Food Gifts #1~ Mema’s Pepper Jelly

Hot Pepper Jelly has long been a staple at holiday celebrations at my Mema’s house for as long as I can remember. What is so funny to me is I don’t even really care for peppers! But this luminescent green jelly poured over cream cheese and served with butter crackers is just yummy! This is a great stand-by if you have unexpected guest. There are a few things you may want to consider before making this:

1. It is EASY!!
2. Your family & possibly the neighbors may think you are whipping up Mustard Gas as the smell of boiling vinegar will knock you out!
3. It makes quit A LOT! I made mine in 4 oz mason jars and filled almost a dozen.
4. You can totally control the heat by the amount of jalapeno or hot pepper you use. If you and your people love heat, add more, if you are like me and don’t like to much use less! 

Mema’a Pepper Jelly

3/4 c green peppers, pureed in food processor 3-5 peppers
1/4 c hot pepper, pureed (jalapenos, from the garden) 
2 c cider vinegar
5 c sugar
6 oz liquid fruit pectin

Blitz peppers in food processor. Add all ingredients except pectin,bring to a rolling boil, remove from heat and let stand 5 mins, all the “gunk” will rise to top, skim off and discard. Add pectin, mix well and add to hot jars. Delish!!

What to do with ALL these TOMATOES?

I mean seriously? I wanted the garden to do well, but this is crazy! I dare to say I have had enough! I can’t even think about a tomato sandwich at the moment! So, I am getting creative and am making things. I took the white bowl of cherry tomatoes and made TOMATO JAM! Yes, it sounds odd, I know but it is really quit savory almost like something that would be an awesome addition to a cheese platter or served with crusty bread and roasted chicken. I have been OBSESSED with finding a recipe for this after hearing it mentioned and finally found a starting point when I found . Thank-you for getting me started.

Tomato Jam
1 lb tomatoes
1/2 c brown sugar
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 lime, squeezed
1 Tb fresh thyme
Place all ing in a non-stick pot and bring to a boil reduce down to a simmer and let go for about a hour. It will thicken. I had enough to taste yum-eeeee and to fill to small jelly jars. I think this will be a wonderful addition to my Holiday Food Baskets!!
Tomato Stew/Soup Starter
This is a really easy way to use your extra tomatoes without the hassle or confusion as to where to store all those jars! I use quart size freezer bags and each bag is a wonderful start to my Homemade Veggie Soup (Tori Darlin’s Recipe will share later!)

6-8 tomatoes, peeled, cored & seeds removed
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 med onion, diced
1 bayleaf
3 Tb sugar
2 Tb red wine vinegar
1 cup chicken broth (or whatever you have on hand)
Toss everything in your good ole crockpot and let simmer on low for about 8hrs.