It sounds absurd doesn't it? Canning during the winter. What would we make --icicle and brown leaf marmalade? What about hot pepper jelly made from dried apricots, jalapenos, and habanero peppers? Sounds good, doesn't it? Sounds like the perfect jelly to serve with baked brie. Sounds drop dead delicious, is what it sounds like. And that is what it is. Drop dead delicious.
Canning is easier than it sounds. All you need are a few inexpensive tools, a deep pot, and a few good recipes. This canning kit is available here for $15.99. I would also recommend Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving, which includes clear directions on how to handle sterilizing (so you don't get botulism) and hundreds of recipes that range from jelly to salsa and canned veggies.
Let's start with how to prepare the jars. For the jelly I used 4 ounce jelly jars. You can find them here.
1. Wash jars with soap and water; rinse thoroughly
2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil
3. Fully submerge jars
4. Boil for ten minutes
5. Remove with jar lifter
6. Set aside on a clean paper towel
7. Repeat boiling step for lids
After the jars are ready, you can get started on making the jelly.
Habanero Gold Jelly
1/3 cup finely sliced dried apricot
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped seeded red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped seeded habanero peppers
3 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch (3 ounces) liquid pectin
1. In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine apricots and vinegar. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight.
2. Prepare jars and lids.
3. Add red onion, red pepper, habernero peppers to apricots. Stir in sugar. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling biol that cannot be stirred down. Stir in pectic. Boil hard stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remover from heat and quickly skim off foam.
4. Quickly pour hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to finger top-tight.
5. Place jars in the pot that was used for preparing the jars. Ensure that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remover jars, cool and store.
The jars will pop after you take them out of the hot bath. These do not have to be refrigerated, but you should wait about two weeks for the flavor to set. We'll see you in two weeks for results on this batch. Next week I'm going to turn a big bag of prunes into plum ginger marmalade. Sounds good, doesn't it?