It stands to reason that when those tumblers start tumbling and the air fills with that rich aroma, the locals come running. We have a tendency to hoard our green chile in an effort to make it last until the following season, so you'll see us buying it by the bushels and sacks. The elitists will look for the signs marked "Hatch", indicating the city in New Mexico that undoubtedly offers the best of this spicy "fruit", but there are other farms 'round these parts that do it pretty darn well, too. This year we opted to buy ours from Wagner's Farms and picked up 1/2 bushels of Big Jims (medium heat) and Sandias (hot heat). Both had amazing green chile flavor that teased the tongue, but the Sandias had a nice slow burn that intensified long after being swallowed.
There are lots of ways to use these lovely green beauties, but one of my favorites is Green Chile Jelly. My sister, Patricia (from here forward she'll be referred to as Trissi as it is hard to shake a nickname given to you as a baby even if you are a 36 year old woman, no matter how much you try), has honed this recipe to a fine science and recently our friend Shay had us over to her house so that we could spend the day basking in Trissi's preserving knowledge.
I took lots of pics with my iPhone, but forgot my regular camera, sorry about that. I realize the quality of these could be a bit better. Scroll to the bottom of the post for the recipe and detailed instructions.
|A 1/2 bushel of Big Jims tumbling out of the roaster.|
|Into the pan with diced roasted green chile that have been thoroughly cleaned and seeded, plus vinegar, lemon juice, organic sugar, salt and red chile powder.|
|Ahhh, behold that beautiful warm hue beckoning to be shared with a bit of cream cheese on a cracker.|
Green Chile Jelly
Makes three pints or six 1/2 pint jars of jelly
1 lb fresh roasted green chiles (skinned, seeded and diced)
5 cups organic sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried red chile
1 3 oz. package Certo brand liquid pectin
A few words regarding the ingredients: Trissi likes the taste and set that the organic sugar gives the jelly. You can find it at Costco reasonably priced. Bottled lemon juice is fine for this recipe. In fact, its acidity is more consistent than that of fresh lemons, which is important for making jams and jellies. Certo is the liquid pectin brand of choice here. Again, it provides a quality set and that's a good thing. One more thing, we made double batches of green chile jelly by doubling this recipe, so the pics might look off as far as the ingredients are concerned.
A few words about processing: For an endless playground of information regarding putting up jams, jellies, etc. visit Marisa McClellan's website, Food in Jars or pick up one of the two books that she has out on canning and preserving, Food in Jars and Preserving by the Pint. The site and books are excellent resources and she provides a laundry list of other resources around the web.
Let's get started...
Sterilize your jars by placing them on the rack in the canner and then filling it with water until it covers the jars. Bring it to a rolling boil and then let it boil for a minimum of 15 minutes. We actually let it boil until we are ready to fill the jars. The jelly cooks quickly, so make sure your canner has been boiling a good bit before you put the pan with the jelly ingredients on the stove.
Place the lids and rings in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. DO NOT boil. You're just going to keep them warm until you're ready for them. Jarden, the maker of Ball canning supplies has come out with a new recommendation on this step and you can read about it here. We elect to continue to simmer and warm them like we usually do, because the USDA has not changed their recommendation on the process, so we'll stick with what's tried and true.
In a large heavy bottomed pan add your diced green chiles, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and dried red chile. Stir to combine and dissolve the sugar. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently to prevent the sugar from burning.
Snip the top of your pectin package off and place the package upright in a large cup so that it is ready to quickly add to your jelly pan.
Bring your jelly to a rolling boil, quickly add your pectin, squeezing out as much as possible, and stir immediately for one minute. Remove from the heat. Quickly skim off any foam.
Using tongs or a jar lifter, remove your jars from the canner dumping the boiling water back into the pot. Don't worry about any water droplets left inside the jars, they will quickly evaporate. Place them upright on a towel.
Using a canning funnel and a ladle, begin to fill the jars leaving a 1/4 inch headspace.
Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth then place the lids on them. Add the rings until just "fingertip" tight. This means twisting the lid on with only your fingertips and stopping once it begins to tighten. DO NOT over-tighten the rings. The lids are tight enough to prevent spillage, but not so tight to prevent air from escaping during processing.
Using the jar lifter, place the jars back into the hot water in the canner. Bring to a boil and boil 10 minutes, but add an additional minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level. In Albuquerque, we are 5,000 feet above sea level so we processed our jars for 15 minutes.
Using the jar lifter, remove the jars to a flat surface and allow them to sit undisturbed for at least 12 hours. You're sure to hear the musical "ping" of your jars sealing, a reward well earned for all your hard work.
We had a great day making green chile jelly and because we had three sets of hands helping out, all of the tasks went quickly and clean up was a cinch. Plus everyone walked away with enough jelly to give as gifts and enjoy at home, as well.
What are my plans for my stash? I'll serve it at my next party spread over a soft brick of cream cheese and served alongside some seedy artisanal crackers, then I'll stand back and wait for the "oohs" and ahhs" to start rolling in. We'll also probably use a jar to glaze a few racks of pork ribs seasoned with some of Kirk's AlbuKirky Seasonings Green Chile Rub. A dynamic flavor duo guaranteed to send folks back for seconds and thirds. And, of course, there will be plenty to pair with a warm loaf of homemade bread.
This recipe is delicious and simple, and probably one of THE BEST ways to preserve one of the most exquisite flavors of the season. Give it a spin!