Kitchen Disasters

26 Sep

Not a disaster really, I mean, my kitchen didn’t burn down. But after making canning, opening, fixing, and canning again to STILL have a batch of jam not set up and need to be tossed it felt like a disaster.  But there is a lesson to learn, or 2, and a happy ending of sorts so….

As I mentioned, we have a glut of banana peppers. 6 plants all producing like they’ve been mainlining miracle grow (they haven’t) means we are flooded peppers.  I’ve pickled them whole, in rings, in mixed veg, Italian style, Grandma style, sandwich style, french style… you want pickled peppers?? My house is the place to be.

I want desperately to find a recipe for banana pepper butter, but I can’t find one I trust to be safe.  In my wanderings though I found a recipe for basil pepper jelly.  As it happened I had a bunch of Basil in the fridge too. So I set out to make this Jelly.

Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
Recipe adapted from a recipe posted on the Big Black Dog Blog

1/2 c thinly sliced, seeded mild banana peppers or any mild, sweet peppers (blogger I found this on used diced Red Sweet Pepper)
1/4 c fresh hot peppers, seeds removed and diced (she used diced Habanero Pepper)

Ok, let me stop right there.  I got my peppers mixed up for this initial batch. Which didn’t really matter because my “hot” peppers aren’t. I don’t know where the capsaicin went, but it ain’t in my peppers. I decided I didn’t care and may have added a shake of dried chilies to give it a kick…or not. I can’t remember. The point is, as long as you have 3/4 cup of peppers, it doesn’t matter what you use.

1/4 c red onion, finely diced
3 to 4 large fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
1/4 tsp dried basil
3/4 c white vinegar
3 c sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin

Ok, let’s stop again, because here is where I went wrong (full recipe below).  I used my bulk pectin, which for some time I’ve suspected may not work very well. I am either not adding enough (though it feels like I add a TON) or its just not very good. I even tried adding the low/no sugar pectin to this jam because it should work for anything.

So I followed the directions, used white onions instead of red because that’s what I had, and all banana peppers, but basically followed them closely. The result was this lovely smelling jam that looked so pretty in the jars.

Once I canned these and they were hot out of the water, I lovingly turned these over every 30 minutes or so to ensure the peppers settled throughout the jam.  But to no avail. The jam simply did not set. Now my favorite blog in the whole world, Food in Jars, did a post on how (and whether) to fix common problems such as my freaking jam didn’t set. 

This is of critical importance because this: savory cheddar and pepper jelly cookies.

People, I NEED this jam to work.   But it didn’t. So I opened it and added ball pectin, but misread the damn chart and added way too little. So my freaking jam didn’t set. AGAIN.  I threw it out and started over. The next round I had red onions but no basil and enough red peppers to make my jam a pretty pink hue.

Here it is, upside down, peppers floating happily in not completely liquid jam. I have to say the set still isn’t ideal, but I’m ok with that. It’s pretty good. And when cookie time rolls around, I’ll try to add more pectin to it and see if it sets. But for now its fine. I had a fried egg sandwich this weekend and used this instead of mayo. It was delicious!  This is a keeper.

So, as kitchen disasters go, its well below burning down the house, but definitely more annoying than a burnt tray of cookies. However this was my final try with the bulk DIY pectin. I’m name brand all the way now, I know how to save a runny jam, and I have 8 jars of this delicious jam, so in the end, a happy story.

Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
Recipe adapted from a recipe posted on the Big Black Dog Blog

Yield: 3-half pints

1/2 c thinly sliced, seeded mild banana peppers or any mild, sweet peppers (I used diced Red Sweet Pepper)
1/4 c fresh hot peppers, seeds removed and diced (I used 2 tsp of diced Habanero Pepper)
1/4 c red onion, finely diced
3 to 4 large fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
1/4 tsp dried basil
3/4 c white vinegar
3 c sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin

Combine peppers, red onion, fresh and dried basil in a large, deep stainless steel saucepan. Stir in vinegar and sugar.

Over high heat, bring mixture to a full, rolling boil. Stirring constantly, boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat. Immediately stir in one pouch Liquid Pectin, mixing well.

Pour jelly into a hot jar, dividing solids equally among jars and filling each jar to within 1/4 inch of top rim (head space). Wipe jar rims. Center lids on jars & screw on bands. Process in BWB 10 minutes.

Cool for about 30 minutes, then, when lids are concave but jelly is still hot, carefully invert & twist jars to distribute solids throughout jelly. (**Do not let them remain upside down for long periods**) Repeat as needed during the cooling/setting time, until solids are evenly suspended in the jelly.

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2 Responses to “Kitchen Disasters”

  1. Tara Demski September 27, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    This sounds yummy. I love the pepper and onion relish from Harry & David and this seems like it would be similar. I sent the recipe to a friend of mine that is looking for a “different” jelly recipe. I hope she makes it and gives me some!!

  2. Yinzerella September 29, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    How do you have the time, woman?!?!

    Color me impressed.

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