Mis-Adventures in Canning


When life hands you peppers, make pepper jelly.

At least, that’s all I could think to do with a bumper harvest of more than 50 serrano peppers from the single plant in our raised bed garden this fall. So like a good little diy-er, I ordered a canning kit, and started scouring the web for a recipe.

Finally, I stumbled on this recipe, which looked promising.  It actually required a large number of peppers (which I had) and claimed to be a best-selling award winner.  Awesome, right?




After spending hours slicing, dicing, and standing over a steaming pot of simmering peppers (which, by the way, makes your face feel like you’ve been shot with pepper spray) I successfully canned 17 jars of pepper jelly in a water bath. But the next day, when I went to check on my happy little cans, I realized I didn’t have pepper jelly at all.

The pectin simply didn’t set up the mixture properly.  My jelly hadn’t gelled, and I was left with something between pepper syrup and pepper preserves. Womp-womp.

We popped open a jar, and the spread is still delicious, especially when paired with a nice creamy goat cheese as a dip. But as far as becoming a “canning expert,” it looks like that will take a few more tries.

UPDATE:  A couple weeks after the original canning fail, I went ahead and re-canned all the jars.  This involved popping open all the original cans, reboiling the contents (plus adding 2 more boxes of pectin…), re-canning everything with new lids, and then running them through a new water bath.  It was a lot of extra work, but, in the end, it did make my jelly gel.