Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker

I guess you could say I get a little Willie Wonka in the kitchen when it comes to making jams and jellies.  OH I followed the rules in the beginning.  Straight up recipes from that long folded up piece of paper in the Sure-Jel box or from my Ball Blue Book of Canning.  But that got boring and I quickly started mixing my fruits.  Just whatever odds and ends were left over from previous recipes that I had squirreled back into the fridge.  Those jellies were some of the tastiest.  The mixing of flavors were always a surprise because each batch came out slightly different depending on the what was added.  I was just good stuff!

Then one day I was running low on plum juice and happened to spy a bottle of red wine with a cup or so left.  Wine comes from fruit right.  Grapes right.  You can make jelly from grapes why not add that in.  Plum Drunk Jelly is the fastest moving jelly in our house.  And just like that my fascination with drunk jellies was born.

Last week I had the canning itch.  I needed to stand over a steamy pot of  hot, bubbling fruit and sugar and then put a lid on it!  I had bought a good deal of Arkansas peaches on a trip to Harp’s the week or so before and stuck them into the extra fridge.  There they sat quite preserved yet forgotten.  So when the need to get jamming struck me I grabbed them.

The juice was running to my elbows as I pealed and chopped so I new this was going to be a good jam.  And since I was highlighting a very traditional Southern fruit why not add in a very traditional Southern spirit.  Bourbon!

I cannot tell you how perfect this pairing is.  If you’ve never enjoyed a drink, dish or dessert showcasing these two then you are missing out.  As with most combination of fruit and liquor, the flavors intensify each other.

I haven’t come up with a good name for this jellied cocktail yet but the one thing you can definitely call it is good!

Confession: I ate that whole bowl by itself with a spoon! That good!

Putting up: blackberry wine jelly

I’ve decided one thing about jelly.  It taste better with a bit of wine mixed in. 
I’ve been using old leftover red wine to make a great jelly with plum juice.  I can’t remember why I did. I think I just got tired of plain ole plum jelly and wanted to find a use for the half empty bottles of red wine that seemed to accumliate.
Now for some people having leftover wine maybe a problem.  But it seems like the cheaper the wine and the longer it has set on my counter the better the jelly.
Sometimes it seems like there is so much sugar in a jelly or jam recipe that that’s all you really tast.  The sugar.

The wine helps cut the sweetness and enhance the fruit flavors.
I usually replace atleast a cup of the required fruit or juice with wine.  My drunk jellies and jams have always been a great hit.  They are just as good with cheeses as they are on a peanut butter sandwich.

Putting up: Confetti Pepper Jelly

I had a bounty of peppers this year.
Banana. Cayenne. Bell pepper.
Today I made good use of the huge basket of peppers I had picked a while back. They had been sitting in the extra fridge waiting for me to be inspired.
Yes I had to weed through a lot of them. To the compost heap go the spoils. I really should have gotten to them earlier. Wasteful.But with the usable peppers I made this beautiful tasty creation. 
I call it Confetti Pepper Jelly.
Like most of my recipes this one is a combination of this and that.  Snippets of what I know you need to know to make jelly work and a whole lot of praying. 

“Please let my jelly set.”  Or “Please let the jars ping.”

Confetti Pepper Jelly

4 cups minced peppers
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup white grape juice
6 cups of sugar
1 box of Sure-Jell powdered pectin

Prepare all your jars and lids. (Instructions can be found here).  And measure the sugar.
Mince a variety of colored peppers in your food processor or get those knives flying and hand chop them.  I also used a variety in spice levels too.  I used more banana and bell than the cayanne. 
Put the peppers, liquids, and powdered pectin in a big pot and heat on high.  Let everything come to a rolling boil that can’t be stirred down. 
Stir in the sugar all at once.  Let the mixture return to a big rolling foamy boil.  Set your timmer and let it boil for 1 minute.
Remove from the heat and ladel the hot jelly into your jars then seal.
This jelly smelled delicious as it was cooking and will taste heavenly with bread, crackers, chips, cheese, on sandwiches….. oh I could go on and on.