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HABAÑERO

PEPPER JELLY

 

Wear thick rubber gloves

to handle these fun-to-grow scorchers,

and make a fiery hot jam to give as gifts!

 

1½ C. apple cider vinegar

6½ C. granulated sugar

1 C. shredded carrot

½ C. minced red bell pepper (into tiny cubes)

15 habañero peppers, seeded, cut up,

and run through a food processor 'til very fine

Two 3-oz. pouches liquid pectin

 

Note: this will take about an hour.

You will need quality rubber gloves, a grater/shredder, a food processor, rubber spatula, cutting board and knife (with adult supervision),large pan, large and small measuring cups, a big spoon, a ladle, and 6 glass jelly jars with rings and lids

 

 

            See below for further important instructions to protect your skin from being burned by this hot pepper - starting with wearing gloves and even then trying to let the knife and other tools touch the peppers instead of your gloved hand -- but here's how to make it:

 

Stir vinegar and sugar in a large pan over medium-high heat. Stir in carrot and red bell pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.

 

Add the habañeros, scraping them from the food processor container into the pan with a rubber scraper. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes.

 

Pour in the pectin. Increase heat to medium-high and stir. Bring it to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

 

With a big spoon, skim off any foam and throw it away.

 

Pour into jelly jars, leaving a half-inch at the top. Then either can, or let cool, put lid on, and refrigerate for up to a month. You also can freeze this jelly

 

Now for background:

 

Arrrrrriba! Habañero peppers are the hottest peppers of all, according to many gardeners. The plant is easy to grow and takes up only about three square feet. Water the plant's base every two or three days all summer long for best results. One plant should yield about 50 of these beautiful, orange peppers. They may not mature until September and you can often be harvesting them right up until the first frost. The little orange peppers make the plant look like a mini pumpkin tree.

 

            When your habañeros have turned from green to bright orange or red, harvest them with scissors or clippers, cutting each pepper off with about an inch of stem attached. If you rip the stem off, the extremely hot juice may get on your skin, and that would NOT be good.

 

            Habañeros are safe to handle as long as the stem is still on, so gently wash them with cold, running water to get all dirt off. Then put on one or two layers of rubber gloves to protect your hands while preparing the habañeros. It's a good idea to let your knife and other kitchen tools make contact with these hot peppers, and let your gloved fingers touch them as little as possible. The juice is powerful enough to seep through gloves, so work quickly. Remember to rinse the gloves later, and rinse off every place that your hands touched, because that juice is extremely hot. Cut off the stem and throw it straight into the garbage or compost. Then cut the habañero in half. With the tip of the knife, scrape the seeds and white pulp away and immediately discard. Then chop into four or five pieces to get it ready for the food processor.

 

            Ingredient note: pectin, the substance that makes this mixture jell, is usually sold in the canning department of most grocery and hardware stores. You can buy jelly jars there, too. If you are canning this jam, process for 6 minutes. Otherwise, just pour the jam into the jars, let cool, put the lid on, screw on the ring, and refrigerate. Makes a great gift with a label on the jar and a ribbon around the lid. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

 

            Serving suggestion: blob some cream cheese on your favorite kind of cracker (Triscuit?) and then blob some of this ridiculously hot and tasty pepper on top of the cream cheese. Makes a great appetizer or tailgate party treat.

 

-- www.KidsGardenClub.org

 

*****

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