Red October Jelly

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Hawthorn gathering from the backyard was the first step. Then came sorting and cleaning by pouring some onto a towel then rolling under my hands. The berries rolled to the edge where I caught them in a pan and the stems stayed on the towel.

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I thought the haws would provide pectin and color, but since they have little flavor I would use shishito peppers from the garden and have red pepper jelly. I chopped the peppers and added them to the haws and water to cover and bring to a boil. After two minutes of boiling, the color was out of the haws and it looked like a soup of black eyed peas.

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Following some instructions from the site Eatweeds on making hawthorn jelly, I used a potato masher on the hawthorns several times as they boiled. I also needed to add water to keep them covered as they boiled about 40 minutes. Then I realized I had no cheesecloth in the house, so used white 100% cotton tee shirts as a jelly bag. And after letting it strain overnight I had a brownish liquid with only a hint of pepper flavor. For a flavor boost, I went to the garden for some red jalepenos. And for color and flavor, added a half cup each of my young red wine left from racking and some honey/red basil vinegar I made in the summer. The result was 28 ounces of what I had in mind.

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Since 1/3 of the liquid had little or no pectin, I used commercial pectin and and 3 and a 1/2 cups of sugar. It jelled nicely and the yield was 4 half pints and one pint of pepper jelly that will go well with ham and turkey next month. When skimming off the foam a lot of the jalepeno pieces came along as they stay at the surface. No need to throw them out. They went well with bread and cream cheese today. My hunt for red October jelly turned out well.IMG_20151008_102716606 IMG_20151008_104359929

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