We spent most of the month of October at our vacation home in Florida. That meant I could not fully enjoy the remainder of my garden's harvest. It had been rather cool at home while we were away with a couple of mild frosts while we were away. So, I was quite surprised to find ripe habanero, jalapeño and super chili peppers along with a few tomatoes when I checked the garden the day after we arrived home.
I dried the super chili peppers whole. A whole dried super chili pepper is ideal for adding a bit of heat to soups and stews. Just pop it in as is then remove when the dish is finished the same way you would with a bayleaf. The whole super chili peppers can also be crushed to use as hot pepper flakes. I actually ended up with another harvest a bit smaller than this one as well as a nice harvest of green tomatoes before the frost hit hard.
Habanero peppers are one of my favourite hot peppers. The local grocery store seldom carries them so I grow my own. The plants are compact making them perfect for growing using the square foot garden method. Yet they are prolific, problem free producers. I dry, pickle and freeze them. One of the best ways of preserving habanero peppers is making hot pepper jelly. It is a firey golden, translucent jelly with colourful bits suspended throughout. The jars look like they are filled with golden jewels. This really is a must have home canned product!
I really like using the squatty Bernardin/Ball Elite line of 250 ml jars for hot pepper jellies because they double as a serving bowl for entertaining. The jelly looks equally as nice in the taller 250 ml jelly jars and for gift giving, the 125 ml mini jars work nicely. I really wouldn't can hot pepper jelly in jars larger than 250 ml.
Habanero Gold Jelly
modified from: Bernardin Complete Guide of Home Preserving (2006)
1/3 c finely sliced dried apricots
3/4 c white vinegar
1/4 c finely chopped red onion
1/4 c red bell pepper
1/4 c seeded habanero peppers
3 c organic granulated sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin
1/4 tsp butter (optional)
Slice the dried apricots then combine with vinegar in a large stainless steel saucepan. Cover and let stand at least 4 hours. Finely chop the red onion, red bell pepper and habanero pepper. Stir the prepared vegetables into the apricot mixture. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin and butter. Boil hard, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam. Stir for 5 minutes to distribute the vegetables throughout the jelly. Ladle into hot prepared jars. Place lids and rings on the jars. Tighten rings finger tight if using the metal snap lids. Tighten rings finger tight then turn back 1/4 inch if using Tattler lids or glass inserts. Process in boiling water batch canner for 10 minutes. Remove from canner. Do not adjust rings if using metal snap lids. If using Tattler lids or glass inserts, fully tighten the rings immediately after removing jars from the canner. Let the jars cool undisturbed for 24 hours. Remove the rings and test the sea. Wash rings and jars then dry well. Rings can be put on the jars loosely for storage if desired.
Yield: 3 - 250 ml jars