Pepper plants love heat, and the jalapenos, cayennes, bells, and wax peppers are just beginning to peak in my garden, thanks to warm nights and hotter days. I used all four varieties in a batch of hot pepper jelly, quite possibly the easiest jam/jelly/preserves to make from scratch. Get a box of Certo liquid pectin: the instructions are printed on the leaflet inside the package. Chopped peppers, cider vinegar, pectin, and sugar are the only ingredients. You don’t technically need canning jars, as long as you plan to store it in the freezer or fridge, and use it quickly.
But if you’d like to keep it for a while, or share it with friends, go ahead and bother with the canning jars. I bought some Ball Elite small, wide-mouth jars, which are perfect for pepper jelly. Easy to wash, easy to fill, and just big enough to share.
Pepper jelly makes a nice glaze for grilled chicken (brush it on 10 minutes before the chicken is done), a tasty dipping sauce for fried foods (try it on boudin balls or fried fish), a great addition to salad dressings, or sandwich spread in place of mayo. Or, fall back on the old southern standby: pour it over a block of cream cheese & serve with crackers.