SPICY & SWEET – Strawberry & Jalapeño Jam . . over cream cheese

     According to the jar of Strawberry & Jalapeño Jam that was a wedding favor, “Love is sweet & spicy!” And, so is this jam that is tasty over cream cheese.
     Our cousin Tammi McMullen Wirsig mixed up batches of the jam and bottled them for her daughter Amanda’s wedding.
     The ingredient list is reproduced below as sent to me from Tammi. I have made a few standard adjustments to the directions but they are basically like those she also sent. Of course, instead of the standard jelly jar, Tammi utilized small favor-sized jars. Great idea for a wedding favor and a delicious take-home treat for guests!

Strawberry & Jalapeño Jam Makes 8 half pint jars of jam
5 cups chopped strawberries (I don't chop too finely; I like bits of fruit in my jelly/jam)
1 cup jalapeño peppers (I tossed mine in a food processor, seeds and all. I think it could have used a little more "heat", so I'd probably add more next time.)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 (2 oz.) pkg. fruit pectin 
7 cups granulated sugar

1.  Place the strawberries, jalapeño peppers, lemon juice, and pectin into a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once simmering, stir in the sugar until dissolved, return to a boil, and cook for 1 minute.
2.  Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the jam into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within ¼” of the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.
3.  Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2” space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1” above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 minutes.
4.  Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart. Allow to cool overnight. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Store in a cool, dark area.
5.  To serve, spread over cream cheese; serve with crackers.
For more jelly making tips, check out our recipe for Crabapple Jelly.

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