There’s a reason why summer is the time to make jams and jellies. It’s a no-brainer. That’s when most of the fruits and berries are at their peak.
As my grandmother used to say, you “strike while the iron is hot.” My father’s version of that, “Make hay while the sun shines,” is appropriate here, too. Now go pull out those canning jars and prepare to make jelly!
Hot pepper jelly is my favorite. My recipe came from my good friend, Peggy Swink. It’s on a bright green card in my recipe box so it’s easy to find. I reach for that green card every summer and think of her while I’m sweating over a hot stove making pepper jelly.
Making pepper jelly is mostly a good thing because the end result is so delicious, but sometimes it gets a little dicey. NEVER, EVER make the mistake of touching the hot peppers and then rubbing your eyes or any other sensitive part of your body. Trust me, it’s very painful. You probably won’t make the mistake more than once if you’re lucky!
This Southern specialty just can’t be beat when served on a cracker with cream cheese. Every good Southern girl knows that this peppery spread is a must for any decent appetizer tray south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Enjoy this delicacy but watch out – after tasting it you might have a sudden urge to jump up and sing a few bars of “Dixie!”
Another jelly I like to make is a rather unusual one. It’s basil jelly.
Why, you ask? Because it’s delicious, that’s why. I assure you that basil isn’t just for pesto anymore. It’s versatile and makes a mighty fine jelly.
Serve it as you would pepper jelly, over a cracker with cream cheese, or use it as an accompaniment to lamb, as you would mint jelly. Either way it’s great.
Joy Smith is a resident of Fort Mill.