The Beneficiary: Pepper Jam

There are three basic states of projects in or from the garden: the instigator, the doer, and the beneficiary. For most of the posts I have played some combination of all three. Sometimes I only play one role. For this post I am only the eventual beneficiary, well, and maybe a bit of an instigator.

One of the last weeks at the farmers’ market one of our favorite stands had fantastic looking bell peppers. Red ones, purple ones, yellow ones, and some a combination of colors. They were big and ready. One of the things my Mom has made for years is a pepper jam. For as long as I can remember it has always been red. While walking around the market I inquired whether we could make the pepper jam out of those peppers. It didn’t take much convincing. We picked up enough for a double batch and took them home. Unfortunately we were not ready to make the pepper jam while at the house by the garden so all the peppers and a few homegrown hot peppers came south to be transformed during the week.

Making the jam, while not hard, is somewhat time-consuming. The peppers need to be chopped and salted, then they sit there draining for hours before they are cooked. This made it hard for me to go over to my parent’s house to help and is why I did not participate in making the pepper jam. One Thursday, Mom made the jam and took the photos. We have started adding a little spice to the recipe even though the original recipe did not call for any spicy peppers. We think it tastes much better with a little spice because the spicy touch cuts through some of the sweetness. Plus, we have lots of hot peppers. We haven’t tried this batch yet but it looks great and I am sure it will taste even better. It goes great on crackers with a little cream cheese or cheddar, or what ever type happens to be your favorite.

As I write this I have six habanero peppers in my fridge and another six or so ripe ones on the plant. Twelve habanero peppers is probably more than I have collectively used up to this point in life. Any ideas, other than freezing, of what I can use that many peppers for? I have already smoked and dried some, which have been ground with some of my chipotles into a hot pepper powder (more on that in a week or so). I had hoped the smoking and drying would take enough of the heat away for candy. When the peppers are dried, I butterflied them first, they are very thin and crunchy. I was thinking of dipping them in a homemade chewy caramel and then into dark chocolate. After trying a little bit of the smoked and dried habanero I think 1/2 of one would be too hot for me. If it is too hot for me it will be too hot for most people I know, especially those I am likely to share homemade candy with. I guess I will have to find some new recipes for habaneros.

Sometimes being the beneficiary is a good role to play. We are thinking of growing pimento and alma paprika peppers next summer so maybe I will be able to play additional roles then.

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One thought on “The Beneficiary: Pepper Jam

  1. Dad

    Mark. Nice blog. I like how you put the photos of the initial fruit or vegetables, the in-progress photos and the finished product photos, all accompanied by an informative narrative.

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