Appalachian Food Preserving/Canning

Making Pepper Jelly

Pot of pepper jelly

We finally had our first hard freeze over the weekend. I knew it was coming and went out in search of anything that wouldn’t survive in the garden. I picked a big bowl of peppers.

Since I’d already put some in the freezer and dried some I decided to make pepper jelly.

I had a mixture of peppers—green, yellow, and red. All sweet peppers. You can make pepper jelly out of a mixture of peppers, even hot and sweet, or you can use all of one kind. Red peppers make an especially pretty jelly.

Pepper Jelly

  • 4 cups finely chopped peppers
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 box pectin
  • 5 cup sugar (or 3 cups if using low sugar pectin)

Add peppers, vinegar, and water to a sauce pot.

Add pectin and stir well. (You’ll need to read on your pectin for the correct way to add it. It used to be added directly to mixture, but the box I used said to take 1/4 cup of the sugar called for and mix with pectin and then add it to the pot.)

Bring pepper pectin mixture to a boil. Add sugar all at once and stir to mix.

Continue cooking until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Boil for one minute.

Pour jelly in sterilized jars and seal.

Canning books indicated filled jars should be waterbath canned for 10 minutes.

I feel comfortable using the open kettle method of canning jelly which means the jars are hot and the jelly is hot and as the jars cool they seal.

After 24 hours check jars to make sure they have sealed. If you find one that hasn’t, pop it in the fridge and eat it first.

We love to eat pepper jelly with cream cheese and crackers. It can also be used in marinades. My favorite way to eat it is smeared on a piece of fried cornbread.

Last night’s video: Fall of the Year in Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    November 11, 2021 at 10:05 am

    I love making pepper jelly. It’s been a while since I’ve done it, but maybe this will spur me on. I usually make sweet red pepper jelly and hot green pepper jelly (which somehow feels backwards, but jalapenos are green). As an aside, we haven’t had our first hard freeze yet this year here in Lower Michigan. Two years ago, we had 12 inches of snow. Go figure.

  • Reply
    Angelyn McLain
    November 11, 2021 at 7:51 am

    We love pepper jelly! It is so good over cream cheese. Next summer is my year to grow peppers again. I had such a crop before I got to skip a year of planting them! I also want to make cowboy candy. It taste about the same but has jalapeños.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    I watched you make it last night, you sure make it look easy. I might have to try it.

  • Reply
    Linda Logan
    November 8, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    YES! Perfect timing, as I’ll be picking the last of my garden here before an upcoming freeze. Thank you much, Tipper! It really makes me smile when I see one of your posts waiting for me.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    I have never tried it but this makes me want to. Have you ever tried tomato jelly. I first I thought no way. This granny I knew where I worked, she had made some and wanted me to try it. It was so good. I loved it.

    • Reply
      November 8, 2021 at 6:00 pm

      Gigi-I made tomato preserves one time they are good 🙂

  • Reply
    November 8, 2021 at 1:47 pm

    Great recipe!! Thank you, Tipper!

    Add me to the list of those who would like to see Tipper’s Appalachian Recipes in a book.

  • Reply
    William Dotson
    November 8, 2021 at 11:17 am

    I made 9 pints of straight red Habanero jam and it turned out great nice amount of heat, my neighbors furnished the peppers and he said it was great.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2021 at 10:06 am

    Thank you for sharing. Pepper Jelly that has a slight bite to it is my favorite.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    November 8, 2021 at 9:56 am

    That pepper jelly actually sounds quite delicious. I’m sure it is wonderful on a cream cheese (or any cheese) atop a cracker! What a beautiful accent to a hors d’oveures platter to add to this season of family and friend gatherings. Thanks for the share. I really wish you would author an Appalachian Recipes book. I know I’d buy 3 at least…. you are the stewardess of all good things Appalachian, Mrs. Pressley. Have a good day, all!

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    November 8, 2021 at 9:48 am

    In New Mexico we make green chile pepper jelly that is delicious with cream cheese and crackers. It’s bothhot and sweet.

  • Reply
    Patti Lou
    November 8, 2021 at 9:43 am

    Tipper, I wish we lived closer. I’d be over borrowing a recipe every day. Have you ever put a recipe book to print? I would definitely buy a copy. Several copies, for friends. Thank you for touching my heart every day and reminding me of “the good stuff”.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2021 at 9:30 am

    We had our first killing frost about 6 days ago and I had picked the mangoes ( sweet peppers) for fresh use. My wife loves sweet peppers raw or in a stir fry and they don’t last long enough for jelly. I’ve only ate hot pepper jelly one time and liked it but I like hot foods whether it peppers, horseradish, or hot strong onions.

  • Reply
    Sharon Cole
    November 8, 2021 at 9:29 am

    I had a friend who made pepper jelly every year. We always knew we were going to get delicious food for Christmas from her kitchen. I remember when our boys were in high school – they loved pepper jelly & would put it on toast or crackers. Take care and God bless!

  • Reply
    November 8, 2021 at 9:26 am

    Your pepper jelly looks delicious! My Mother always canned tomatoes, okra, and corn. It was the most delicious soup in the winter and if I am feeling kind of puny, I long for a bowl of Mother’s Tomato Soup.
    Thank you for that fantastic glimpse of some of Appalachia’s treasures!! Oh how I would have loved to been traipsing across that little wooden bridge, and I saw a great place on that creek to sit a spell and just take in all of the beauty God has on display. That creek is beautiful!!!

  • Reply
    Lily M Stafford
    November 8, 2021 at 8:56 am

    I like pepper jelly , on a cracker, with cream cheese !!! Good!!!!

  • Reply
    November 8, 2021 at 8:56 am

    As soon as I saw what you were making I thought, I wonder if they eat it on crackers with cream cheese? Sweet pepper or hot pepper jelly dabbed atop cream cheese on a cracker – perfect combination 🙂

  • Reply
    November 8, 2021 at 8:39 am

    I’ve been reading all your blogs, but just haven’t had time to comment. I picked my garden last Wednesday and got everything left and put our garden to rest. I have a lot of peppers to can and freeze, but might save some back to make this Pepper jelly. I’ve never had Pepper Jelly, but it must be good or you wouldn’t make it. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    November 8, 2021 at 8:31 am

    I have never tasted sweet pepper jelly. There is nothing better than cream cheese and hot pepper jelly on a cracker and I bet sweet pepper jelly would be just as good.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 8, 2021 at 8:15 am

    I still remember a picture you used in a post some time ago with jelly jars sitting in the window and the sun shining through them. They glowed like the finest jewels.

    I think if I were making pepper jelly I would make about 25% of the peppers hot such as jalapeno. However, I am beginning to suspect they have been hybridized to the point they have messed the heat level up; frustrating. I found the cutest little round, bright red peppers at our farm market. Sign said they were “cherry” peppers and “hot”. They are gone now but they would sure have made some pretty jelly. I do at least have some seed.

    By the way, with your color mix what color did the jelly turn out?

    • Reply
      November 8, 2021 at 10:28 am

      Ron- it’s a yellowish green 🙂

  • Reply
    November 8, 2021 at 8:08 am

    Have made your pepper jelly for years. Mom’s sitter mentions it every time I see her. As bad as I like to avoid food colorings I do add some green to the green for a vivid jelly.

  • Reply
    Martha Justice
    November 8, 2021 at 7:55 am

    Anything is good with fried cornbread

  • Reply
    Palma Jones
    November 8, 2021 at 7:51 am

    Just finished making Jalapeño Pepper Jelly and new this year, Serrano Pepper Jelly. The jellies will be served with cream cheese and crackers Thanksgiving at the request of my sons.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney
    November 8, 2021 at 7:03 am

    My Mother made Tomato Preserves and they were wonderful with a hot biscuit and butter. Seems from my memory that lot’s of sugar was needed to make them sweet.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 8, 2021 at 6:31 am

    Tip, when you first said Pepper Jelly I thought it would be with hot peppers but it’s not hot. I bet it’s very good with the sweet peppers. I’ll have to give it a taste one day when I’m over. I’m very curious about the flavor with the touch of vinegar. I don’t eat much jelly or jam as it is but I often use it in something I’m cooking. For example, I make salad dressing and I’ll put a little jam in it for the sweetness and it adds a little zip to the dressing. Also make a little marinade for baking chicken and I’ll add a tablespoon of jam.
    That jam is also very pretty in the jar!

  • Reply
    donna sue
    November 8, 2021 at 4:54 am

    Thank you for this recipe! I have never had pepper jelly, but would like to try it!

    Donna. : )

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