I met the man I eventually married in the winter of 1989 when I was on a date with his best friend. The best friend had a little too much to drink and ended up passing out -- which left Vaughan and I in the unexpected position of getting to know one another. This included his offer to cook me dinner because with drunk best friend on the couch, there was no way we were going to make it to the restaurant as originally planned.
And so I agreed to dinner in - which I see to this day in tunnel vision. Vaughan served up a stack of some kind of mystery meat chicken cutlets with baked frozen french fries and canned peas. All of it drenched in ketchup. But he was so sweet and earnest about his offering, I didn't have the heart to inquire any further about the cutlet. I vowed, however, that the next time we did dinner, I would do the cooking.
This brought forth its own set of problems for Vaughan who had, up until then, not been introduced to much variety in his diet. I nearly fell off my chair one evening when I served him breaded veal cutlets and a chopped Italian salad only to see his gag reflex at Defcon 5 - his eyes were watering so badly as he choked down the veal that I finally gave up and mixed him up a box of KRAFT Dinner.
And so it went. In the 24 years since, meal preparation has been a slow tango as together the two of us have honed our culinary skills and our palettes. In so doing, we've also discovered a love for the tastes of sweet and spicy and today's adapted recipe from Vaughan for Grape and Jalapeno Preserved Jelly is so delicious, it might even be good on those chicken cutlets!
Serve on crackers with cheese or use as a gorgeous glaze for chicken, pork, or fish - any way you jiggle it, this simple and surprising recipe is perfect for gift giving - and really quite incredible on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich...
The grapes were picked right off the vine and the jelly itself, has become a family tradition that we make every fall in anticipation of Christmas.
Please enjoy Vaughan's funny, step by step how to video...
Jalapeno Grape Jelly (recipe adapted from Canadian Living Magazine)
Visit the printable recipe HERE
- 3-3/4 lb (1.7 kg) green grapes
- 2 large jalapeno peppers, sliced
- 1 pkg fruit pectin crystals
- 5 cups (1.25 L) granulated sugar
- Rinse grapes; drain well. Remove enough from stems to make 10 cups.
- In a large pot, crush grapes with potato masher. Add the jalapeno pepper, and 1 cup of water; bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Scoop cooked grapes and jalapeno peppers into a colander lined with three layers of cheesecloth and place over a large pot or bowl. Let drip, without squeezing bag, until juice measures 4 cups (1 L) this should take about 2 hours.
- In a large pot, bring the juice and pectin to a boil. Stir in sugar; bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Boil vigorously, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam.
- Using a sterilized funnel and a 1/2-cup measure, pour into hot sterilized 1-cup canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. If necessary, wipe rims. Cover with prepared lids; screw on bands fingertip tight.
- Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Transfer jars to rack; let cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Check for seal, ensuring that lids curve downward. If not, refrigerate and use within 3 weeks. Store in cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year.