I think I have always enjoyed the mixture of sweet and hot. Hot fruit chutneys, jellies and sauces often accompany my meals and constitute a big part of my seasonal preserves. Since apricot is often paired with savoury dishes and since my favourite pork roast is stuffed with apricots (see the recipe here), combining apricot and chili wasn’t a big risk to take when I first made it last Summer. Apricot resists even the hottest chili addition and doesn’t lose its recognisable tanginess, so this year I labelled one batch as “medium hot “and another as “very hot”. Apart from the pork dishes, the jelly is very good with roast chicken and I often use it as a toast or sandwich spread.
Since every pepper variety is different and everyone has different preferences (or chili resistance level), it is difficult to say exactly how many chilies should be used. Adjusting is not easy since the jelly tastes stronger when it’s still hot (and it should be put still hot into the jars). The best idea is to stick to the same chili variety, make a small first batch, put aside a couple of tablespoons and taste the mixture when it has cooled down. It will be too late for this batch, but it will give and idea of how the following ones should be modified. Needless to say, the below amounts should be treated rather as approximate.
Preparation: 40 minutes
1 kg apricots
300 – 400 g caster sugar
200 ml cider vinegar (4,5%)
2 flat tablespoons salt
6 medium hot long Turkish “aci sivri” peppers (about 10 cm long, mine were green this time)
1 1/2 package pectin in powder (about 65-70 g)
Wash the apricots and remove the kernels.
Core the peppers, discard the stems and wash thoroughly removing the seeds (or not, if you want a very hot jelly).
Mix the peppers in a food processor. Add the apricots and mix thoroughly.
Combine the mixed fruit with the remaining ingredients in a big pan.
Bring to boil on high heat and, stirring, keep boiling for about 20 minutes.
Taste it and adjust the taste adding the vinegar, the sugar or the chili if needed (bearing in mind the chili and the vinegar taste is stronger when the jelly is hot). The most important is that the mixture doesn’t have a very sour taste (the apricot is a tangy fruit).
Add the pectin and, still stirring, keep on the heat for 10 more minutes.
/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./
Spoon the jelly, still hot, into sterilised jars. Cover with lids. Leave the jars to cool.
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.
In a dry place, with a moderate temperature, the jars should keep for at least a year.