Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spicing Up Cold-Weather Gatherings

(NAPSI)-When temperatures drop, you can add some heat to your get-togethers by serving up spicy green pepper jelly. The zesty treat can be spread across sour cream corn bread, dolloped on cheddar cheese biscuits or spooned on top of cream cheese and gourmet crackers. The key is to find taste combinations with enough bite to satisfy guests but that are light enough to not interfere with a meal.

The recipe below is made with fruit pectin to help create a delicious jelly that captures the freshness of green and jalapeño peppers. You can find fruit pectin in original and liquid varieties, sugar and no-sugar-needed varieties and a no-cook freezer variety from the Ball® brand. Try using the products to preserve fresh fruits year-round.

Green Pepper Jelly

Yield: about 6 half-pint jars

7 sweet green peppers

1 jalapeño pepper

1½ cups cider vinegar, 5% acidity, divided

1½ cups apple juice

1 box (13/4 ounces) Ball® Original Fruit Pectin

½ teaspoon salt

5 cups sugar

Green food coloring (optional)

Stem, seed and cut green and jalapeño peppers into ½-inch pieces. Puree half the peppers and ¾ cup vinegar in a food processor or blender. Repeat with remaining peppers and vinegar. Combine puree and apple juice in a large bowl; cover bowl and refrigerate overnight. Strain pureed mixture through a damp jelly bag or several layers of cheese cloth. Measure 4 cups strained juice.

Combine 4 cups juice, pectin and salt in a large saucepot. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return mixture to a rolling boil.

Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Stir in a few drops green food coloring, if desired. Ladle hot jelly into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Adjust 2-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

As a final tip, try preparing the jelly in Ball® 4-ounce jars to give to your guests as take-home party favors.

For more recipes, tips and comments, visit FreshPreserving.com FreshPreserving.com.

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