I was at the library and saw a gorgeous book on display that I just had to bring home-its called You Can Can by Better Homes and Gardens.
Its full of beautiful pictures of jams, jellies and other preserves--very inspirational. I was looking through it and found the perfect gift for my friends/neighbors this year. Jalapeno Jelly! I like to do homemade items, but I wasn't too excited to do repeats of projects from past years (cherry syrup, applesauce, chocolate popcorn etc...) and I thought how unique a gift this would be. Its really quite tasty with crackers and cream cheese (or goat cheese!) Its also tasty on a cornbread muffin or on a turkey sandwich. It was really simple to make--total hands on time was about 30 minutes from start to finish.
1 1/2 C. cranberry juice (not low sugar)
1 C. cider vinegar
2-4 jalapeno peppers cut in half (seeded or not...depends on how spicy you like it. I used 2 peppers and cut off the stem end and left the rest of the seeds)
5 C. sugar
1 3oz pkg of liquid pectin (Certo)
1. In a small saucepan bring the juice, vinegar and peppers to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Pour the mix through a strainer to remove the pepper pieces (if you have less than 2 cups of liquid left, top off with juice to make 2 cups exactly).
3. In a 6-qt saucepan mix the sugar and hot juice mixture and bring to a rolling boil while stirring.
4. Add the liquid pectin and return to a boil and keep stirring for 1 minute.
5. Remove from heat, skim off the foam.
6. Pour into sterilized 1/2 pint jars
7. Process for 5 minutes (or just give it out right away and tell folks to refrigerate)
The recipe made enough for 12 of those 4 oz jelly jars. I was able to use a coupon for the juice and the peppers were less than $1! Great inexpensive gift.
I will warn you that the boiling of jalapenos and vinegar is strong...so don't stand directly over the pot in that first step.