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Cook's Corner

By By Lisa Tindell
Jellies and jams are as much a part of a good Southern breakfast as grits and eggs. Jellies, jams and preserves made from wonderful strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, scuppernongs and the like have adorned tables for generations upon generations. Those sweet treats have been served on biscuits, pone-bread, cornbread and plain old "light" bread. (Don't laugh, you know what I mean!)
My son only recently discovered how good toast with jelly is. He'd been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a few years, but had never tried just plain bread with jelly. He has made a wonderful discovery.
I was led to a discovery about four years ago when a friend introduced me to Pepper Jelly. At first I thought she was crazy. However, having tasted this wonderful treat I know she must be a genius.
In being introduced to the new recipe, I realized that jelly was not just for breakfast, peanut butter sandwiches and the occasional Jelly Cake. There are jellies out there that are suitable to use as accompaniments to meals and are helpful in creating tantalizing appetizers.
Following each of today's recipes, I'll give you a few ideas on how the resulting treat can be used. Don't be surprised at how good it can be.
Pepper Jelly
Three-fourths cup chopped green bell pepper
one-fourth cup chopped fresh hot green pepper, such as jalapeno or Serrano
1 and one-half cups apple cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
4 ounces pectin
4 drops green food coloring (optional)
Process bell pepper and hot pepper in a food processor until finely minced. Combine pepper mixture, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add pectin and food coloring. Pour into six four-ounce jars and seal.
Note: This pepper can be "fired-up" by increasing the amount of hot peppers and reducing the amount of bell peppers. You decide.
Tips on Use: Place 8 oz. cream cheese in dish and spread a generous helping of pepper jelly over the top. Use as a spread for crackers, toast, etc. The jelly can also be served along side fried fish or chicken as an accompaniment.
Lime Jelly
6 to 8 medium limes
1 and three-fourths cups water
4 cups sugar
3 oz. liquid fruit pectin
Green food coloring (optional)
Grate the rind of enough limes to measure 2 tablespoons; set aside. Squeeze juice from limes to measure three-fourths of a cup; pour through a wire-mesh strainer, discarding seeds and pulp. Combine the rind, juice and water in a four-quart saucepan. Stir in sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add food coloring, one drop at a time, if desired. Quickly stir in fruit pectin. Return to a full roiling boil and boil one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off foam with a metal spoon. Quickly pour jelly into hot sterilized jars, filling to one-quarter inch from top. Wipe rims of jars clean and cover with metal lids and bands. Process jars in boiling-water bath for 5 minutes. Makes five half pints.
Tips for use: Heat jelly with a little fruit juice and serve warm over ice cream. Top a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers, gingersnaps or shortbread cookies. Stir in a little fruit juice and use as a basting sauce for chicken or pork. Bake a cake mix in a jelly roll pan; cut into shapes with cookie cutters; make "sandwiches" using the jelly and dust with powdered sugar.
Garlic Jelly
One-fourth cup garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups distilled white vinegar
5 cups white sugar
3 ounces liquid pectin
In a food processor or blender, blend the garlic and one-half cup of vinegar until smooth. In a 6 to 8 quart saucepan, combine the garlic mixture, remaining 1 and one-half cups vinegar and sugar. Over high heat bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Quickly add the pectin. Return the mixture to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Immediately fill five, sterilized half pint jars with the jelly, leaving one-quarter-inch head space. Wipe the jar tops and threads clean. Place hot sealing lids on the jars and apply the screw on rings loosely. Process in boiling water in a deep canning pot for 5 minutes. Remove the jars and cool completely. Tighten the jar screw rings to complete the sealing process.
Tips on use: This particular jelly would be wonderful on toasted breads served with pasta dishes.
I hope these "new" jelly recipes will be a great addition to your table. The best thing about these jellies is that the ingredients needed can be found year-round at your local grocery store. Peppers may be a little more expensive in the winter months, but are well worth the price is you've run out of the sweet, hot treat.
Remember that the summer produce that is now, and will be, coming in fresh, canning and preserving is on the minds of a lot of people. Because of that, I'm asking for your help. I, along with some other readers, am looking for a good way to preserve corn for the freezer. I've tried a couple of methods over time and have been semi-successful, but have not found the right method to make the frozen corn taste fresh when prepared. If you have a method of freeze sweet or field corn, please share it with our readers. You can email the information to me at lisa.tindell@brewtonstandard.com.
Until next week, Happy Cooking!