Spicy Red Pepper Jelly

Dear Red Pepper Jelly,

We love you.


This recipe (and plenty others) have come from my most favorite boss (and friend) at work. In our house, this stuff is like liquid crack. After I have fought the darkness for 30 minutes and Kennedy has fallen to sleep, this is often the reason I find to remove myself from the warmth of the bed.This, with some Point Reyes Original Blue, has been a staple on Game of Thrones nights. Red Pepper Jelly is really easy to make, and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients or effort. Before I found this recipe, a lot of the red bells from the garden were going to waste because they all tend to ripen at the same time… and it was a great excuse to use some hot peppers too. Anyhow, I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I do.

3 Red bell peppers
A few red hot peppers
1 cup white vinegar
3 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
(Pectin is quicker, but optional)

DIRECTIONS (makes 3-4 jars):

  1. Remove the seeds and veins from the bell peppers and pulse them in the food processor until the bell pepper is finely chopped (not paste).
  2. Combine peppers, vinegar, salt, and sugar and bring to a low boil. Continue to cook until the mixture has thickened to your preference (about 30 minutes) and put in canning jars. You can test the thickness by putting a little on a dish in the freezer for a few minutes, to see how it looks. The Jelly will thicken as it cools. If you prefer to use Pectin, skip this step and do number 3 (below) instead.
  3. Combine peppers, vinegar, salt, and sugar and bring to a rapid boil for 5 minutes. Gradually add 3 tablespoons of Sure- Jell (I prefer the pink no-sugar) box, and return to boil for 2 minutes. Put in canning jars.
  4. Seal and process jars for 15 minutes in a water bath.

FYI: I would error on the side of adding more hot peppers than you think you will need; it has never turned out as hot as I expected.

Homemade Grape Jelly

Who doesn’t love grape jelly? Me! Uh… Well… Ok. I can’t say I LOOOOVE grape jelly, but I like it, and when you have a bathtub full of grapes that will go bad before you can eat them, then you learn to LOOOOVE grape jelly. This recipe is fairly standard, tastes great, uses less sugar than other recipes, and is pretty freaking simple. I did write this under the assumption that you have a large pot for canning, the basic tools, and have read at least a basic guide to canning that can be followed. Basically, what I’m saying is, I’ll tell you what to put in the jar, and you have to know how to make the jar seal. mmmmkay.

5 cups grape juice (approx 5lbs grapes)
1 1/2 cups water
1 box Sure-Jell no sugar needed pectin (Pink box)
3 1/2 cups sugar

1. Be a Martha F’n Stewart and grow yourself about 5 pounds of grapes.
2. Beg others to remove grapes from stems; I recommend children and in-laws, but anyone with hands will do. Please note, those are not my hands (Thanks Bronda!).

3. Rinse off all signs of squirrels, birds, rats, and other grape thieving beings. No joking. If I recently gave you grape jelly, I watched rats feasting on them last week. Do you trust me?
4. Blend in food processor and add to pot with 1 1/2 cups water. Boil 10 minutes.

5. Strain and squeeze out the grape vomit until you have 5 cups juice.
6. Return juice to pot and add 1 box pectin. Mix.
7. Bring back to a boil, add sugar, boil for one minute, and remove from heat.
8. Add to 8 oz jars, seal, process in a water bath for 5 minutes.


Adventures in (Dill) Pickling

Dill Pickles. Truth be told, I’ve never pickled or jellied or anything of the sort and have no idea why, after turning 35, I’ve decided to become an old lady. And, if I continue my truth-ing, I don’t actually like pickles. My dad use to put bread & butter pickles in my tuna, so that does have some essence of nostalgia for me, but that’s about the totality of my pickle desires. I have, however, watched Snooki and Anna Nicole Smith make sweet sweet love to some pickles while watching some sad reality TV, and have some appreciation for their lusting, so I decided to add “Pickler” to my CV.


6 1-Quart Canning Jars with Lids
1 Large Water bath Canner
1 Medium Saucepan (for Brine)
6-pc Canning set
1 Plate for Lids
Measuring Cups / Spoons


6 cups White vinegar
6 cups Water
8 tbsp. Pickling salt

12 lbs. Pickling cucumbers (approximately 5 cucumbers per jar)
12 Garlic cloves, peeled
24-30 Fresh dill strands (4-5 strands per jar)
3 tsp. Whole black peppercorns
12 Dried red pepper pods (I used Chile Japones)
6 Fresh grape leaves


  1. Fill a Large Water-Bath Canner (with rack) half with water and put it on the stove.
  2. Remove lids, fill all jars with water, add them to the (still cold) water bath, and turn stove on high to bring to a boil.
  3. Prep all Cucumbers; wash, cut ends, slice if desired.
  4. In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar, water, and salt to a boil. Maintain heat.
  5. Place lids on a deep plate and cover with a little of the boiling water. This will warm and prepare the lids to ensure a good seal.
  6. Lift the rack on the Water-Bath Canner. You are going to prepare one jar at a time, in effort to keep each jar hot. Remove a jar from the boiling water and empty it into a spare pot; this water can be used to ensure there is enough water to cover the jars in the water bath.
  7. In each jar, add 1 small grape leaf, 2 cloves garlic, 4-5 dill strands, 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns, and 2 dried red pepper pods.
  8. Pack cucumbers tightly in each jar.
  9. Pour hot brine over cucumbers, leaving 1/4 inch room on the top.
  10. Wipe sweat from your brow, tell yourself not to panic, and pray for no Botulism. Seriously though, canning for the first time is stressful. I don’t know how the cute little silver-tips do it.
  11. Wipe the top of jar with a clean damp cloth, and add hot lid and band.
  12. Place in hot water bath and process for 10 minutes at a rolling boil. Remove jars and place on a towel overnight. In the morning, check to ensure that the jars are sealed by pressing down on the center of the lid; if you hear a “pop” sound, swear profusely, and consider a new hobby.

Disclaimer: Since these need to sit approximately 2 weeks before eating, if after 2 weeks you never hear from me again, do NOT make these pickles. You have been warned. ENJOY!