juice and add 7/8 cup of sugar for every cup of juice and put this in a pot. Heat and stir constantly to bring to a boil. Don't leave it alone at this point because it may scorch on the bottom. That is bad, and stinky. You want to give it 10-15 minutes of boiling.
Check to see if it will set. Do this by taking a previously freezer chilled plate and drop a couple of drops of the syrup on the plate. If after a minute or so the stuff is gelling when you prod at it with your finger, you are good to go. If it doesn't set, cook more water off the mix, or do like we did, and break the rules and add some extra pectin so you can wrap up the project before midnight and go to bed. Needless to say with the natural and added pectin our jelly set up very nicely.
Next time we plan on using a lot more peppers to really get the heat up. I like the apple and cranberry addition to the flavor, but it is almost too much over the pepper flavor to really call it a full blown hot pepper jelly. We are also planning on using some different recipes that use good ol'fashioned Certo which should let us get the pepper taste MUCH stronger if we aren't having to use apples and cranberries as a base.