Dried Apricot and Chili Jelly

This autumn I sowed the grains too late, but somehow managed to grow red hot peppers on my balcony at hardly 10°C. I assumed there are certain countries where pepper season is almost all year round and stopped worrying if the Thai or Moroccan chilies I buy were grown in a greenhouse or outside. I shall never know anyway. Having made several hot dishes, I was still left with a lot of red peppers and started looking for new preserving recipes. This way I discovered the Canadian  Bernardin Home Canning website, full of inspiring ideas, found there the Habanero Gold Jelly and … have completely ignored it, only stealing the excellent idea to combine dried apricots and chilies.

The result was sweet and hot, with a slight acid hint, due to the apricots’ presence. In fact, my jelly looked much merrier than the one featured on the Bernardin website. It was very thick, with a lovely golden-orange colour reminding of hot, Summer days, and had a definitely warming effect on the palate, perfect for these cold gloomy days! It is wonderful served with stir-fried vegetables, chicken, rice, in sandwiches… and in my opinion ideal with grilled or fried scallops.

Preparation: 30 minutes+ 30 min (apricot soaking time)

Ingredients (approx. 4 x 200ml jars):

350g dried apricots finely cut or mixed in a food processor

300 +100 ml cider vinegar (4,5%)

200g red moderately hot peppers (mine were red, came from Thailand and were more or less of the middle finger’s length)

400 g caster sugar

100 ml water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 package pectin in powder (45g)

Bring the 300 ml vinegar to boil. Put aside.

Add the apricots and let them soak for 30 minutes. Take them out and chop finely.

Chop the hot peppers finely (discard the stalks and seeds) or mix them in a food processor.

Combine all the remaining ingredients (including 100 ml vinegar) with the vinegar and let them boil 20 minutes, constantly stirring.

Add the pectin and cook 10 more minutes.

Spoon the hot jelly into sterilised jars, cover with lids.

Leave the jars to cool.

/At this point you can (after the jelly has cooled down) either freeze it, or keep it in the fridge for a couple of weeks, or process it in the jars, as described below, and store it in your pantry for at least a year./

Place the cool jars into a big pan, bottom lined with an old kitchen towel folded in two (this will prevent the jars from breaking), cover up with hot – but not boiling- water to the level just below the lid. Bring to boil and keep on a very low heat, in simmering water, for around 20 minutes.
Stick on self-adhesive labels, write the name of the jelly and don’t forget to mark the date.