A few weeks ago in the midst of our jam making, “The Hungry Southerner” let me borrow Thomas Keller’s latest book, Ad Hoc. While many cookbooks may give you some great recipes, this one will make you a better at-home cook. The kitchen tips alone are worth the read. One of the recipes I came across in the book was for Red Pepper Jelly, which my wife and I love. My grandmother had given us some of her pepper jelly last time we were at her place, so I figured it’d be fun to do a little comparison between the two versions.
Making either version of pepper jelly is pretty easy, although my grandmother’s is easier by far. Besides taste, the major difference is the two recipes is volume. Thomas Keller’s recipe has twice the peppers, yet yields half as much jelly. This difference really comes out in the depth of flavor. In a little blind taste test with some friends and a block of cream cheese, everyone kept coming back to Keller’s recipe. The consensus was that while both recipes were good, the flavor of my grandmother’s jelly wasn’t quite as deep and strong in comparison with Keller’s.
Pepper jelly has always been a fixture in my grandmother’s house. It’s often on the table for lunch, and always present at Christmas. I really hate admitting that my grandmother was bested, but that’s the way it goes I guess. Either way though, it’s still good. Over the past few weeks, we’ve enjoyed using the jellies on cream cheese, crackers, and on grilled cheeses. If you’ve never tried pepper jelly, give it a shot and enjoy the results. And if you have, make some more.
Me-Ma’s Red Pepper Jelly
- 4 medium red bell peppers, cleaned and cut
- 8 tiny hot pickling peppers
- 1-1/2 cups white vinegar
- 7-1/2 cups sugar
- 1 bottle Certo (2 packages liquid pectin)
Place peppers in blender and add enough vinegar to cover the peppers. Blend till smooth, then pour in saucepan with rest of vinegar and sugar. Boil over medium heat for 6 minutes, then add pectin and boil for 3 more minutes. Pour into jars and seal with melted paraffin wax.