You might think strawberries and peppers are weird flavor combinations. For some people, they might be. But gourmands and those who appreciate haute cuisine would die for these delicate, euphoric, and extremely aromatic flavor pairings. Strawberry-pepper jelly can be either made with black peppers or jalapeno peppers. Chefs, culinary enthusiasts, and food writers are aware that black pepper accentuates the sweetness of strawberries. Meanwhile, the spicy depth of the jalapenos tones down the strawberries’ sweetness and adds more earthy and deeper flavor notes.
Strawberry-Pepper Jelly Trivia
- There are a lot of reasons to love strawberries, aside from their pretty appearance. Consuming strawberries can be extremely beneficial to one’s health. The strong concentration of Vitamin C in strawberries boosts the immune system, fighting colds, flu, and even block the growth of cancer cells. Vitamin C is also a natural teeth whitener.
- Strawberries are full of antioxidants that help rejuvenate the skin and fight pimples. A freshly made strawberry face mask also helps reduce wrinkles and fade freckles.
Strawberry-Pepper Jelly Buying Guide
Strawberry pepper jam can be purchased in grocery stores, department stores, or even online. However, check the label to identify the ingredients used in the production. Commercially produced strawberry pepper jam contains preservatives, chemicals, and additives that can harm a person’s health. If you want to purchase homemade, natural, or artisan-made products, then check your local farmer’s markets or check the nearest artisan food stalls available in your area.
Strawberry-Pepper Jelly Production & Farming in Texas
It’s easy to plant strawberries in Texas in springtime when the sun’s heat is not too harsh to kill the shrubs and destroy the delicate strawberries. There has been an increase in demand for Texas-cultivated strawberries and strawberry planters incurred high profit from this crop.
Strawberry production in Texas is spread in Western Texas, the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and the High Plains/Panhandle. With this, farmers and bio-researchers in Texas have been conducting studies and research on the best techniques for strawberry production, strawberry variety selection, and soil sampling to determine which strawberry varieties will best thrive in the Lone Star State. Some of the strawberry varieties which bear fruit in the spring include Benicia, Festival, Sequoia, Douglas, Oso Grande, Chandler, Camino Real, Camarosa, and Radiance.
Preservatives and Chemicals
Jams, jellies, and preserves are made with four basic ingredients: fruit, pectin, acid, and sugar.
Fruit is the base for any jams, jellies, or preserves. It is essential to use firm and ripe fruit for jams as over-ripe fruits will result in a liquidy set. Meanwhile, an under-ripe fruit will have fewer juices and under-developed flavors. Taste the fruits first before using them on your jam.
Pectin is essential to achieve the gel-like consistency of the jam. In simpler terms, pectin is necessary to set the jam. It is important to know the difference between pectin and gelatin. Pectin is a natural starchy substance usually found in fruits while gelatin is derived from animals. Certain types of fruits have different pectin levels. Strawberries, blueberries, and peaches are low in pectin meanwhile blackberries, currants, cranberries, and eastern concord grapes have a high pectin content.
Sugar is another essential ingredient in jams, jellies, and preserves. While people think sugar is just a sweetener, it is much more than that. Sugar is essential in retaining the shape and texture of the fruit. In the case of low-sugar jams, they have a shorter shelf-life because of their consistency. Low-sugar jams should also be paired with low-sugar pectin to successfully achieve the texture. Otherwise, the unsuccessful chemical reaction would result in a less desirable texture.
Citric acid, malic acid, and tartaric acid are commonly used in jams and jellies. Acids are essential to bind and form the pectin. Most people can easily purchase powdered forms of acid, but the acid of lemon juice or other citrus fruits would suffice.
Safely canning jams, jellies, and preserves are essential to maintain their flavors and lengthen their shelf-life. The Boiling Water Method for Strawberry Pepper Jelly is one of the most reliable. To do this, prepare the canning jars filled with food and completely submerge them in boiling water at 212°F.
Certain measures should be done before doing the boiling water method. Check the cans to ensure they are safe for food packaging and consumption. Look for cracks, chipped edges, and even tiny scratches. Discard the jars if you can find any of these inconsistencies. This is an essential step since any small cracks or chips can be triggered by heat during the boiling process.
Also check the rubber lid to ensure that there are no mold growths since any mold could spoil an entire glass. Never use the metal covers if there are patches or specks of rust since it can also contaminate the strawberry pepper jellies, making it unsafe for consumption.
Enjoying Strawberry-Pepper Jelly
Strawberry pepper jelly can be treated like any form of preserves or jams. But they have a different approach to flavor pairings, unlike their “dessert jam” counterparts. Strawberry pepper jellies are the perfect accompaniment to cheese plates, charcuterie boards, or even grazing tables. They can also be added to a classic vegetable salad along with the ubiquitous balsamic vinegar.
Properly storing either commercially-produced or homemade strawberry pepper jelly will determine how long you can keep the flavor quality and shelf-life. All unopened artisan-made jams should be stored in a cool, dark place, and should be consumed within a year. although, you can consume it for a maximum of three to six months to enjoy the flavors as time will modify the flavors, colors, and textures of the jam. Once opened, always refrigerate the strawberry pepper jelly and consume it within two to three weeks since the jams will deteriorate faster once opened and exposed to varying temperatures. Always check for signs of spoilage before eating the jam. Those with mold or yeast growth in the lids or the glass wall and having fermented or yeasty odors should be immediately discarded.
STRAWBERRY PEPPER JELLY
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
½ cup sugar
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar, divided
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2½ teaspoons low-sugar powdered pectin
Cream cheese and crackers, to serve
- In a small bowl, combine strawberries and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving liquid; set strawberries aside.
- In a small saucepan, bring reserved strawberry liquid, ¼ cup vinegar, and red pepper to a boil over medium heat; cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; add strawberries, and cook for 10 minutes. Sprinkle pectin over strawberry mixture, stirring to combine; simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar. Carefully transfer to a sterilized glass jar. Cover and let cool at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 1 month. Serve with cream cheese and crackers.