get fresh recipes by email:
Sweet and spicy, festive and fruity, this pepper and cranberry jelly is a perfect holiday aperitif.
Today I share a vacation touch on my favorite pepper jelly recipe, adding fresh cranberries for a unique flavor and a beautiful ruby red color. Despite the mixture of peppers and cranberries, it's still a pepper jelly first and foremost, rather than a spicy cranberry sauce (let's just clarify this from the getgo).
Look, I know I just posted a pepper jelly recipe 2 minutes ago (in fact, it was 2 month there is, but we all know that in this alternate universe, we live in time no longer makes sense so ...)
The thing is, the peppers keep coming. It's mid-November and we're still getting loads of hot and sweet peppers with our CSA deliveries every two weeks from Caney fork farm. Circumstances made me extremely aware of food waste, and that, coupled with the fact that I really don't like peppers very much (so chase me), led to batch after batch of pepper jelly (which has at least less the benefit of being stable and more readily offered than the fresh peppers themselves). I've done so much I'm running out of pots (oh, the horror!)
This holiday twist pairs tangy cranberries with sweet and spicy red peppers and just a hint of orange zest. I used mostly sweet red peppers, with two red cayenne peppers thrown in for just a hint of heat (but you can easily customize this recipe to be as spicy as you want, as long as the final amount prepared of peppers is the same, regardless of the proportion of hot or sweet).
It can often be difficult to judge in advance the heat level of the pepper jelly, especially since no two peppers are the same in terms of heat level.
But here's a tip: While you're preparing your hot peppers (with gloves on, please !!) place a small piece on your tongue and let it sit. If you have a little heat but nothing unbearable, you can probably use 4-6 without the jelly getting too spicy. However, if your tongue starts to tingle with a lingering burn, it means you have a hot one on your hands, and it would probably be a good idea to limit it to 1 or 2 for the entire batch. Because there is definitely a difference between pleasant warmth and… pure pain.
Now let's be clear: this is cranberry pepper jelly, NOT a spicy cranberry sauce. It tastes like pepper jelly first and foremost, with the cranberries providing an underlying flavor and fruitiness as well as a deeper red color.
I don't see it replacing the traditional cranberry sauce on your holiday table, but rather it would be a great appetizer to stave off hunger before the big meal. Serve it with crackers and soft cheese (goat cheese being my favorite), or a spoonful on a wheel of melted brie. It's also a fantastic grilled cheese (ok ok, maybe it goes great with cheese in all forms).
And don't forget to bookmark the recipe for next year, because it's sure to be the star of the cheese board at your big holiday party.
I cut this recipe down because, unlike classic cranberry sauce, pepper jelly is best enjoyed by the spoonful, not the spoonful. That said, be aware that it can easily be doubled and canned for year round enjoyment (for canning instructions, follow the procedure for my original pepper jelly recipe here).
If you need labels, I didn't design anything new for this recipe because I chose not to, but the editable version of my sweet and spicy pepper jelly labels would be super easy to adapt to say cranberry pepper jelly instead.
Pepper and cranberry jelly
Sweet and spicy, festive and fruity, this cranberry pepper jelly is a perfect holiday aperitif.
- 3/4 cup finely chopped red peppers, a mixture of hot and mild peppers to taste
- 1/2 cup (2 oz / 58 g) whole cranberries, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
- 1 3/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon Pomona Universal Pectin
- 1 teaspoon of calcium water *
- To prepare the peppers, remove the stems and seeds and finely chop them in a food processor. You can vary the proportion of sweet and spicy peppers, or even use fully sweet peppers, as long as you have a total of 3/4 cup of finely chopped pepper. Also mix the cranberries in the food processor until finely chopped.
- In a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sugar and pectin until evenly incorporated.
- Combine the peppers, cranberries, orange zest and apple cider vinegar in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes to soften the peppers.
- Add calcium water and increase the heat to medium-high; bring to a full boil, then whisk in the sugar / pectin mixture, stirring vigorously until completely dissolved and the mixture returns to a boil.
- Stir in the remaining sugar and bring to a full boil. It should be noticeably thickened.
- At this point, the jelly can be transferred to washed and sterilized jars, and be treated in a water bath if desired (see here for full instructions). Otherwise, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or frozen for up to 6 months.
* Calcium powder for making calcium water is included with Pomona brand pectin.
There may be affiliate links in this article. We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide us with a means of earning fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliate sites.
If you’re a regular cook, you’ll know the “eureka” feeling when you discover a way to cut an everyday kitchen task in half. As our cookery team has spent so many hours writing and triple-testing recipes, they’ve picked up a fair few tricks and tips along the way, so we asked them to impart their wisdom…
You probably already know that adding a dash of vinegar to egg poaching water helps coagulate the white. But did you know that adding a dash of vinegar to the water when boiling eggs helps the shell peel off more easily ? Say goodbye to piles of tiny egg shell shards. Test this tip out with one of our egg recipes.
A pizza blade can be wheeled through a sheet of pastry or bread dough with ease, saving you the expense of buying shaped cutters, or having to fiddle around, twizzling the point of a knife into strange angles.
‘Hard’ herbs like rosemary and thyme can be frozen whole. When you come to use them, they’ll naturally crumble into pieces, bypassing the mezzaluna completely. Try this recipe for lemon, pancetta
If your brown sugar has clumped into pieces, place a piece of soft white bread in the packet and the sugar will break back down into sandy granules in a few hours. to stop it happening again, make sure the storage space is nice and dry.
Save yourself the disappointment of an un-squeezy lemon by microwaving it whole for around 20-30 seconds on high. It’s just enough time to release the juices, but be careful not to go overboard and dry the flesh out. Try one of our zesty lemon recipes.
If you have plain flour in the cupboard, you always have bread on hand. Just take one mug of plain flour combined with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil per person, then slowly add cold water until it’s a soft, smooth dough which leaves the bowl clean. Divide the dough into balls, roll out to a 2mm thickness then dry fry in a non-stick pan. They’ll only take a few instants and are ready when both sides have golden brown patches all over.
While the hard rind of cheese such parmesan, pecorino and Grana Padano is difficult to grate, it’s a shame to waste such an expensive byproduct. But there’s no need to. Add the rind whole when you’re sweating onions in the first stage of making a risotto or sauce. It will impart lots of its flavour but save you taking to it with a chainsaw. Don’t forget to remove it before serving though…Try using cheese rind in a risotto recipe.
Make your own dried breadcrumbs by grating stale bread on the coarse side of a grater, then spread the crumbs in a thin layer over a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes at 140C, giving them a good shake halfway through. The golden, crispy crumbs will last in a sealed container for up to two weeks. Try our wild garlic chicken Kiev recipe made with panko breadcrumbs.
If you need your meat injected with a short, sharp burst of flavour, choose marinade ingredients wisely. Red wine quickly penetrates meat, giving it a deep colour, while citrus zest and juice tenderises it rapidly.
Not enough space for your party loot ? Save space for food by putting drinks into big tubs, buckets and bowls filled with salted ice water – the salt will cause the temperature to drop, giving you icy cold drinks in seconds. Browse our petit cocktail recipes for drinks inspiration.
Spruce up a shop-bought block of shortcrust by popping it into a food processor with a flavouring like herbs, vanilla, cheese, cocoa powder, honey or spice. All great additons to give your pastry an edge.
Bypass pencil outlines and fiddly scissors when lining a springform cake tin ( that’s one with a clippable ring and removeable base ). Lay the parchment onto the flat base of the tin, then press down and clamp the ring into place on top of it, leaving the edges around the outside to easily tear off. Try the clamping technique with this showstopping courgette, lemon
We love a stripy rainbow cake, but it’s perhaps one for an experienced baker to take on. If you want your sponge to sing with Technicolor joy but need an easier route to success, pick up a tub of multi-coloured hundreds and thousands. Mix some through your sponge batter ( not too many ) and when you cut a slice of your finished cake, you’ll have beautiful polka dots.
tera peel a kiwi, just chop off the top and bottom, then push a dessertspoon in between the fruit and the skin. Turn the kiwi until all the skin falls off the back of the spoon.
When you cut the avocado in half, twist into two pieces, then use a spoon to scoop out the flesh from the side without the stone for immediate use. Return the empty skin to the other half, which still contains the stone, using the skin to cover it over. Keeping the stone in and covering with the skin helps retain colour and freshness until the following day.
Make this comforting ham hock colcannon, topped with a fried egg. ' /> Make this comforting ham hock colcannon, topped with a fried egg. ' /> Achieve the perfect set white and runny yolk with a few splashes of water. Fry the eggs in a non-stick pan and when the whites are almost cooked, put a few drops of water into the pan, quickly cover it with a lid and turn the heat down low, or off completely, and leave for a minute or two to finish cooking. The effect will be a perfect semi-poach. >Make this comforting ham hock colcannon, topped with a fried egg.
As soon as you buy herb plants from the supermarket or greengrocer, remove the plastic wrapping and trim the top leaves quickly to use in your cooking. By trimming off the top leaves first you’ll help the plant shoot out from lower down the stem making it stronger. Water every other day or according to the instructions on the pack.
Nutty brown rice can take a long time to cook until tender, so speed up the process by soaking it in water overnight, as you would pulses like lentils. It’ll cook far quicker as a result. Try a recipe with brown rice.
Making a roux from flour and butter isn’t too difficult a process, but if time is of the essence, it might be easier to reach into the fridge. A tub of cream cheese watered down until the same consistency as béchamel makes a super simple option. If you want to boost the flavour, add a grating of nutmeg. Alternatively, use crème fraîche and grated cheese.
Garlic cloves are one of the trickiest items to prepare, and if you find it frustrating, invest in a sturdy garlic press, and voilà – the whole clove can be passed through it with the skin inchangé. It may take a bit of pushing, but once through, the flesh is passed through the holes while the skin is left in the press to be easily removed. Watch this video for tips on how to crush garlic.
Don’t just stick with salt and pepper, experiment with other storecupboard seasonings. Try sprinkling a crushed chicken stock cube over a whole chicken before roasting, or add a splash of soy sauce or wine to boost the flavour of your gravy.
Plastic bags of washed and ready-to-eat salad leaves are really convenient but don’t seem to last very long at all, even in the fridge. If you find yourself with leftover leaves, that are starting to lose their crispness, ensure they don’t go to waste. Instead, pop them in a pan with a little olive oil or butter, garlic and seasoning and wilt down as you would for spinach. This works particularly well with leaves like watercress and rocket. Learn how to build the perfect salad with our handy infographic.
Stir a few extra ingredients through your favourite shop-bought hummus and everyone will think you’ve made it yourself. Add a dash of lemon juice, chopped fresh coriander, some ground cumin, smoked paprika or a smidge of harissa paste to give it a kick. Alternatively add a few whole chickpeas and a drizzle of olive oil to make it look homemade.