Today on the blog we are diving into the age-old tradition of water bath canning. We are making a fantastic condiment that’s the perfect way to kick off summer: Habanero-Apricot Jelly. Pepper jelly is one of those recipes that teleports me to my childhood. This sinfully sweet and sticky condiment is like a cross between a jam and a relish with a nice touch of heat. (You can oftentimes find this available for purchase at produce stands on the sides of the road here in the South!)
This jelly is commonly: jalapeños, bell peppers, vinegar, sugar, and pectin. In this fun variation, we are using piping hot habanero peppers with buttery apricots to create a spicy sweet flavor. It pairs beautifully with biscuits, toast, puff pastry and so much more. To create some contrast in texture, color, and flavor- red bell pepper and red onion are in the mix.
Today I am teaming up with the makers of Ball® home canning products to showcase this fabulous recipe. It comes from their very own archives. As the leaders in home canning, it gives me a thrill to be working with Ball®. To showcase not only a delicious recipe but also an incredibly effective way of preserving food. Water bath canning is a great way to create beautiful jams, jellies, and sauces. They are shelf-stable while also allowing you to preserve produce at its peak freshness. For all of your home canning needs, I highly recommend Ball® products. Their trusted canning-ready supplies are high quality materials that offer consistent results. I can attest, I’ve been using them for ages!
Before we begin, I want to talk a little bit more about water bath canning. Check out this excerpt from Ball®’s website which explains it perfectly:
A lower-temperature canning process, water bath canning is ideal for high-acid foods and recipes that incorporate the correct measure of acid. The combination of time and temperature destroys mold, yeast, and enzymes that cause spoilage while creating a vacuum seal.
This process is recommended for produce and recipes including things like fruits and fruit juices, jams and jellies, sauces and chutneys. Now I know that a process like this may seem overwhelming at first, but from personal experience, I can honestly say that after you do it once- it becomes much easier! I also think that because this recipe is so simple, it’s a great starting point. To start off, you will need to get 6 half pints (8 oz) Ball® jars. You will also need a few tools to make the process smooth and easy. Here’s what you’ll need:
Water bath canner is a large pot with a jar rack. You could also use a very large pot with a flexible canning rack which keeps the jars upright and allows for water circulation during the canning process. The canner will also sterilize the jars before filling them with jelly.
A Jar Lifter is handy tool that makes moving jars to and from the canner safe and seamless. The water and jars will be very, very hot- so this tool is essential!
Pectin is an ingredient that helps reduce the jam’s cooking time and assists the jam with setting. There are different pectins on the market, including powdered and liquid. For this recipe, we will be using liquid.
A Jar Funnel will allow the jars to be full without making a total mess!
A Bubble Remover/Headspace Tool helps to removes air bubbles from the jar. It also measures headspace to ensure a good seal during the canning process.
You can buy all of these separately or in a set like this.
Once you have the jars and all of your ingredients, the first step is to get your dried apricots soaking in some white vinegar. This should be done for a few hours or even overnight. The remaining ingredients are sugar, red bell pepper, red onion, fresh habanero peppers, and 1 pouch of liquid pectin.
While the apricots are soaking, go ahead and set up the water canner and bring the water to a boil with the jars placed inside. This will sterilize the jars and make them ready for the filling. Do note, the water can take about 20-30 minutes to boil because of the large volume.
When the apricots are ready, you can start prepping everything else. Give the veggies a nice chop and combine them into a large pot with the apricot/vinegar mixture, along with the sugar, and turn the heat on high. This mixture will look quite thick at first but give it a good mix with a wooden spoon and soon enough, it will become smooth and well combined. Continue to stir and cook over high heat until nice and bubbly.
Once this mixture comes to a rapid boil, you will add the liquid pectin. Continue to cook at a hard boil for 1 minute and remove from heat. Now you are ready to fill the jars!
One at a time, remove a jar and place it on a wooden cutting board. (You can use a cloth to help handle the hot jar.) Once filled with a ¼ inch head space at the top, simply wipe the rim clean to ensure a good seal and place the center lid on the jar. Apply the band and adjust to fingertip-tight. Carefully place the jar in boiling-water canner and repeat this step until all jars are filled.
Once the jars are lowered and submerged fully, process for 10 minutes. Once done, turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wooden cutting board to cool. This jelly sets pretty quickly and can be enjoyed in a few hours or once it is set to your liking! I love to enjoy this condiment on freshly baked biscuits and toast but feel free to use as you would any kind of pepper jelly. (This also makes for a lovely gift.)
I hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s blog post! If you would like to see the full process, feel free to check out my Instagram Reel which shows you exactly how to do it. I will also be sharing more canning recipes on the blog throughout the summer, so please stay tuned for that and if you make this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Happy canning, y’all!
1 ½ cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
⅔ cup finely chopped dried apricots
6 cups sugar
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
½ cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup finely chopped seeded habanero pepper
1, 3-oz pouch Ball® Liquid Pectin
1 ½ cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post that is part of an ongoing partnership with the Fresh Preserving Division of Newell Brands. They have provided jars, equipment and monetary compensation. All thoughts and opinions expressed remain my own.