Christmas in July Pepper Jam
This years theme for our family reunion was Christmas in July. It was held in a little town near the Oregon Coast called Siletz. My Uncle Bill and Aunt June hosted and we had about 35 in attendance! They did it up right too with a Christmas Tree – filled with presents – two wrapped presents for everyone, Christmas cookies and tons and tons of GREAT food! There were plenty of laughs, giggles and stories, lots of laughter and fun to share. Family is the best, wouldn’t you agree?
We got into a bit of a Facebook exchange before the reunion. We were all supposed to dress up in Christmas attire (unfortunately I forgot mine at home) One of the suggestions was that I was supposed to make eggnog. Well knowing the forecast, I was pretty sure the weather was going to be hot, hot, hot and so instead I decided to make something at home that I could bring. And since the theme was Christmas….I decided upon Sweet & Spicy Christmas Pepper Jam!
The jam combines red, green & yellow bell peppers, jalepenos peppers and red pepper flakes – along with cider vinegar and sugar, this is sweet & spicy jam that is so delicious!
Most of the work is done by the food processor. Start by chopping the peppers, remove the membranes and seeds and put into your food processor and pulse to chop thoroughly. You may have to do this in a couple of batches. When you’re finished you’ll want the peppers completely chopped. If there are any large pieces, remove them and save for a salad or chop them by hand and toss them back in the pot.
Then add the cider vinegar and sugar, (check the recipe for complete directions) and stir to bring to a boil. Now this is not a really spicy jam, but fair warning, the last thing you’ll want to do as this is coming to a boil is stick your face into all of that steam! Especially if you’re wearing contacts. The contacts can easily absorb hot stuff and can make your eyes really sting, speaking from experience here!
Just follow the directions and after the jam is completely cooked, you will ladle it into jars within a 1/4 inch of the top. Before putting the lids on the jars you’ll want to clean them off. This will ensure you get a good seal and takes just a moment.
Then into the water bath they go for 10 minutes. When you are finished, carefully remove the jars from the water and allow them to cool. With this jam, I go a step further and every 20 minutes or so, flip the jars. This ensures the pieces of pepper will distribute evenly thru-out the jam. If you don’t, they will all float to the top. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just an extra step that makes the jam look a little prettier when it’s done.
This jam is AMAZING. On a toasted bagel with some cream cheese and a spoonful of jam…delish! It also makes a terrific glaze on pork or chicken and you can also use it to spice up your homemade salad dressing! The best time is now to start making jams and jellies! They are such terrific gifts during the holidays – who wouldn’t love some homemade jam?
Sweet and Spicy Christmas Pepper Jam
- 2 green bell peppers
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 4 jalepenos peppers
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 package low sugar Sure-Jell pectin pink package
Measure 3 cups sugar into a large bowl. Remove 1/4 cup sugar and in a separate bowl, mix it with the powered Sure-Jell. Set aside both mixtures; the sugar and Sure-Jell/sugar.
Roughly chop all of the peppers. Carefully remove the seeds & membranes. Add them all to the food processor and pulse until they are well chopped, not pulp, but chopped. You may need to do this in a couple of batches.
Place the peppers, red pepper flakes and salt in a heavy bottom pan. Add cider vinegar & water. Add the Sure-Jell/sugar mixture and stir thoroughly. Place mixture over high heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly. When it comes to a hard rolling boil (one that you can't stir down add the remaining sugar and return to a boil, again stirring constantly.
Boil hard for exactly one minute and remove from heat. Ladle into clean, sterilized jars.
Clean the tops of the jars carefully (so you get a good seal). Place lids on jars and screw on the rings.
Place the jam in a hot water bath for 10 minutes - this will help seal the jars. Remove from heat and place them on a heatproof surface (I usually use a heavy cutting board. You'll hear the jars make a popping noise as they seal. You can check to see if the jars have sealed by pressing down in the center of each jar. If it is sealed, it will not move. If it didn't seal the "button" on the top will pop up & down.
If desired, you may want to flip the jars over ever 20 minutes or so for the first hour. This ensures the pieces of pepper will distribute evenly thru-out the jam. If you don't, they will all float to the top. Now there's nothing wrong with that, it's just an extra step that makes the jam look a little prettier when it's done.