What to do with all those peppers.


This year, we grew Tabasco and jalapeño peppers, with great success. You can only eat so many of them; what to do with the rest? I set aside a few to dry for seeds for next year, of course, but I still had loads of peppers. So- I decided to make a batch of pepper jelly with the Tabaso peppers, and pepper vinegar with the jalapeños. We Southerners love to add a splash of hot vinegar to greens, blackeyes, etc. and *I* like to use pepper jelly in vinaigrettes, particularly for salads with fruit in them, and to glaze pork and chicken on the grill. 

Pepper vinegar is straightforward; slice your peppers, put them in a rum bottle (or mason jar), put enough white distilled vinegar to cover them completely over high heat with a little salt; when it boils, pour it over the peppers. Cover tightly and set aside to meld flavors for about a month. Enjoy it all winter with anything you want to add a dash of vinegary heat to; replenish with more hot vinegar as necessary, although the heat will diminish.

Pepper Jelly:

  • 1 pound peppers, any variety, washed, stemmed, and sliced

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar, in all

  • 6 cups sugar

  • 3 ounces liquid pectin

I decided I wanted two batches: one plain pepper jelly, the other infused with rosemary; Rosemary-Pepperjelly Glazed Pork Chops sounds divine. Because the Tabasco peppers are so hot, I used about 3/4 pound bell peppers, red, green, and yellow, and finished out the pound with the Tabasco chilis; it's still quite hot, so use your own judgement when selecting the mix of peppers to use.

Note: much of the heat is in the seeds; you can discard part or all of the seeds to reduce heat. Wear gloves when working with hot peppers, or take care to wash your hands thoroughly with plenty of soap and hot water after handling them. Whatever you do, don't rub your eyes.

Meanwhile, fully submerge 12 four-ounce jars and lids and place over heat; bring almost to a boil and hold temperature for at least ten minutes. You want to be sure the jars are thoroughly heated so they don't crack when you add the hot jelly mixture.

Transfer the peppers to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade; add one cup of the apple cider vinegar. Process until peppers are finely chopped.

Transfer to a large saucepan (the mixture will bubble up considerably), add the sugar and remaining up of cider vinegar, and place over high heat; bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, for ten minutes. Add the pectin, combine thoroughly, bring back to a boil and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and, working quickly, ladle into warmed jars.

Note- I divided the chopped pepper mixture evenly into two saucepans, added three cups of sugar and 1/2 cup cider vinegar to each pan. I added two sprigs of rosemary to one of the pans, discarding it before adding the pectin.

Top with lids and tightly screw on rings; transfer back to hot water bath, bring to a boil and process for ten minutes. Remove (using tongs) to a towel-lined counter; the jars should seal as they cool. Refrigerate any that don't seal and use at once.

Note: if you do not have a hot water canner, line the bottom of a large stock pot with paper towels. Don't overcrowd the pot.


susan's picture


For future reference when I plant peppers next summer but loved the reminder on what to do with all my basil.  Iris Harper

About how many bell Peppers did you use?  I, too, have Tabasco peppers I would like to use, but don't know what measurement to use. I don't have a scale. 

Have you done this again using Tabasco peppers?