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How to Make Pepper Jelly

Hillary Danner is crazy for peppers of all shapes, sizes, and heat. In her California backyard, she grows a number of different varieties of hot peppers and turns them into her signature Hell Fire Pepper Jelly. Here's how she does it.

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Her vintage apron a perfect cook's accessory, Hillary Danner chops a medley of sweet and hot peppers to go into her jelly batch. Her gloves protect her from burning juices that could accidentally get on her hands and in her eyes.

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Finely chopped red, green, yellow, and orange peppers -- seeds included -- go into the pot as part of the first step.

While the pepper mixture cooks, Hillary likes to sterilize the jars prior to filling them.

After it has simmered thoroughly, the jelly mixture is ladled into jars that rest on a cooling rack, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Be sure to wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks.

Hell Fire Pepper Jelly got its name from its fans, one of whom exclaimed, "Pass me the fire extinguisher!" after just a few bites. The distinctive flame label was designed by Roderick Smith, a Los Angeles painter.

Pepper Jelly

Make this jelly the desired hotness by using 2, 3, or 4 jalapenos.

Start to Finish: 55 minutes

2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, halved and seeded
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
1 cup vinegar
5 cups sugar
1/2 6-ounce package (1 foil pouch) liquid fruit pectin
5 tiny hot red peppers

1. In a medium saucepan combine jalapeno peppers, cranberry juice cocktail, and vinegar. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain mixture through a sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to remove all the liquid (you should have 2 cups). Discard pulp.

2. In a 4-quart Dutch oven combine the 2 cups liquid and sugar. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin and tiny hot red peppers. Return to a rolling boil; boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Quickly skim off foam with a metal spoon.

3. Ladle immediately into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace and making sure each jar contains one tiny red pepper. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Process in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water begins to boil). Remove jars and cool on a wire rack until set (2 to 3 days).

Number of Servings: 70

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon

Yield: 5 half-pints

Nutrition Facts per 1 tablespoon: 52 cal., 0 g total fat, 0 mg chol., 1 mg sodium, 14 g carb., 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g protein

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