End of season harvests can be a little unpredictable. Some years it seems the garden quietly slows down on its own, while other years, it keeps on roaring right until the end. A lot of rain and a “second August” have put this year’s garden firmly in the second category, at least where the peppers are concerned – and especially where the hot peppers are concerned.
I searched through dozens and dozens of recipes, looking for one that would be remarkable in both appearance and flavor. I wanted a recipe that would use a variety of peppers, and I especially wanted to incorporate the latest harvest of habaneros, as they have a wonderful fruity, almost floral quality that seemed perfect for a jelly, but would also pack enough heat to cut through the sweetness.
I knew I had found the right place to start when I found a recipe that also called for dried apricots. Everything about this recipe perfectly captured my desire to bottle up this late summer – early fall perfection and preserve it.
There was just one small problem: the recipe only made a few jars of jelly.
Small batches of jams and jellies are great when you have smaller quantities of fruit, or just want to try out a new recipe before fully stocking the pantry with it, but sometimes a large batch is exactly what you need to conquer a particularity abundant harvest, or make enough to gift to family and friends. And so it came to be that last Saturday, I made two, back to back quadruple batches of pepper jelly.
That is a lot of fine dicing, but oh so worth it in the end!
I would also highly recommend finely dicing the apricots instead of slicing them. The size of the apricot slivers was fine when they were going into the pan, but after a few hours of soaking, the pieces seemed a little too large given the fine treatment given the peppers and onions and the size (and length) caused a lot of the pieces to clump together a bit once the pectin was added. I remedied this with the second batch and was much happier with the results. If you do decide to go with larger pieces of dried fruit, I would recommend increasing the soaking time to allow them to soften a bit more.
The final result is pretty amazing. The jelly is sweet, savory, spicy, and a little tangy – and I love how it looks in the jars (it looks pretty sitting on the counter in normal indoor light, but hold it up in bright sunlight, and wow!). This one is a keeper – and if the handful of green habaneros that I just can’t bring myself to pluck from the plant yet make it – one that I will even be making one more time this year.
Note to Mother Nature: I’ll take this kind of end to the garden season any time.
[double, triple, or quadruple quantities for a larger batch]
1/3 cups finely diced dried apricots
3/4 cups apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup very finely diced red sweet pepper
1/4 cup very finely diced red onion
1/8 cup very finely diced habanero pepper
1/8 cup very finely diced green chili peppers (jalapeno, serrano, etc. or a mixture)
3 cups sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin
Combine finely diced apricots and vinegar in a large pot, cover, and allow apricots to soak for at least 4 hours.
Carefully (i.e. wear gloves when handling the habaneros and other hot peppers) remove seeds from peppers and dice very finely, along with the onion and set aside.
After apricots have had time to soak, add sugar, stirring until fully incorporated (mixture will be thick, but will quickly become more liquid). Fold in peppers and onion and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil over high heat. When mixture reaches a rapid boil (cannot be stirred down), add the liquid pectin and return to a boil for exactly 1 minute.
Remove from heat, skim off foam, and fill sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
Yield: 3-4 half pints per batch
Recipe adapted from Bernardin Home Canning
- These pages are dedicated to all things home gardening. From planning a garden to preserving the harvest, you'll find practical and creative ideas to satisfy your sense of garden adventure!
- tomatoes recipes seed starting peppers preservation seasons Grow It Forward 12 Weeks of Garden Inspiration rhubarb photo post raspberries heirloom garden planning garden projects garden plans yard projects broccoli lettuce Photo of the Day seeds radishes herbs Salsa Week strawberries beans onions tomatillo spring recipe seed saving canning seed community garden transplanting A Seed Starting Diary planting fall varieties cucumber winter pumpkin garlic scallions guest post basil soil Garden Planning 101 spinach dry beans kale red romaine beets Minnesota Locavore kohlrabi Garden Photography 101 garden harvest totals squash asparagus beneficial insects pickling mint vertical gardening variegated tomato Three Sisters garden flowers indoor gardening zucchini organic gardening gardening with kids house projects seedling care potting up seed starting containers seed starting mix fall garden pollinators jelly horseradish watermelon Good Garden Reads resources frost Opalka garden pests Black Hungarian giveaways corn apples carrots snow dividing rhubarb plant markers sage horseradish root patty pan squash jam Grow It Forwards brussels sprouts shallots brassicas cabbage seed starting timeline disease pests starter pots Building Better Soil soil blocker soil blocks peat coir compost reader question cucurbits herb rue Measuring Up tomato zinnia pruning wildlife-friendly garden wrens overwintering parsnips botanical gardens vacation San Francisco seedlings rainbow chard parsnip ground cherry lemon olive grapes organic mojito paste tomatoes Federle Big Mama San Marzano onion mulch quinoa garden organizataion garden inspiration Amish Paste garden clean up Red Romaine Lettuce social media garden beds Holiday Gift Guide birthday Anna Russian Tomato sunflowers litchi tomato garden musings tomato blight amaranth printable seed packet Extending the Season yellow pear love container gardening Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds oregano John Denver winter sowing trellising salsa litchi tomatoes watering Year in Review peas mesclun rapsberries squirrels peanuts pepper