Monday, August 6, 2012

Chili Pepper Apricot Jelly ~ Zingy!

A friend and I got from the Fruit yard, and she from her Grandpa's Tree. After canning a mulitude of the sweet little things, I whipped up a dream of a jam I've been wanting to make all spring. Sunrise Jam is a wonderful blend of strawberries, apricots, and pinapple. (tip for newbies, never use fresh pinapple, it will prevent set) I'm not sure if I have any left to sell, you can see on my Aria Gardens facebook page. Like me there and you can get small batch shout outs!

Chili Chopping - yes, I used frozen chilis - which would make you laugh if you know the current state of our outrageously abundant pepper crop. Seriously, if you are local and need peppers, just call!

I found a semi-slow moment and went to work finding a recipe. Here is the goofy part. We live in the fertile Great Central Valley of California. The valley is roughly the size of the state of Isreal. (ok, taking teacher hat off) We are used to FRESH fruit. Dried fruit is ok, but fresh? Well, no doubt that fresh is best best Best! So, every recipe I found for Apricot Pepper Jelly in my books and online....yes EVERY one called for dried apricots. Bother! So I decided to take a swing at improvising jelly, and going off of hints from a friend as well as advice on some gardening email loop somewhere I just made apricot jelly and added a cup of chopped peppers to the final product.
Apricots make my yellow sink look pretty ;)

Simmering the apricots

Straining the juice. It is definately time for me to get a bigger strainer!

Added the pepper and skimmed the foam off. Sadly, I did "catch" a few pepper bits amongst the foam. Foam isn't bad, it just makes the jam less sparkly clear. I usually add a bit of butter to each recipe to make reduce foaming. This just had a bit extra.

Ohhh is it good!
It would pair fabulously with cream cheese for a cracker spread.
It would elevate
a lunch box pb&j
to the gourmet.

I read that sugar reduces the heat. I would agree. This jam will not burn your socks off. =)

Fast forward a few weeks, and my little tree bore fruit. I made a couple of frozen pie fillings with those. For those of you with the Seasoned with Love cookbook, I use the Apricot Pie Filling under the Misc. category. It is simplicity itself. If you don't have that cookbook and are wishing for one, contact my talented friend Carolyn over at Gift of Simplicity - wonderful food blog. Always feel free to ask me for specific recipes, I'm really not secretive about them. I just am not a recipe blogger. Strange, but true.

Drumrolll.......and change of subject. The picture above is my segue.

I was out weeding in the zinnias with these helpers. I think Stephen was getting fussy, actually, I know, he was put out because he couldn't be out with David. Sweet Sarah went and got him a chair to sit in.

Now the pretty shots....I'm so thankful for these delightful zinnias. Maybe in a few years I'll tell you why. How's that for cryptic =)

They make a fabulous set of bouquets for a Birthday girl, my daughter, our kitchen table, jam backdrops....

Foodie question for you canners.

What is the one thing you will never not can (if you can help it)
What is something you dream of concocting to can?
What is the best thing you've canned so far?
Please answer any/all that apply!!!! =) Thank you for visiting. I will say that it has been a few comments about enjoying this that keeps me at it. It's quite tempting to quit and everytime I think I'm going to, something gets said. So Gracias! Have a wonderful week. And yes, there is more to come, always more. When I squeeze it in. Off to the laundry room...cherrio!


  1. We definitely prefer having our own home canned salsa on the shelf. A couple favorites I have canned are Hot Pepper Butter and Banana Split Topping. The hot pepper butter is great as a cracker spread when mixed with cream cheese or eaten right from the jar as a dip for chicken nuggets. The banana split topping is, of course, great on ice cream or also used as a spread on toast or pancakes/waffles. I've also played a bit with making syrups out of fruit juice.
    Keep on writing. It's fun to read about you and your family. Our 3 are close in age to your oldest 3. Melanie B

  2. I am surprisingly partial to the basics - green beans, applesauce, pears, peaches, salsa and I am sure there is more. I just can't stand the buying those items, for the taste and the price!
    Now that isn't to say I just love canning - but I have decided it is worth it after I ran out of all of it last year and had to buy it!
    I would like to have a really good spaghetti sauce recipe - that is the one thing I have yet to be satisfied with.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I really love reading your canning creations! You are so much braver than I am! Sticking to the basics is how I like it also. :)

  4. Ops - I forgot to add that I just LOVE your pictures of the lovely flowers in your garden! Are those white phlox (sp?) also? We had some beautiful pink ones growing up and they really are fun, lovely flowers!

  5. I intended to answer this thought question immediately upon reading this blog, but of course there was some distraction or other and forgot about it until your next blog, which I just read, shamed m into coming back here to follow up.

    I will probably never NOT can apricots. They are my hubby's very favorite fruit.

    That said, I will also probably never stop making pickles, either. Similar reason.

    One thing I have never yet canned, but would love to try some day, is pickled okra. My favorite type costs about $5 a pint, so I don't buy them very often.

    Best thing I have canned so far is relish: green tomato, zucchini, picallilly ...

    Biggest canning desire: a large pressure canner.

    Worst canning disaster: trying to can green beans without a pressure canner.

    Oh, and I never can jam. I make freezer jam. But I still enjoy reading about your jam making adventures.

    Keep blogging. I will keep reading. And sometimes I will comment. If I don't get interrupted. Or if you remind me.




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