Mama’s Hot Pepper Jelly

Mama's Hot Pepper Jelly

Mama's Hot Pepper Jelly

If you are looking for a fantastic hot pepper jelly, look no further. I have been making this version of hot pepper jelly for over 10 years and it is always a super hit when served. The flavour is complex with hints of apple, lemon, cranberry and peppers and a beautiful red colour is naturally produced when using only red peppers, whether hot or sweet, and the addition of cranberries. Think Christmas in September when making this jelly; it makes an excellent gift!
YIELD : 5-250 ml jars
WATER BATH PROCESSING TIME: 5 minutes for altitudes of 1000 feet or below. Adjust processing time for other altitudes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Water Bath Processing Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course condiment, snack
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 80 tablespoons
Calories 53 kcal


  • 12-litre stainless steel heavy bottomed pot
  • 8-litre stainless steel or larger heavy bottomed pot
  • rimmed baking sheet
  • large fine mesh strainer
  • cheesecloth
  • canning pot
  • wire basket or tray for the bottom of the canning pot
  • jar lift
  • magnetic wand for lid placement
  • funnel
  • 5-250 ml sterilized jars and metal rings
  • 5 snap lids
  • disposable gloves


  • 12 Granny Smith apples (about 4 lbs) cored, and cut into large wedges
  • 10 red serrano peppers or 7-8 orange or red habaneros (about 4 ounces) wearing disposable gloves cored, seeded and chopped (substitute- 8 red jalapenos for milder heat)
  • 2 cups red bell pepper cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon sliced leaving the peel on (I like to use organic lemons if I can find them)
  • 1 cup frozen cranberries you can use 1½ cups of cranberries for more cranberry colour and flavour
  • 3 cups white vinegar 5% acidity
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar or more the exact amount of sugar will be determined once you create the juice


To make the juice:

  • Add the chopped and sliced fruit, peppers, water and vinegar to a 12-litre pot. Bring to a boil and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the apple pulp has separated from the peels. Note: If you leave the lid on while the mixture is simmering you will get more juice. If you simmer with the lid off or slightly ajar you will get less juice but the flavour and colour of the jelly juice will be more concentrated.
  • Line a large fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth dampened with water. Pour the mixture into the strainer. Let drain for at least 30 minutes. Do not press on the mixture or your jelly will be cloudy.
  • This can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

To make the jelly:

  • Preheat your oven to 225°F.
  • Measure the juice and for every cup of juice, you will need ¾ cup of sugar. Process your jelly in batches if you have more than 5 cups of juice. (It will come to a gel point quicker in small batches.)
  • Note: If you process more than 5 cups of juice,in an 8-litre pot, it will boil over. In fact, to ensure that the jelly does not boil over wash out your 12-litre pot and use that to process the jelly.
  • Add the juice to the 8-litre stainless steel pot or to the cleaned 12-litre pot and bring it up to a boil.
  • While you are waiting for your juice to come up to a boil, pour the sugar on a rimmed baking sheet and warm in the oven for 10 minutes. (Usually once the sugar is warm, the jelly juice on the stove has started to boil.)
  • Once the juice is boiling, add the warmed sugar. Boil until the gel point is reached, about 15 minutes. To determine gel point, you can use a candy thermometer. When the thermometer reaches 220°F, your jelly should be ready to can. I like to just use a stainless steel spoon to determine if my jelly is ready. I run the spoon through the hot liquid and then turn the stainless steel spoon on its side. When the jelly forms droplets on the spoon edge, the jelly is done.
  • Fill each sterilized jar with the hot pepper jelly, leaving ¼" headspace.
  • Wipe each jar rim with a paper towel or cloth dampened with hot water.
  • Top each jar with a washed and briefly warmed snap lid. (I put the snap lid in boiling hot water for 30 seconds; this softens the seal.) Add the sterilized ring and tighten to finger tip tightness.
  • Process using the boiling water method in a canning pot for 5 minutes. (Make sure to start timing when the water returns to a full boil after adding the jars.)
  • Remove the jars using a jar lift and place on a cutting board. Do not disturb for 24 hours.
  • Remove the rings and inspect the jars. Wipe the jars clean with a soapy cloth. Store the hot pepper jelly without the rings in a dark cool place for up to a year. If any jars have failed to seal, store in the fridge and use immediately.



Serving: 1-tbspCalories: 53kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 43mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 139IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 3mgIron: 1mg
Keyword habanero, hot peppers, jelly, red pepper
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One Reply to “Mama’s Hot Pepper Jelly”

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made 3 batches and it turned out well every time. The first time I made it on an electric stove and it took ages to get to temperature. The next time I tried it on my mom’s gas stove and it was much better. I left the seeds in the habaneros for my last match to get it ad hot as possible!

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