Yesterday we ran an epic One on One with singer Kelly Hogan, and among other things, she gushed about her mother’s famed Habanero Gold hot pepper jelly, which she said deserves its street drug-like name. She also mentioned that it’s pretty darn spicy. Kelly speaks the truth – these chiles are HOT. Wear rubber gloves! I didn’t even chop them myself (that’s what spouses are for, right?) and somehow I got a microbe on my finger and in my mouth and it burned for hours.
Once the pectin was added it instantly turned into a thick gel. (Don’t mind the burned bits – a lesson to not walk away from the stove and start Instagramming those pretty peppers.)
I only got two jars out of this batch — one 2 cup and one 1 cup — so three standard jars, really. I like to sanitize them by running them through the dishwasher, then using them when they’re just out and nice and hot. If you want to process them, do — otherwise just store them in the fridge or freezer.
I’ll leave the recipe itself to Kelly. Here’s what she sent us, a recipe that her mother generously agreed to share:
“BEFORE YOU MAKE THIS JELLY — warning! You will need some of those disposable surgical gloves and goggles and a ventilated space for prepping the habanero peppers! Take it from me! IT’S HOT STUFF that you don’t want in your eyes (or near your groin!)
Also, make sure you read through this whole recipe/process first — especially if you’ve never canned anything before. Make sure you have all your equipment ready. It’s definitely a “process” but it gets easier every time you do it, and is a fun recipe to do with a buddy — helps with the assembly line nature of the whole thing, and you both get to share the wealth afterwards.
Speaking of the buddy-system, when my friend Nora and I first made this recipe (in addition to almost suffocating ourselves, her toddler, and my dog because we forgot to ventilate the kitchen) our jelly didn’t quite gel all the way, but was still incredible-tasting and worked. So don’t worry about your texture. It’s all good.
I’ve swerved this recipe before — you can add a little finely chopped garlic (sweet smushy roasted garlic is especially good here) and/or shallots, and even a little finely chopped ginger, if you wanna get Asian with it. The recipe is also easily doubled. Might as well, if you’re gonna go to all this trouble anyhow.
Got your goggles and gloves? Got a window open and a fan on? Got a nice clear work space? Okay — GO!
Habanero Gold Jelly
You’ll need 8 sterilized half-pint canning jars and 8 rings/lids and 2 large stainless steel pots (or one big pot and one canner).
1/3 cup finely sliced dried apricots
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup finely chopped and seeded habanero pepper
3 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch (3 oz. /85 mL) liquid pectin
1. THE NIGHT BEFORE: in a large, deep stainless steel pot, combine apricots and vinegar. Cover and let stand overnight (or at least 4 hours) — very important for letting the apricots plump up.
2. Add red onion and habaneros to apricots. Stir in sugar. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat quickly and skim off foam with large spoon.
4. Quickly pour hot jelly into hot sterilized half pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight (I called my mom back for clarification about that, and she says it’s a canning term for “really tight”)
5. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool in rows on the counter top. You’ll hear the satisfying little pings as the jars seal. If you have a jar that doesn’t seal, you can repeat the process, or just put it in the fridge and use that jelly within a week or so.
MAKES 8 HALF-PINT JARS
Here are some tips for sterilizing jars and lids.
And some good tips for winging it, if you don’t have a canner.
I know it might seem like a lot of work, but it’s SO worth it. Scads of passionate testimonials upon request!”
Thanks so much to Kelly! Kelly Hogan is currently on tour with Neko Case’s band (catch her on stage left!), who will resume their tour right here in Calgary at the Sled Island Music Festival on June 20. From there they’ll be playing some dates in the States before jetting off to Europe. Be sure to catch them if you can!