Cranberry-Habanero Jelly

cranberryhabanerojellyExcerpted from Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy  (Fair Winds Press, June 2013)

Allison says: “Hot pepper aficionados will appreciate the distinctive kick of this habanero pepper jelly, yet it’s mild enough that it can be enjoyed by those who like only very small amounts of heat. The cranberries add a brilliant red hue to this translucent, yellow-flecked jelly. Served with cream cheese and crackers, it makes a gorgeous and spicy addition to any appetizer table. Remember, for canning safety, do not increase the quantity of any peppers in this recipe.”

Yield: 4 to 5 cups

Before You Begin:
Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

Cranberry-Habanero Jelly Ingredients

¼ cup finely chopped cranberries
1 ¼ cups seeded, finely diced yellow bell pepper
2 teaspoons seeded, minced habanero pepper
1 ½ cups white vinegar
2 ½ cups sugar, divided
2 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin powder
2 teaspoons calcium water

Cranberry-Habanero Jelly Directions

1. Wash your jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring canner to a rolling boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.) Reduce heat and allow jars to remain in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan, heat to a low simmer, and hold until ready to use.

2. Combine chopped cranberries, diced yellow pepper, minced habanero pepper, and vinegar in a saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer, still covered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. In a separate bowl, combine pectin powder with ½ cup of the sugar. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

4. Add calcium water to the pepper mixture, mix well, and return the mixture to a full boil over high heat. Slowly add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin while the jelly returns to a boil. After the pectin is fully dissolved, add the remaining quantity of sugar and stir to dissolve it. Once sugar is dissolved, and the jelly returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.

5. Can Your Jelly: Remove jars from canner and ladle jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, put on lids and screw bands, and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower filled jars into canner, ensuring jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Place lid on canner, return to a rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes. (Add 1 extra minute of processing time for every 1000 feet above sea level). Turn off heat and allow canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that jars have sealed, then store properly.

TIP: Holy Hotness!
Habanero peppers are about as hot as they come, and getting even a little on your skin can be quite painful. Always wear gloves when working with them, do not let them come in contact with any part of your body (especially your eyes). Use common sense to keep safe and pain free!

You may also like: Pepper Jam – Hot As You Like!, Raspberry-Habanero Jam; Peach-Jalapeno Jelly, or Pepper Jelly with Agave and Stevia.

For more inspiring recipe ideas, see Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin: The Revolutionary Low-Sugar, High-Flavor Method for Crafting and Canning Jams, Jellies, Conserves, and More by Allison Carroll Duffy and the Pomona’s Partners, published by Fair Winds Press, June 2013, and available in paper or ebook everywhere books are sold.

Pomona’s Pectin is available at your local natural food store, food co-op, and many farm stands. Find it also at Sur La Table and a growing number of more conventional grocery stores with natural food sections (Wegmans, Hy-Vee, Rosauers, Nugget Markets, Coborns, Fairway, and others). If you can’t find a store near you on our store locator, you can order from our website or many other online sellers.

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13 thoughts on “Cranberry-Habanero Jelly

  1. Hi, I juiced a lot of elderberries in my steam juicer and am looking for an elderberry-hot pepper jelly or syrup recipe. Do you think this one would work?

    • Hello Elisha,

      Thanks so much for reaching out! We believe our Peach-Jalapeno Recipe would be easily converted to an Elderberry-Jalapeno Jelly. Simply replace the 4 cups of peach juice with 4 cups of your delicious elderberry jelly. We have never done this swap before, so we would love to hear how it goes if you decide to give it a go.

      Happy jamming!

    • Hello Dorothy,
      That sounds delicious! Yes, switching one for the other should work just fine, just make sure that the amount of liquid is the same.

      Happy jamming!

  2. Can I freeze this? I’m not a canner type, more of a freezer type. I used to can but quit when a whole batch of pickles didn’t come out right.

  3. Just need to confirm that this recipe calls for ONLY one quarter cup chopped cranberries? Somehow that seems like a very small quantity to me. TKS!

    • Hi Joanie,
      Yes, that is correct — 1/4 cup finely chopped cranberries.

      Basically, this is a hot pepper jelly, not a jam — cranberries give color and a small amount of flavor, but the jelly is mainly the peppers, vinegar, and sugar.

      I hope this answers your question. Happy Holidays — and happy jamming!

  4. I was wondering if I can use all habanero peppers or hotter peppers in this recipe if I want it hotter? Also if I can use honey in place of the sugar? Sounds like a great combination of flavors.

    • Dear Calista,
      Yes, you can make the ratio of peppers in this recipe whatever you want as long you don’t exceed total peppers of 1 1/4 cups + 2 teaspoons. The pH of the recipe was tested with that amount, so if you were to use more, we wouldn’t know if it was safe for water bath canning.

      Also, you can substitute honey for the sugar. We would suggest you stir the pectin into 1/2 cup of honey and add another 1 cup (or less, depending on your taste) after the pectin is dissolved. At that point you could taste and see if it is sweet enough. You could add a little more than 1 1/2 cups total but not too much as too much liquid sweetener can interfere with jelling.

      In addition, since neither we nor Allison has made the jelly as you want to, we can’t guarantee the flavor — hard to see how it wouldn’t be delicious though!

      If you do make it hotter and with honey, would love to hear how it turns out and how you like it.

      Happy Jamming and thanks for using Pomona’s.

      • I made this recipe today only using all habanero peppers, and honey instead of sugar. This turned out to have a great heat level for someone like myself who loves hot rather than sweet foods. I love the tartness of the cranberry mixed with the beautiful flavor notes of the habanero pepper.

        • Calista -thank you so much for asking the question and posting your results! This is almost exactly what I want to try, now I feel sure it will work.

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