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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thai Basil Pepper Jelly

Tigress Can Jam Challenge #4

A couple of years ago, I had found an intriguing recipe for a Thai Basil Jelly through my beloved Harvest Forum. But as I imagined the end result while reading the instructions, something didn’t seem quite right, like it initially started as one recipe but ended with something else. There were steps missing, ingredients left out, and it was just plain wonky, so I decided to make my own recipe.

After consulting a few Canning Jedi Masters on the Harvest Forum and jazzing up a current Ball recipe for Basil Banana Pepper jelly, I created something that will knock your socks off! My Thai Basil plants are planted and I’m just waiting to get started on another batch. If you can't find Thai Basil, Sweet Basil, or any other fresh basil will work just fine for making the infused vinegar.

But if you can swing it, do try the Thai Basil. It's so exotic that it brings the flavor profile for this jelly to another level.

Fresh Thai basil
I’m a big believer of layered flavors, infused ingredients, and all things macerated. I’ve actually had friends argue over who got the last jar of this wonderful jelly! The preparation for this recipe takes some time, but its well worth it. Besides the amazing taste, this recipe makes a beautiful, jeweled jelly.

Thai Basil Pepper Jelly
Adapted from Ball “Basil Banana Pepper Jelly”

1 cup sweet bell peppers (green), uniformly minced
½ cup hot peppers (red), uniformly minced
½ cup red onion, uniformly minced
½ tsp dried basil
1 ½ cups Thai Basil infused vinegar
6 cups sugar
2 pouches liquid pectin

To make Thai Basil Infused Vinegar: Roughly chop about 2 cups of rinsed, fresh Thai Basil and place it in a quart canning jar. Fill jar with white vinegar, place lid on jar, and let vinegar mixture sit at room temperature (in a cool, shaded spot) for 2 weeks. After two weeks, strain vinegar and discard basil*.

To make jelly: Combine the minced vegetables, dried basil, infused vinegar, and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a full boil, add the pectin, and boil hard (stirring constantly) for 1 full minute. Ladle hot jelly into prepared, half-pint canning jars and process in a BWB for 10 minutes.

*Note: any remaining infused vinegar can be stored in a salad vinegar bottle and used for viniagrette dressing, marinades, you name it!
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