Botched Basil Pepper Jelly Redemption

I made this ages ago and it was almost a flop but in the end we (Don) salvaged it and now I don’t know which jelly I like better, this one, or the Strawberry and Blackberry Pepper Jelly (Habanero) we made in July. They are both wickedly good with entirely different pepper flavors and textures.

This started out as my project until it went sideways on me and I called on Don for a second opinion. My inspiration came from the overabundance of peppers and basil from the gardens of two very kind friends. Most of the pepper jelly recipes I found online indicated that banana peppers and basil were a good blend of flavors. I had a lot of banana peppers. But I also had a lot of other, unidentified peppers. So I went for a variety mix, with a slightly larger ratio of banana peppers.

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I decided to use this recipe as a guide, but of course my measurements are not exact and it’s possible I used a little more here and there. I also used coconut palm sugar instead of typical cane sugar; it has a different flavor, with hints of caramel and molasses. It also has a lower glycemic index of 35. The substitution may have contributed to the jelly not coming together properly, or it could have been my process, but I’ll get to that.

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup banana peppers
  • 1/4 cup other peppers
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • fresh basil, about 1/2 tsp
  • 3 cups of coconut palm sugar
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 package liquid pectin

First I diced and measured my peppers.

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banana peppers

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other peppers

I used the food processor to dice them finely.

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I chopped my red onion.

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I combined the two with the vinegar, basil, and sugar. It looks dark because the coconut palm sugar is a light brown color.

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I’m a little fuzzy on the rest because I didn’t document how it went and it was so long ago that I did this. I’m fairly certain that I brought it to a boil and then added the pectin. However, looking (now) at the recipe that I was using as a guide, I can most certainly tell you that I didn’t bring it to such a boil that I had to skim foam off the top (or had any foam) as mentioned in her description. All I can remember is that I thought it looked like it was setting up and getting thick so I jarred it and canned it in a water bath.

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It looked pretty! LOL

The next day it wasn’t set up properly at all. I was SO bummed that I might have wasted all those ingredients. But Don saved the day. We put it all back in the pan and boiled it again, adding more sugar (organic white sugar this time; no I don’t know how much exactly) and another package of pectin. It has a more clear, thin jelly-like consistency than our Strawberry and Blackberry Pepper Jelly. That one is thicker and more jam-like in texture; they are both A-mazing over cream cheese with crackers (Back to Nature Organic Stoneground Crackers are our favorite.)

As a side note, while writing this post I came across information on coconut palm sugar that I did not know. Coconut trees cannot produce palm sugar and coconuts. The booming coconut palm sugar market can greatly affect our accessibility to other coconut products like coconut flour, dried coconut, and coconut oil. I don’t want to contribute to the decline of other coconut products on the market so I don’t think I’ll be buying more anytime soon. There are plenty of other readily available sugar substitutes, which I have used before and do have in the pantry, such as raw honey and organic maple syrup. If you’d like to read more on the topic of coconut palm sugar vs other coconut products, click here.

We don’t know all the answers. If we knew all the answers we’d be bored, wouldn’t we? We keep looking, searching, trying to get more knowledge.
~ Jack LaLanne 

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