Raspberry Jalepeno Jelly and a little voice from long ago

My phone rang the other day, while I was working at my desk. When I answered, I heard a little girl babbling on about something that she was finding intensely interesting. Then, I heard my sister-in-law ask if I recognized the voice.

I did not.

‘You are definitely not going to win a ‘mother-of-the-year award!’

I listened again and was catapulted back in time.

It was Meggie.

She was sitting in our living room, with her sisters, making a tape for her grandmother Hooton. I could hear the three of them giggling as they talked into the little plastic microphone. They were singing a Christmas song, unable to pronounce their R’s. Rudolph was proudly pronounced Woodlolf. It was the year that they had lost their front teeth. They were six.

I remember that Christmas like it was yesterday.

Meaghan had been asking Santa for a ‘CareBear’ for several years without any success. The elves had stopped making the cuddly little stuffed animals, the year that Meg turned five! I searched everywhere trying to find one – this was long before E-bay! She never said a word the first time that Santa did not deliver. She just gave a little shrug of the shoulders, but I knew that she was heart-broken…

The next year – the year that Meg turned six – again I could not buy a CareBear. My sister-in-law offered me one of her old CareBears as a substitute.

On Christmas eve, I placed all of the treasures under our tree for the girls to discover the next morning. The living room was piled high with brightly wrapped packages tied up with holiday ribbons and bows. There were new dolls too large to be wrapped, stockings stuffed with toys and treats and sitting quietly near the back of the Christmas tree was the little blue, very worn out, CareBear.

The next morning, when the girls ran into the livingroom to see if Santa had come, Meaghan walked past all of the shiny packages and boxes and picked up the little stuffed animal. She did not notice the wear spots or the fraying. She turned to me and said, “I knew Santa would not forget again”.

As I sat at my desk, I thought,’would I want the girls to be little again’?

In a heartbeat…

I made this jelly last Thursday on a lark. I wanted to use up the raspberries in my freezer and the jalapenos that I had grown this summer. So I combined them and the result was a sweet and spicy jelly – perfect with any creamy cheese. I tried it with both brie and chevre. It makes your tongue snap in a happy way!

Jalapeño Raspberry Jelly

Makes 3- 250ml bottles

Prepare jars according to manufacturer’s instructions.

1 ½ cups fresh or frozen raspberries

2/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped

½ cup jalapeño pepper, chopped

3 cups white sugar

¾ cup champagne vinegar

2 packets liquid pectin

4 jalapeno peppers, chopped fine

In a large pot combine bell pepper, ½ cup jalapeño peppers, sugar and champagne vinegar.

Bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Boil for 1 minute. [Make sure you can not stir the boil down]

Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

Stir in the liquid pectin – stir well.

Strain the jelly through a cheesecloth lined strainer.

Divide the remaining 4 jalapeños between the prepared jars.

Pour jelly over the chopped peppers and seal.

This jelly is delicious with any soft cheese.

Thanks for reading.