Canning your own Apple Red Pepper Jelly is simple with this easy recipe. Pepper Jelly atop cream cheese to serve with crackers is a staple of Southern entertaining. This twist on Pepper Jelly uses apple juice/cider as the base and adds so much flavor to this favorite jelly. Make your own! It makes for fabulous holiday gift giving!
Several years ago now, after having picked a million (slight exaggeration, but it seems like that many) apples from a friend’s orchard, I decided to try to make apple red pepper jelly using just the natural pectin in the apples.
My experiment was not successful. And, unfortunately, this is the first time I’ve been able to try again. I decided to take the safe route and use packaged pectin. While there are many commercial pectin brands available, I have used Sure-Jell brand since it is most widely available.
For this recipe I used fresh apple juice/cider, not from concentrate. If you can’t find fresh juice, you could use a premium apple juice for this recipe. Also, since I am planning to give this as gifts, I made a batch that produced 12 half pints. I kept the measurements in increments that would enable you to easily reduce the recipe by half to make just 6 half pints if you chose to make less.
As I said, this isn’t a difficult recipe, but if you want to make absolutely certain that your jelly will properly set, it is best to use a candy thermometer to ensure you reach 220°F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, just be sure to keep the jelly at a full rolling boil for 25 minutes (“full rolling boil” means that it will continue to boil, even when being stirred).
It is important to stir this recipe as it cooks, because it will bubble up and could boil over.
Other than that, just prepare your jars for canning by sterilizing them according to the manufacturer’s instructions, keeping them hot until time to fill them. Always, of course, use new lids. This recipe requires a 10 minute water bath, once the jars are filled.
Since there are crushed red pepper flakes in this jelly they will float to the top of the jars once they come out of the water bath. In order to have the pepper flakes distributed throughout the jelly, once the jars have sealed and cooled, begin turning them onto their tops for about 30 minutes, and back again for 30 minutes. As the jelly begins to set, the pepper flakes will start to suspend themselves throughout the jelly. Notice in my photo how there are flakes all through. That’s what you’re looking for. This process should take about 6-8 hours.
Then, it’s ready! Slather some on some cream cheese, break out the crackers and go to town!
- 8 cups fresh apple juice/cider
- 6 cups granulated sugar
- 1 - 1.75 ounces packages of pectin (I used Sure-Jell)
- 8 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- Prepare your jars for canning by sterilizing them according to the manufacturer's instructions, keeping them hot until time to fill them.
- In a large stockpot, add the apple juice, sugar, pectin and stir to dissolve the sugar and pectin.
- Add the crushed red pepper flakes.
- Bring this mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, keeping a full rolling boil, stirring frequently, for 20-25 minutes (or until 220°F on a candy thermometer).
- Carefully ladle the hot mixture into your prepared jars, leaving ¼ of head space. Try to get an even amount of pepper flakes in each jar.
- With a sterilized cloth, wipe the rims of the jars, place the lids and rings on and place the jars in already boiling water in a canning kettle.
- Process in the boiling water bath for 10 minutes and remove to a surface covered with a towel to cool and for the tops to seal.
- After the jars are cool, begin turning them onto their tops for about 30 minutes, and back again for 30 minutes. As the jelly begins to set, the pepper flakes will start to suspend themselves throughout the jelly. This may take several hours to have the flakes suspended all throughout the jelly and the jelly to be firm.