Mis-Adventures in Canning

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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?

No.

Wrong.

Bad.

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.

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Author: Mrs. Millennial

I'm Whitney, writer of Mrs. Millennial. While I've got an advanced degree and a job in the tech industry, I'm usually happiest in my kitchen, garden, and home, or else on a crazy travel adventure. I hope you enjoy my recipes, home improvement tips, travel stories, musings, and more. You can also see what I'm up to in my professional life at whitneymagnuson.com Need to reach me? Shoot an email to whitney (dot) magnuson (at) gmail (dot) com.

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