Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sweet Peach-Pepper Jam

I love this full-bodied version of a traditional pepper jelly.  It's fantastic spooned over a block of cream cheese, or served as an accompaniment to fish, chicken or pork.

I make this in late summer, when the local peaches and peppers are plentiful at the farmer's markets.  I used a combination of red bell peppers, sweet red banana peppers, and a hot inferno chile for an added kick!

I've included a 1/4 cup of bourbon in the list of ingredients. Its a fun variation (if you like bourbon)!

2 pounds (about 6) red bell peppers, or other mild red peppers
1 or 2 hot peppers (optional - add for heat)
2 pounds (about 6) peaches or nectarines, pitted, peeled, and chopped
3 lemons, halved
6 cups sugar
2 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup bourbon (optional)
1 pouch liquid pectin

Wash, split, seed and mince peppers (wear food service gloves!).  Put all in a bowl, and cover with boiling water.  Let stand until cool, and drain.

Juice the lemons, reserving the peels.  I cut my lemons in half, and extract the juice by twisting the lemon halves on an old fashioned hand juicer.

In a large pot, combine peppers, peaches, lemon peels and lemon juice.  Boil for 15 minutes.  Now, carefully remove the lemon peels.

Add the sugar and vinegar to the fruit mixture, and bring it to a boil again.  Simmer until the jam thickens and the excess juice is boiled down.  The length of cook time will depend upon how juicy the peaches are.  Remember, you are adding pectin, which should give the jam a more firm set.

Finally, add the liquid pectin.  Bring back to a boil, and boil hard for ONLY one minute.

Remove the pot from the heat, and ladle the jam into mason jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Let stand 2 weeks before opening.

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