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.

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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

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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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