Kinda sweet, a little savory and sorta spicy, pepper jelly is a great all round condiment to keep in the fridge.
Truly, pepper jelly is a utility player. Mixed with cream cheese, you have an instant tangy dip. Add it to a cheese board for a sweet/heat pairing. Heck, I’ve even seen some folks eat it over ice cream.
Made with varying levels of spice, pepper jelly really comes into it’s own when you use it as a meat glaze. I love it for ribs but it would work perfectly on a ham, too. What makes this pepper jelly so vivid in color is the addition of dried hibiscus flowers, also known as jamaica flowers. These dried petals are often used to make a refreshing non-alcoholic Mexican tea, and they have the most intense crimson pink color.
Because hams and pork ribs look extra delectable when they have a vibrant red hue, I felt it was a pretty solid idea to bump up the appearance of the jelly using a natural color (which doesn’t really impart any flavor). Jamaica flowers are sold in Mexican grocery stores and online, but if you can’t find them or prefer not to use them, you can simply omit them from the recipe and you’ll still have a tangy, sassy pepper jelly product!
Place the hibiscus petals in a non reactive bowl and cover with white vinegar. Allow to steep 10-15 minutes for the color to develop.
Remove and discard the hibiscus petals, then pour the now-crimson vinegar into a non reactive pan. Add the bell and jalapeno peppers, red pepper flakes and sugar. Bring the mix to a boil, then allow to boil vigorously for 1-2 minutes.
Add in the liquid pectin, then boil a further 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Use a ladle to spoon the jelly into the jars, and seal. Leave them on the counter or sink to cool a little. Every 10 minutes, turn the jar upside down and back up again to suspend the pepper pieces evenly. Do this 2-3 times total, then place the jars in the fridge to set.
Your jelly will keep up to two weeks in the fridge, and even longer if you use correct canning and sterilizing techniques.
Note 1: if you prefer a hotter result, use serrano instead of jalapeno pepper, or alternatively add in 1-2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper.
If you plan on canning these for long term, make sure you follow proper canning and sterilizing methods for your jars.