Sweet Heat


We all know what to do when life gives you lemons, but what about habanero peppers?  Make pepper jelly, thats what.

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Last summer I planted a plot of peppers plants.  One of the perks of Florida weather is an extra long growing season.  I was so excited.  Yellow salsa peppers, jalapeños, Tabasco peppers, poblanos, bell peppers, and habaneros.  Well, the yellow salsa peppers, poblanos, and bell peppers died, but the habaneros, Tabascos, and jalapeños have thrived.  For over a year.  And holy moly, do I have habaneros.  Too many, or so I thought…

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Then I re-discovered pepper jellies.  Sweet. Hot. Sticky. Perfect.

Growing up, the only pepper jelly I saw were electric green, with large chunks of peppers sparsley suspended in the jar.  Not appetizing.  I suppose it may have tasted just as good as this jelly, but I was never tempted to try it.  However, a recent brunch experience including a fried chicken biscuit with pepper jelly and fried goat cheese changed my mind.  The fiery, golden jelly coated the chicken and provided such a sweet heat that I could feel the light bulb turn on.  Duh.  Make pepper jelly with all those habaneros. And I did. And it’s delicious.

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Habanero Pepper Jelly

Enjoy this jelly as a glaze for meats and veggies, as a salad dressing, with cheese and crackers, or my personal fave, on avocado toast.


6 oz. habaneros — this was about 24 habaneros for me

12 oz. orange or yellow bell pepper — between 7-9 bell peppers depending on size

4 1/2 cups white vinegar

3 boxes low sugar pectin

13 cups granulated sugar

4 Tbs. butter

1 tsp. sea salt

This Recipe Makes Approximately 4 Quarts 


  1. Prep habaneros buy halving and removing the membrane.  The heat of a pepper lives in the membranes, not the seeds.  I remove most of the membrane, but feel free to adjust depending on the level of heat you want.
  2. Finely dice halved habanero peppers in food processor and transfer to large soup or stock pot.
  3. Prep the bell peppers by removing seeds and membranes and cutting into large chunks so it is easier to process.
  4. Finely dice bell peppers in food processor and add to habaneros.
  5. Pour the vinegar over the diced peppers, stir in pectin, salt and butter.
  6. Heat over high heat until it reaches a rolling boil, stirring often.
  7. Add sugar and whisk vigorously.
  8. Return to boil for 2 minutes.
  9. Fill sterilized mason jars with jelly leaving 1/2 inch at the top of each jar.

Keep jelly refrigerated.

*If you would like the jelly to be shelf stable check out this full tutorial on canning by freshpreserving.com.

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