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OK to use shriveled peppers for jelly?

Posted by ajsmama (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 7, 11 at 15:05

Just catching up after the big storm. I lost the peppers I had in the freezer (thank goodness I hadn't gotten around to stuffing the bells b4 losing power). I had pulled a bunch of plants and hung them in the basement b/c Hot Pepper forum members said they'd ripen (like tomatoes). Well, I guess more have turned color but they're also shriveling a bit.

Is it OK to use these shriveled peppers for jelly (LOTS of jelly!) or freeze to add to chili, etc.? I just went through all the ones I had picked and sitting in bins, threw out the shriveled bells and the worst of the chiles, but still have some (slightly) shriveled not good for pickling, as well as some (chiles) that are still nice and smooth-skinned (want to pickle those). Only a few Numex, etc. that might be good for chile relleno casserole after freezing (skins not so tough and easier to seed that way).

Ball Complete has a few recipes that just call for pureeing peppers and then dripping through a jelly bag so I thought some minor wrinkling/softness (not rotten) might be OK if making jelly that way (instead of finely dicing the peppers and leaving them in the pot with the vinegar, sugar, pectin).


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: OK to use shriveled peppers for jelly?

Is it really worth trying to salvage them and all the work involved given the poor quality that results? Sometimes it is just best to toss and move on.


RE: OK to use shriveled peppers for jelly?

You're right, but I did want to make a little bit more jelly. Took a closer look at the ones still on the plants - with the exception of the cherry bombs, they're all looking kind of wrinkled. I do want to freeze some of the bigger ones for chile rellenos (since I lost all the ones I froze 2 weeks ago), and might *slice* and pickle the cherries, but I'll probably end up tossing all the serrano and jalapeno plants. Going to dehydrate the cayenne and Hinkelhatz since they're already halfway there - basement looks like ristras hanging.

So can I use the slightly wrinkled jals and serranos I'd already picked for jelly? They're not as bad as the ones still on the plants, but just not crisp enough to pickle. I realize there won't be as much juice as with nice fresh ones, but since I am just trying to get 1.5C of juice for a recipe anyway, I can just use more peppers. Or will there be an off taste or a safety issue? What about freezing these jals and serranos (don't think they'd dry as well as cayennes)?

What a year!

Forget about it...

Just got automated call from school district. Since 30% of the town is still w/o power (though schools have been restored) and some bus routes are unsafe (due to fallen limbs, possible downed power lines though I believe everything has been turned off), the kids are out of school tomorrow.

Might as well just toss everything that can't be frozen. I *hope* they go to school Wed, considering that they have a vacation Tgiving week. Getting tired of all this "togetherness" (10 days straight and counting, 5 w/o electricity or water)!

RE: OK to use shriveled peppers for jelly?

For the sake of your sanity........toss 'em and move on.
Normally I'm a "no waste" kind of gal, but after that many days of "togetherness", I probably would do the same.

My guideline:
If I'd eat fresh, right now, I'd chop up and put them in the freezer (assuming it's working), otherwise toss them out.
I wouldn't use them in canning recipes. Quality in = Quality out. Period.

I had to toss a bunch of walnuts last weekend that I just didn't get to in time (picked up damp, left in the bucket, mold). :(


RE: OK to use shriveled peppers for jelly?

I hear you on the sanity - power just blinked and oven went off while cooking dinner (cornbread and chili) tonight. Just when you thought it was over...

At least I know the chest freezer will keep big stuff (and things buried in between, just not on top) frozen for a while.

Not that it helps me get things done, but DD was just invited to a play date (25 miles away) tomorrow AM. But at least it gets her out of the house, I'll find something to do for that hour after I drop her off. At least I can get something for dinner tomorrow - still haven't been to do the big restocking, I'm out of rice, pasta, ground meat, peanut butter, milk, lunchmeat, cheese, beans, etc. - just got gas, bread, eggs, and lettuce yesterday.

RE: OK to use shriveled peppers for jelly?

I'm in the same boat. Well, not the power outage part, but the peppers, peppers, everywhere. I had planned on having my husband put the Sandia and Georgia Flame peppers in the smoker, but then they started getting wrinkled, and I just gave up on the idea and threw them all in the dehydrator. I agree that the flesh on the Serranos and Jalapenos is so thick, that they aren't the best candidates for drying and grinding. Since you are really only trying to get the capsaicin oils from the peppers for the jelly recipe, and not using actually pieces of pepper like you do with some other pepper jelly recipes, or in a salsa, I personally would think they would be okay for that, even though as you said it would take more of them to get the right quantity.

For me, it's hard to throw out produce that I worked so hard to grow if there is any way to safely use it.

Hope things return to normal for you soon!


RE: OK to use shriveled peppers for jelly?

Play date turned into a long one - they went for lunch and another activity after the first hour. So I went home and pureed some yellow and orange bells with 4 red jals, let them drip while I went to store. After I picked DD up I combined the 1 C of pepper juice with 1/2C of boiling water poured over the jelly bag (and squeezed) per recipe, with 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/2C plus 3 (actually overflowed one so more like 3.5) Tbsp red wine vinegar. Following Ball Complete recipe for Red Pepper Balsamic, but no garlic or balsamic. Recipe calls for 1/2C finely diced red pepper to be reserved and added to juice - I didn't do up quite that much, used part of an orange bell, a yellow Numex, and 2 more almost-ripe (orange) jals.

Used 1 package of regular Sure jell and 3.25C of sugar - lots of foam! Yielded 4 half pints (maybe with a little too much headspace after skimming all that foam). 2 jars set up very quickly and are full of bubbles, another set up a little more slowly (had to twist to distribute pieces) but still fast enough it has bubbles, only 1 is "fair-worthy".

I had made the Ball online Pepper Jelly recipe (that calls for honey but I used all sugar) a few weeks ago, that leaves all the peppers in the pot instead of using juice and adding just 1/2C pieces. That's got more solids (obviously), but other than that, I see no difference in the jars. Not really a jam, but not a clear jelly either (maybe the one I made yesterday would be clearer if I hadn't squeezed the bag). I think a big problem is that they set up very quickly - even the online recipe that used more solids, more vinegar, and less (no-sugar) pectin.

Is it safe to reduce the amount of pectin? Strange that for roughly the same yield (3-4 half pints), the book calls for 1 package of powdered pectin and 3.25C sugar, while the online recipe (half recipe makes 3 jars) it calls for 1.5Tbsp of N-S pectin and 1.5C of sweetener (I know N-S doesn't need as much).

Full recipe online uses 3C of sweetener to make 6 jars, uses 3 Tbsp N-S pectin. Could I try the jelly recipe but reduce the amount of pectin (and sugar, if using regular pectin?)? To me, a pepper jelly shouldn't be stiff.

RE: OK to use shriveled peppers for jelly?

Are the kids back at school yet? We only lost 2 days of school - and that drove me up a wall. And I only have 1 kid to deal with!

I'm with Deanna - if my peppers are shrivled a little, and I would consider eating them fresh, then I toss them in the freezer. Otherwise they go in the compost.

FWIW - I brought all 8 pepper plants into the house - since I grow them in pots. They seem to be going thru some type of indoor adjustment - my peppers are shriveling a bit so I'm picking them and freezing. I kinda remember the plants doing that last year as well.

Definitely try less pectin on the jelly.

RE: OK to use shriveled peppers for jelly?

I would definitely have eaten these fresh so I figured why not try the juice for jelly. I think I will try 4 Tbsp pectin (2/3 package?) next time, just didn't know if I needed to adjust sugar as well if using regular powdered pectin. The Ball Complete book (2 recipes, green and red) are the only ones I've seen using pepper juice instead of lots of chopped peppers, and powdered instead of liquid pectin.

Those 2 recipes use 1.5C of pepper juice (up to 1/2C of boiling water poured over pepper puree if not juicy enough) and roughly 3/4C acid (vinegars and lemon juice) as the only liquids (not counting the 1/2C of minced solids in the one recipe) plus 3/14 - 3 2/3C sugar with 1 pkg pectin. Other (herb jelly) recipes use 3 - 3.5C of liquid with 5 or so C of sugar for 1 pkg pectin, and other (fruit) jelly recipes tend to use 3/4 - 1C of sugar for each C of juice along with the pectin (or no pectin, if a high-pectin fruit). I'm wondering if this was too much pectin for the amount of liquid I had.

Thank goodness our kids went back today (though some towns are still out!). I was signed up to volunteer for reading help so brought some cookies for the rescheduled Halloween party - but teacher didn't tell any other parents it was rescheduled, so I ran across the street to store and bought napkins, stickers, bubbles, and candy (2 pieces per kid) and brought it back over.

My cousin said their town "rescheduled" trick or treating (?) for tomorrow night but she doesn't want to take her kids out b/c there are still downed lines and LOTS of tree limbs. I don't know how a town reschedules something they aren't hosting, but seems to me to be best on Sat afternoon while it's still light out. I took our kids to 6 or 7 houses on Halloween b4 it got dark - which was easy with DST and no school.

The potted pepper plants I put by the basement window look OK (maybe a little wilted), but 3 out of the 4 nice ones I had in the house look bad - incl the great big one, though that had wilted overnight the first night I dug it up, the other 2 had been under a tarp in the garden and might have gotten too cold - I just threw those back outside and will have to see what I can harvest ()teeny Thai peppers). Of course I don't know how cold it got in our house - couple times DH and I checked (5 am and 5pm) it was 45. Only 1 looks good, though the blossoms it had are dead now.

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