Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hot Damn

My husband always says I pick the hottest days of the year to can and make jam. Most years, he's right. This year, not so much. This past week was pretty moderate for August in northern Illinois, which was a good thing. It seems like all sorts of stuff was ready to be put up.

This past week I've made five batches of Peach Jam, two batches of Hot Pepper Jam and one batch of a new one-Sicilian Tomato Jam. Bad things have happened in my process. I ran out of Peach Schnapps to add to my Peach Jam. But good things have happened, too. I threw in some Amaretto instead. YUM! I thought I found my new favorite jam recipe.

At least until I tried the Sicilian Tomato Jam. I can't wait to try this yummy, savory spread on a fresh baguette. And, for my cherry tomato plants to ripen more fruit so I can make more.

Hot Pepper Jam is one of my most popular. My sister- and mother-in-laws asked for the recipe this year. Apparently everyone's pepper plants have been very prolific. My go to recipe comes from the Jam Lady Cookbook. I got the recipe from my friend Lori, the source of most of my really good savory recipes.

Hot 3-Pepper Jam

4 cups sugar
1 cup, chopped, seeded sweet green peppers
1 cup, chopped, unseeded jalapeno peppers
1 cup white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
½ cup, chopped, fresh, seeded problano peppers
½ cup lemon juice
2-3 ounce packages of liquid pectin (6 ounces total)
1 slice onion (or equivalent amount of chopped garlic)
½ teaspoon butter (to reduce foaming)

I usually use whatever peppers I have on hand. If I have sweet peppers, I use them. If not, I just make sure that my total pepper amount is 2 1/2 cups. Put the peppers in the blender or food processor with the vinegar and lemon juice. Process until only smaller bits remain.

Put the puree in a heavy pot with the sugar and butter. It will start out a pretty, grassy green. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil for one minute. A rolling boil won't stop when you stir. Add the liquid pectin and return to a rolling boil for one minute. As it cooks, the color will darken and mute.

Ladle into sterile jars and process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.
My sister likes her Hot Pepper Jam to be orange/red so I added a few drops of red food coloring to one batch before putting it in the jars.

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