Appalachian Food Preserving/Canning

JCCFS Red Pepper Jelly

The Mountain Flavors Class is going great! The students are all fantastic and we are having lots of fun! Yesterday was jelly day we made: Blackberry (with berries we picked ourselves), Blueberry Jam, Peach Jam, and JCCFS Red Pepper Jelly. Here’s the recipe for JCCFS Pepper Jelly in case you’d like to give it a try too.

Best ever red pepper jelly

The John C. Campbell Folk School has it’s very own Red Pepper Jelly. The original recipe is in the 1971 cookbook, Favorite Recipes of the John C. Campbell Folk School. It may be in more recent cookbooks published by the folk school as well.

I’ve made a few changes to the original recipe-only minor like switching out the originally called for liquid certo with sure jell.

Red Pepper Jam

  • 4 cups sweet red peppers-chopped fine (I used a food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 package of sure jell

Red pepper jam

Add salt to chopped peppers and allow to sit for at least 2 hours-then drain well.

Recipe for pepper jelly

Put drained peppers in a large pot-add vinegar. (Can you see the angel and the tree in my vinegar? I didn’t notice them until I uploaded the photos-sweet!)

Stir pectin (sure jell) into mixture and bring it to a full rolling boil-boil for one minute.

How to make pepper jelly

Stir in sugar and bring mixture back to a full rolling boil-boil for 1 minute.

Appalachian red pepper jam

Ladle hot pepper jam into sterilized jars and seal.

Red pepper jelly

You cannot believe how good this red pepper jelly is-it is beyond good and such a pretty color shining through the jars. The only problem with it-as you can see by the empty jar-is we’re eating it way too fast for it to last through the winter.


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  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    July 16, 2014 at 9:12 am

    I love to make jam. I have some blackberry, blueberry, and peach that I made and also some pumpkin butter. I will have to try your red pepper jelly, looks good!

  • Reply
    July 16, 2014 at 6:34 am

    B. Ruth LOL : ) I like your pondering! I do not water bath my jelly. I make sure the jars are hot and the jelly is hot and as you said they seal as the cool. Its called the open kettle method of canning-and canning books frown on the process.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 15, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    and Sharom…How do you fix your peaches and mixed peppers? Are they in the form of jelly…peach and pepper! Sounds delicious!
    I also am craving homemade peach ice cream…’tis the season!
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 15, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    and Bill Burnett…Are you joshin’ about the jalapeno heat helpin’ your arthritis?
    My hands ache after a day of working up garden produce!
    Thanks Tipper,

    • Reply
      Marshall Reagan
      June 24, 2019 at 6:51 am

      you can get CAPZASIN CREAN at the drug stores ,which is made out of cayenne peppers. works great on sore muscles & joints. it is for ARTHRITIS PAIN RELIEF.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 15, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I was just pondering this…When you say seal the jars, in your jelly/jam making only. How do you do it?
    Back in the olden days we had paraffin melting and poured on the top of the jelly/jam pretty near the time we had all the jars filled within a quarter or half inch or so. Now-a-days so many books (Ball Canning Book in particular) says to put jars in a boiling water bath for a time period depending on the product. I used to never process my Squash pickles. I had my jars so hot, usually still in the hot sterilizing water, also my rings and lids on another stove eye staying hot. My vinegar/spices squash simmering on the stove as I filled and wipe the top with a hot sterile clean cloth. I immediately capped the jar and screwed on the ring fairly tight.
    All my utensils were boiled as well, and I lifted out with those. I still burnt many a finger canning though! I then set them on a dishcloth on the other side of the kitchen to cool…In a while you would hear the “ping” of the jars sealing as they began to cool. That was always a good sound. I can’t remember ever having a jar that didn’t seal that way. Once I heard you should still process at least 5 minutes in a boiling water bath, I started doing it. I was careful however not to let my pickles cook too long on the stove before filling as I thought that the extra process time made them a little softer and darker looking, The taste and the beauty of squash pickles if the beautiful yellow color with the white onion and red and green peppers…so festive and tasty! Of course I know pressure cooking is the only safe way to can veggies (beans, cauliflower, etc.) and meat!
    I could have made this shorter by just asking do you water bath your jelly? LOL
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…Had me some okra and tomatoes tonight along with Jim’s stuffed squash…I also added a zucchini to the lot…YUM YUM!
    I just mixed up the pie to pop in the oven after supper! I wonder what a meringue would look like on top with a flicker of toasted coconut?

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 15, 2014 at 11:35 am

    As Don said there really is an Angel in
    Brasstown. I know you’re having lots of fun cooking, but thanks for sharing some of the things you’ve learned…Ken

  • Reply
    July 15, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Maybe one day I’ll get to take a class at JCCFS. Sure would like to check out your neck of the woods!

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    July 15, 2014 at 10:29 am

    I’ve made Green Pepper Jelly before. I add one – or more – seeded jalapeno (depending how risky I’m feeling). Never have tried Red Pepper Jelly. I’m sure gonna try it though. Might be nice at Christmas to have dishes of both available.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I don’t remember trying red pepper jelly. I do like to eat bell peppers and when my crop comes ready to harvest this would be fun to try. You always come up with such great and interesting recipes when you do this cooking school series. Yummy!

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    July 15, 2014 at 7:58 am

    I too love Pepper Jelly with Jalapenos, if you devein the peppers there is very little heat left in the jelly. When working up Jalapenos I do not wear gloves, this helps the arthritis in my hands and fingers but by all means be careful what you touch and by all means do not rub your eyes until the pepper has worn off your hands.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2014 at 7:45 am

    I like to combine the multi-colored hot peppers with peaches -it’s so pretty and very tasty. It’s a favorite over a block of cream cheese at Christmas gatherings.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 15, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Tipper, I’ve tasted your Red Pepper Jam and it is mighty fine.
    Wish I was in your class, having fun and learning a lot!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    July 15, 2014 at 7:20 am

    I wanted to mention green pepper jam (or jelly), but Ruth got to that delicacy first. I recall with some sense of pride how many of these delicacies used to be “put up” for winter use in my kitchen and those of relatives and friends who enjoyed making them for family use or to give as gifts. Thanks, Tipper, for taking us through the process of making these “farm-fresh,” “garden-fresh” products!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 15, 2014 at 6:52 am

    It is wonderful that the angel is watching over your jelly/jam making. How neat is that picture!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 15, 2014 at 6:42 am

    I love red pepper jelly. I have made green as well. I have to admit that it has been a long time since the last batch was put on a shelf here by me. One of my sons took over the pepper jelly making. He likes his hot!
    My Mother gave me her recipe years ago. I remember adding a small hot pepper, jalapeno, take out ribs and seeds, use gloves as well. This made the jelly a bit hot. At Christmas use a ring mold or lump of plain Philly cream cheese, spread over and let drip down the sides, some pepper jelly. That way you pick up on your jelly spreader a bit of cream cheese and jelly together for the cracker. We have used both red and green in a small divided bowl. Place in the center of the cheese ring mold. The red would be the Hot Pepper Jelly, the green the Mild pepper jelly. Have available a few jelly spreaders and party crackers. This makes a holiday treat few can resist and festive too.
    I am getting hungry for Pepper Jelly. It took me a while to like the hotter pepper jelly, but a cracker spread with the cool cream cheese, a dab of hot pepper jelly just makes my mouth water. When I was a kid, I thought my Mom had lost her senses and had ran out of things to do when she made her first pepper jelly! Back then I thought Blackberry Jelly/Jam and Apple Butter was all there was!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…Our peppers are making slowly but surely and we might have enough by August for a run or three of pepper jelly!
    Yum, yum and thanks for the memories of Pepper Jelly making!

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