When anyone asks how I’m doing with the self isolation these days, my come back is that I’m putting the 19 in COVID-19. Pounds that is!
I have literally eaten more carbs in one month than I’ve eaten all year. Mainly due to my husband being under stress with his medical job, and me noticing that he wasn’t eating as much. And, since I’m around him, I have quarantined myself from my health compromised parents, family, and others.
I asked my husband for dinner suggestions he’d like to eat, and he answered with lasagna, beef stroganoff , tofu pho and the like. Done. He eats a bowl, I eat the rest as he isn’t a fan of leftovers!
With all that said, exhausted from my quarantine cooking last week, this week I got real creative (wink-wink), and pulled out the southern staples: my hot pepper jelly, original Jamaican pickapeppa sauce, and a block of real Philadelphia cream cheese.
I placed two 1/4 blocks of the cheese on my pretty antique dishes and topped one with the jelly and the other with the sauce, served it with his favorite crackers, and it was gone in a flash.
Sometimes you just need that throwback comfort food that you grew up with. Even if it is so simple. I’ll always have cream cheese, pickapeppea sauce, and pepper jelly in my fridge!
Pandemic Pepper Jelly
2 cups finely chopped by hand red bell peppers
1 1/4 cups finely chopped by hand green bell peppers
3/4 cup finely chopped by hand jalapeno peppers (leave seeds if you want more heat)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 (1.75 ounce) package (not liquid) powdered pectin like Sure-Jell (option: 1 packet for looser consistency, 2 for thicker)
5 cups white sugar
Optional: 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
Note: chopping in the food processor creates more liquid which you are trying to avoid
Tip: If you want more heat in your jelly, cut back on the red peppers (1/2 cup) and add hot peppers like habanero, chili, serrano, etc. Just make sure you have a total of 4 cups of chopped peppers. You’ll have to adjust to your own taste.
Some cooks like to add a drop of red food coloring to the mixture. I like the natural colors and seeing the peppers and seeds floating in the jelly.
And, if you get stuck: Here are the pros at Ball! Look under the heading of Canning.
With jelly you can’t wing it like other recipes. Following the directions is key to the success.
Drain excess water from chopped peppers in cheese cloth
Sterilize 6 (8 ounce) canning jars and lids according to manufacturer’s instructions. Heat water in a hot water canner.
Place red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and jalapeno peppers in a large saucepan over high heat. Mix in vinegar and fruit pectin. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a full rolling boil before adding the sugar. Quickly stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil, and boil exactly 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and skim off any foam.
Quickly ladle jelly into sterile jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the tops. Cover with flat lids, and screw on bands tightly.
Place jars in rack, and slowly lower jars into canner. Do not turn the jars. The water should cover the jars completely, and should be hot but not boiling. Bring water to a boil, and process for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool. Refrigerate.
Serve over cream cheese and with your favorite crackers. My family likes Triscuits and Wheat Thins. I’m GF so I go that route.
Great on biscuits with country ham
On baked Brie
On top of Avocado Toast
The jelly makes a great hostess gift and Christmas gift to neighbors.