Beginners and seasoned preservers will find amusing, creative and mouth-watering preserves in Preservation Society Home Preserves (Robert Rose Inc., 2015) by Camilla Wynne. A combination of classic ideas and surprise twists in Wynne’s recipes make them both easy to follow and delightfully unique, from jams, jellies and marmalades to syrups, marinades, chutneys and conserves. The following recipe is from “Chutneys, Relishes and Savory Jams.”
You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Preservation Society Home Preserves.I love pepper jelly, a Southern staple frequently paired with cream cheese and crackers, but I’d never made it myself. Every time I saw a jar, I’d buy or trade for it, but every recipe I’d ever seen used pectin. My gustatory feelings about pectin aside, I’m just not very good at using it — often I can’t get the right set, even when I follow instructions to a tee. (Maybe pectin is punishing me?) Finally, though, a client asked whether I could make some pepper jam, so I started experimenting with natural pectin boosters. First, I threw in a few apples, and then I saw a very old recipe in a vintage Time Life preserving book that used quartered lemons. Bingo! The result isn’t quite the same as the pepper jellies you might know — it’s a little looser, a little chunkier — but it’s absolutely incredible with cream cheese and crackers. And biscuits, too!
• 2 lemons, quartered
• 1.2 pounds apples (3 to 4 medium), finely chopped
• 12 ounces red bell peppers (2 medium), finely chopped
• 12 ounces jalapeño peppers (about 12 medium), seeded and finely chopped
• 1 tsp kosher or pickling salt
• 3 cups granulated sugar
• 3 cups cider vinegar
1. Prepare the jars and lids.
2. In a large pot, combine the lemons, apples, red peppers, jalapeños, salt, sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
3. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often and reducing the heat as necessary, until thick.
4. Remove from heat and fish out the lemons, which will now just be soft pieces of peel; discard lemons.
5. Ladle jam into the hot jars to within 1⁄4 inch of the rim. Remove any air bubbles and wipe rims. Place the lids on the jars and screw the bands on until fingertip-tight.
6. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
• I find it easiest to use a food processor to chop the apples, red peppers and jalapeños — just make sure not to chop them too finely!
• I highly recommend you wear plastic gloves to handle the jalapeños; otherwise, you’ll be sorry.
More recipes from Preservation Society Home Preserves:
Courtesy of Preservation Society Home Preserves by Camilla Wynne, 2015 © Robert Rose Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold, or from our store: Preservation Society Home Preserves.