I’m canning today, for the fair. This is one of my favorite jams to eat and give! It’s also great fun to spend a hot afternoon simmering spicy jalapenos into jam . . .
This hot/sweet/sour combo is delicious on cream cheese and crackers as well as grilled meats or toast. People over the years have told me how superb jalapeño jam is, and I tried making it a few years ago but the whole thing came out too sugary and didn’t set well.
I used Pomona’s Universal Pectin, which is almost foolproof, and lets me cut the sugar so the cider and peppers can shout.
Pomona’s is a two step addition that helps set jams and jellies with reduced sugar content. It comes in a box with two packets — one is calcium in the form of monocalcium phosphate. From this you create a “calcium water” by add 1/2 teaspoon of the white calcium powder and 1/2 cup water. Store this in a clean jar with a lid, and it lasts several months in the fridge. The calcium water helps activate the pectin, and the pectin is what creates the jelled product.
The other packet contains powdered pectin that you mix with sugar, and then add after the rest of the ingredients have come to a boil.
Pomona’s works easily and quickly, meaning that besides being able to decrease the sugar (and/or use honey, grape juice concentrate or non-caloric sweeteners) and still get a jell, you don’t have to boil the fruit (or peppers in this case) for long, and so retain better flavor and nutrients. Also — when you use Pomona’s Pectin you can double a recipe and still get a gel.
1. Seed and core 2 red (or green) sweet peppers, and 6-10 jalapeño peppers, pulsing them in batches in a food processor until finely chopped but not “blended”. For hotter jam, retain the seeds, etc. in the hot peppers. Scrape into a jam pot, and pour in 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar.
2. Add 3 1/2 tsp calcium water to peppers and bring to a boil.
3. Mix 2 teaspoons pectin powder to 2 1/2 cups sugar and mix well.
4. Add pectin/sugar mix to pepper mixture in jam pot and stir vigorously to mix for 1-2 minutes. Then return the whole batch to a boil.
5. Mixture should look as if it is starting to sheet. Turn off heat.
6. Fill prepared canning jars (5-6 half pints), and process for 15 minutes in a water bath (at 5000 feet) or 10 minutes under 1000 feet. You can either use all green peppers (left), or red and green (right).
Jalapeno Jam: makes 5-6 cups
2 green or red peppers
6-10 jalapeno peppers
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
3 1/2 tsp calcium water
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp pectin