Guest Post: Honey Sweetened Pepper Jam from Naturally Sweet Food in Jars

The following post is by Marisa McClellan, creator of the popular blog Food in Jars. Marisa is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated farmers market shopper who lives in Center City Philadelphia. She is the author of Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces, and most recently, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars. Find more of her jams, pickles, and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) on her website, Food in Jars.


Honey Sweetened Pepper Jam from Naturally Sweet Food in Jars on 100 Days of Real Food

I’m so pleased to be back, sharing another honey sweetened recipe on 100 Days of Real Food (two years ago, Lisa ran my recipe for Honey Sweetened Blueberry Jam!). This time, I’m here with a sweet and spicy recipe from my brand new cookbook, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars.

Honey Sweetened Pepper Jam from Naturally Sweet Food in Jars on 100 Days of Real Food

This new book is all about preserving seasonal produce using honey, maple sugar and syrup, agave, coconut sugar, fruit juice, and dried fruits in place of refined sugar. I had two goals when I set out to write this book. The first was to convert traditional favorites to use natural sweeteners and the second was to create new recipes that made the most of these highly flavored and less refined sweeteners.

Honey Sweetened Pepper Jam from Naturally Sweet Food in Jars on 100 Days of Real Food

This recipe for Hot Pepper Jam was one I created with that first goal in mind. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed a number of pepper jellies, but I’ve always bemoaned the amount of sugar necessary for their creation. This version uses honey in place of refined sugar and is satisfyingly sweet without being cloying.

Honey Sweetened Pepper Jam from Naturally Sweet Food in Jars on 100 Days of Real Food

When I’m feeling fancy, I’ll serve this pepper jam with a trio of fancy cheeses. For less elegant occasions, pairing it with a block of cream cheese (like you would traditional pepper jellies) is also a delicious and easy option. Whole wheat crackers, cucumber slices, and celery sticks are perfect vehicles to have alongside.

Honey Sweetened Pepper Jam from Naturally Sweet Food in Jars on 100 Days of Real Food

Any time you work with hot peppers, make sure to protect yourself and wear disposable gloves. Otherwise, the pepper oils will get all over your hands and you’ll be in for hours of discomfort. And no matter what, don’t touch your face while you’re wearing the pepper-infused gloves!

Honey Sweetened Pepper Jam from Naturally Sweet Food in Jars on 100 Days of Real Food

I went to high school in Portland, Oregon in the mid-1990s, in the era when the food cart culture for which it is now known was just getting started. There was a bento cart just across from my campus that served teriyaki chicken skewers perched on a bed of rice and dressed with warm teriyaki sauce and a generous pour of syrupy sweet hot chili sauce. This jam is my naturally sweetened homage to that chili sauce.

Honey Sweetened Pepper Jam

This recipe for hot pepper jam uses honey in place of refined sugar and is satisfyingly sweet without being cloying. Serve with fancy cheese or cream cheese
Prep Time: 35 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Print Recipe
Servings: 6 half pints

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds jalapeño (for more heat add a few habanero peppers to the mix)
  • 1 1/2 pounds red bell peppers (or orange) stems, seeds, and ribs removed
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups honey divided
  • 1 tablespoon calcium water
  • 1 tablespoon Pomona’s Pectin*

Instructions
 

  • Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 6 half-pint/250 ml jars.
  • Fit your food processor with its metal chopping blade. Wearing rubber or latex gloves, trim the tops off the jalapeños and put them in the bowl of the processor (depending on the size of your processor, you may need to work in batches).
  • Pulse the peppers until they are chopped into fine bits and put them in a large, non-reactive pot. Repeat with the bell peppers.
  • Add the vinegar, 1 1/2 cups/510 g honey, and calcium water to the pot, place it over high heat, and bring to a boil.
  • Cook at a rolling boil for 5 - 6 minutes, stirring regularly. While the jam cooks, mash the pectin powder into the remaining 1/2 cup/170 g honey.
  • After the initial cooking time is up, stir the pectin into the boiling jam. Boil for an addition 1 - 2 minutes, until the jam visibly begins to set.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and funnel the finished jam into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch/12 mm of headspace.
  • Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Notes

We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
*Link to - Pomona's Pectin
<details><summary>Nutrition Facts</summary>
Nutrition Facts
Honey Sweetened Pepper Jam
Amount Per Serving
Calories 435 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 17mg1%
Potassium 717mg20%
Carbohydrates 110g37%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 104g116%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 5180IU104%
Vitamin C 324.7mg394%
Calcium 37mg4%
Iron 1.5mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
</details>
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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12 thoughts on “Guest Post: Honey Sweetened Pepper Jam from Naturally Sweet Food in Jars”

  1. I found that my batch yielded much higher volume – 9 half pints. I’m concerned that my water(naturally from the peppers)/vinegar ratio was off because of this – making me less sure of my outcome acidity. Did anyone else find this to be the case? Anyone else concerned about this low-acid vegetable and relatively low acid recipe? Please share :)

  2. You do realize after cooking honey it does lose all it’s nutritional value making it no different than white sugar. Why not use an unrefined sweetener like coconut sugar or maple syrup that holds it’s nutritional value through the cooking process. I know people are looking for healthier sweetener options but honey is not a better option when cooking or baking.

  3. Mary Beth Douglas

    How long will this jelly keep because of the low sugar content? Should it be kept in the refrigerator or can it be kept in the pantry?

  4. Dana hartensteiner

    what happens if you don’t use the pectin or calcium water in this recipe? Can you still can the jam yourself?

    1. It is part of the Pomona’s Pectin system. Each box comes with a small packet of calcium powder and a larger packet of pectin powder. You mix 1/2 teaspoon of calcium powder with 1/2 cup of water and make a solution. All this information is also in the Pomona’s Pectin package insert.

  5. I’m so excited to find a great pepper jelly recipe without refined sugar!! Thank you, I can’t wait to try it!!!

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