Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Memories of Jalapeno Jelly November 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — austinurbangardens @ 10:14 am
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Since my obsession with making preserves started,  I’ve tried to make things with a bit of of a modern spin, using herbs, liquors and interesting flavors to elevate my preserves.  I have resisted making jelly, and avoided any recipe calling for pectin, other than naturally occurring pectin.

Jalapeno Jelly has been around for a long time.  I remember it as 1970″s  or 1980’s holiday party food, green or red with food coloring and served over a log of Philadelphia Cream Cheese with Triscuits.  It felt kind of fancy back then.

Now, I mostly think of it as a Texas Souvenier food, found at airports and gift shops next to the Armadillo Droppings  (chocolate covered pecans) or Texas Cavier (black eyed pea relish,) more novelty than real food item.

One of my current long term projects required cheesecloth, of which I had none, and so running errands with my mom the other day, we pulled into a hardware/gift store to procure some.  As I was perusing the kitchen items, she was in the gift section, where the food gifts reside.  I emerged with my cheesecloth to find her holding a jar of jalapeno jelly.   (If you are new to this blog, my mom suffers from a memory robbing illness.)  She declared “Look at this Jalapeno Jelly! I’ve never heard of such a thing, but it sounds delicious!”  The twinge of sadness I felt, knowing that she has always loved jalapeno jelly, was tempered by a thought that perhaps some latent food memory had emerged.  I immediatly said “Let’s make Jalapeno Jelly!”  I had a bowl full of peppers left over from my weekend of pickling, and I order organic sugar in bulk, so I knew we would only need pectin, which we stopped for on the way home.

I found a recipe for Easy Jalapeno Jelly in the Ball Book, and so our project began, with me on the working side of the kitchen island, and Mom seated on her perch on the other side, cookbook before her.

I had green and red peppers, hoping to bring some holiday color to the recipe, and I seeded the mostly deveined them, then chopped them in the food processer.

Red and Green Jalapenos
Next, they were cooked in sugar and Apple Cider Vinegar.

Cooking it Down

There was not much cooking involved, mostly just to dissolve the sugar.  Once the pectin went in, everything went pretty fast.
I refused to add the optional food coloring, hoping the peppers would retain some of their red and green hues.  Since I use unbleached, organic cane sugar, I think the amber color masked some of the red and green, but I’m ok with that.
We did a taste test the following day, and I have to say, it is pretty good – sweet, hot and tart.  


Jalapeno Jelly

Perhaps we will put some out at Thanksgiving, with some Full Quiver Neufchatel, and Dr. Kracker, for a more modern spin.  Or, maybe we will just keep that food memory alive, with Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Triscuits, for my mom.

6 Responses to “Memories of Jalapeno Jelly”

  1. Carla Jean Says:

    Sweet Post Carla.
    ~The other Carla 🙂

  2. What a wonderful idea. I’m thinking of making some for Christmas gifts.

  3. Joy Says:

    You handled the situation with your mom in such a dignified way. My mom suffered from Alzheimer’s for many years until her release 4 years ago. My dad said if he had to do it over again he would have done many things differently such as accept what is happening and try to tie something in the present to fading memories. And, to be more patient. May you and your mom have a memorable holiday season.

  4. Debra Brooks Says:

    Don.t you just love it! I had so many peppers I couldn’t keep up. I took them to my office, gave them to my neighbors, pickled them, and I still sent many to the composter. I lost my mother to alzhemier’ last yr. She loved the fact that I was growing food and flowers.

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