FARMERS MARKET PEPPER JELLY

Makes 5 half-pint jars.

Note: Unlike strawberries, peaches, raspberries or apples, peppers can vary dramatically in their taste, with extremes of sweetness or heat. Mine from the market were all surprisingly sweet despite differences in shape. They also were thinner than an average bell pepper, and released somewhat more moisture. For this batch I added a medium-size jalapeño pepper. If the peppers had more heat, I would have eliminated it. The bottom line is, taste the peppers you’ll be using. Adjust the amount of sugar, add a jalapeño or other hot pepper, or dial up heat with more crushed dried pepper flakes. Adjust to suit your taste by adding more or less heat.

• 1 1/2 lb. sweet red or red and yellow bell peppers, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 3/4-in. pieces

• 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 1/2-in. pieces

• 1/2 tsp. dried chile pepper flakes

• 3 tbsp. Sure-Jell no-sugar-needed pectin

• 2 3/4 c. sugar, divided

• 1 c. white wine vinegar

• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 3/4 tsp. salt

Directions

Wash 5 half-pint jars, bands and lids and rinse well. Place jars in a boiling water canner and add hot water to cover by 2 inches. Boil, covered, 10 minutes. Remove canner from heat. In a small saucepan, heat lids in water to cover by 2 inches to 180 degrees. Do not allow to boil. Remove from heat and keep covered until ready to use.

Place peppers and dried pepper flakes into a food processor and pulse until chopped fairly fine. Mix pectin with 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl, and set aside.

In a 3 1/2- to 4-quart heavy pot, combine peppers, remaining 2 1/2 cups sugar, vinegar, butter and salt. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat and boil 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pectin mixture gradually, whisking continuously. Boil rapidly, stirring constantly, for a minute or two, until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat.

Following standard U.S. Department of Agriculture procedures, fill jars, leaving ¼ inch of head space. Seal and process at full boil for 15 minutes. Cool completely and check seals.

Nutrition information per 1 tablespoon:

Calories 32 Fat 0 g Sodium 24 mg

Carbohydrates 8 g Saturated fat 0 g Calcium 1 mg

Protein 0 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ other carb.