Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Adventures in jalapeno jelly
Every day now, we are doing multiple things -- making chevre, brie, cheddar, mozzarella, buttermilk, yogurt, salsa, and all sorts of homemade meals -- so the kitchen is the center of activity. Having Margaret home meant we could double- and triple-task. I sliced the jalapeños and started them on the stove with the vinegar and sugar, and then I went to work on a cheese, while Margaret kept an eye on the pepper mix.
Then Margaret took her eye off the jalapeño mix. I heard a sizzle and looked towards the stove to see the whole thing boiling over. I screeched, "Margaret!" She gasped and turned off the burner, but the mixture continued boiling over. Then she realized she had turned off the wrong burner! If you're guessing that it was a huge mess, you would be correct.
Knowing that the sticky sugary goo was covering the sides and bottom of the pot, and not wanting to get the counter sticky, I put some paper towels on the counter and moved the pot to the paper towels. Then Margaret began the 15-minute job of cleaning up the stove. When it was finally clean, I wiped down the pot and realized it was stuck to the paper towels on which they were sitting.
Then we estimated that about 1/6 of the mixture had boiled over, and since we hadn't added the pectin yet, we needed to get the mixture back to the correct amount so that the amount of pectin would be correct. Unfortunately, recipes call for "a packet of pectin," rather than an amount that mere mortals can actually measure. So, we added more sugar, vinegar, and jalapeños.
Finally, we had our jelly ready to can! We filled up six half-pint jelly jars and had enough left over to fill my little jelly pot that goes into the frig. As soon as the six jars went into the canner, my daughters and I started stuffing ourselves with chevre, jalapeño jelly, and crackers. I think we should make another batch, because we've already eaten a half pint. True, we have been deprived for a couple years, but we do love this stuff, so it probably won't last very long.