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Mayhaw Pepper Jelly with powdered pectin

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Mayhaw Pepper Jelly with powdered pectin

(Good to serve over cream cheese with crakers)

  • 4 cups mahaw juice (see Making Mayhaw Juice below)
  • 1 package powdered pectin
  • 5 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh, seeded, chopped jalepeno peppers
  • 1/4 cup fresh, seeded, chopped red hot chili peppers (or other red hot peppers)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar

Yield: About 6 half-pint jars

Please read Using Pressure Canners and Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure: Sterilize canning jars and prepare two-piece canning lids according to manufacturer's directions.

Add pectin and 1/2 cup of the sugar to mayhaw juice. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add remainder of sugar and bring to 200F (a simmering boil). Simmer for 15 minutes. Skim foam. Add chopped peppers and vinegar. Simmer for 20 minutes longer. Pour quickly into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner.

Making Mayhaw Juice

Amount to Gather: One gallon (4 quarts) or about 4 1/2 pounds of mayhaws will yield about 12 cups of strained, flavorful juice, enough for three batches of jelly. Two quarts of mayhaws cooked will yield 6 cups of fruit and about 2 cups of pulp when the drained fruit is put through a food mill.

Cooking Mayhaws for Juice, Jelly or Syrup: The most important thing in making jelly is to begin with a juice (jelly stock) that has a full-bodied, mayhaw flavor. If too much water is used in cooking, the unique fragrance and taste will not match up to what is expected in quality jelly.

To Prepare Juice or Jelly Stock: Sort mayhaws, removing decayed fruit and trash. You can leave the tiny stems and dark blossom end on the fruit. Wash thoroughly. Measure or weigh fruit and put in large saucepan. For each gallon (4 quarts or about 4 1/2 pounds) of mayhaws, cover with 3 quarts (12 cups) of water. For 2 quarts of fruit (a little over 2 pounds), cover with 6 cups water.

Bring to a boil, cover and cook gently for about 30 minutes. Cool and drain juice first through a colander, pressing fruit lightly with the back of a spoon. Then strain the juice through two or three thicknesses of damp cheesecloth, through a jelly bag or a clean thin white cloth. Leave the sediment which settles to the bottom. From 1 gallon of mayhaws you should have about 12 cups of strained juice.

Freezing Mayhaw Juice

It's easy to freeze the juice for making fresh jelly year round. Put 4 cups of juice (for one batch of jelly) in an airtight container--glass jar, rigid plastic container or heavy plastic freezer bag. Leave 1/2 inch headspace in rigid containers or 1 inch in glass jars to prevent breakage.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Mayhaw Pepper Jelly in a boiling water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Half-pints
or Pints
5 min 10 15

Making Jelly