Can Jam: Apple Jalapeno Preserves

You didn’t think I could stop at just one, did you?

The current experiment in chile-lovin’ jams is a Ferber-style apple preserve with a healthy kick from spicy red jalapenos. As usual, I had to augment the liquid in order to compensate for the fact that I use much less sugar than a typical Ferber recipe; also I did not cook this one to the gel stage as I wanted a loose preserve, with a beautifully spicy syrup, suitable for pouring over ice cream, cake, or pork roast according to my whim.  Other than a finger-dipping of syrup as it was going into jars, I haven’t tasted this one yet; it was one of those rare recipes that exactly filled the jars allotted.  I’ll let it rest on the pantry shelves for a few weeks and report back when I crack the first jar.

All hail the chile Can Jam! This week is rocking my chile world.  Keep up the good work, Jammers!


Apple Jalapeno Preserves


  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
  • 1/2 cup (6 oz) honey
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • pinch sea salt
  • 3 lbs apples (I used Ida Reds from Fishkill Farms), scrubbed
  • 5 small red jalapeno peppers, about 2 and 1/2 oz (3 seeded, 2 with seeds), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (wear gloves)
  • 1 can frozen concentrated apple juice (optional)


  1. Day 1. Combine cider, sugar, honey, lemon juice and salt in a medium (4-quart) stockpot or Dutch oven. Peel, core, halve and thinly slice apples, tossing in the sugar-cider mixture as you go.  Add jalapeno peppers, mix, cover and allow to macerate for about 1 hour.
  2. Bring apple mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Remove from heat, allow to cool, and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Day 2. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  4. Strain the liquid from the fruit into a wide-bottomed Dutch oven or stockpot.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; continue to boil, stirring and skimming foam now & then, until the liquid becomes thick & syrupy and reaches the gel point (220 degrees F). Add the apple juice concentrate at this point if you think you will not have enough syrup for the fruit; alternatively, you can add more apple cider & sugar; bring the syrup back up to 220 degrees F.
  5. Add the apple-jalapeno mix.  Continue to cook over medium-high heat until the syrup is bubbling thickly, foam subsides and preserves approach the gel point (I stopped at 217 degrees F for a loose set).
  6. Ladle hot preserves into hot, sterilized jars to 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, push apple pieces down below the level of the syrup and wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Yields about 6 cups.


  1. As usual when I attempt a low-sugar Ferber-style preserve, I had far too much fruit and not enough syrup (hence the addition of the apple juice concentrate at the end).  If you don’t have apple juice concentrate, consider adding 2 – 3 more cups of apple cider or juice at the start of the recipe. If you use a juicier apple, you may have better luck with your syrup:fruit ratio.
  2. Tasting the syrup just before it went into jars, there was definitely some jalapeno heat, but it wasn’t completely blow-your-top-off hot (which makes me think I should have added more).  It’s a good idea to reserve the seeds from your jalapenos and use those, just prior to canning, to adjust the amount of heat.
  3. I could find no good base recipe for apples + low-acid vegetable (except for a Ferber apple + celery jam, but I don’t really trust her recipes in terms of acidity) but I am quite confident that with 3 lbs of apples, 3+ cups of cider, 1/4 cup of lemon juice and only 5 jalapenos, this is quite acidic enough to be safely canned in a water bath.


Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year.  Refrigerated, use within 1 month.




  1. holy smokes… yum! I can’t wait to read the round up this month! I clearly need to expand my hot pepper jelly horizons. The Ball genre is fabulous, but wow, clearly could be so much better!

  2. Next-door-but-one has apple tree heaving with fruit that he doesn’t want, so I’ll be doing apples in every conceivable way possible. Your recipe sounds and looks lovely so definitely one for the list.

  3. Gloria,

    If you need more apple ideas….

    Of all of the preserves I make, this one is hands down the crowd favorite:

    (and it’s on my list for my remaining 20 lbs of apples!).

    I also really liked how February’s CanJam apple-carrot chutney came out, although I think I’ll boost the heat this time around:


  4. This looks delicious. We gave all of our CSA members 6 lbs of apples this year for preserving. We included an applesauce recipe, but I know not everyone was able to use them. We still have a lot of apples so I’ll have to give this a try. If we have another apple bounty next year I may include this recipe.

  5. Hi Sean,

    I posted a couple of notes on your FB request; but, here goes.

    Jelly is not my forte, since I am always try to cut back on the sugar and hence sacrificing a good set. But, with cider, I would probably simmer the cider with a couple halved habs for 10 minutes or so; then lit sit an hour or two. Strain peppers out, then mince another 1 or 2 fresh ones (depending on how hot you want it) to add back into the jelly right at the end. Combine cider with equal amount of sugar; or, if you want to cut back on the sugar, add some commercial pectin to help the set.

    I don’t think you’ll get a crystal clear jelly using cider (it generally has pulp in it), but you could try to strain overnight using lots of cheesecloth and then scoop cider off the top of the bowl, leaving behind any sediment.

    Good luck!

  6. Cyntha

    I just finished making these apple jalapeno preserves. I just my own red jalapeños, but had to buy organic apples (granny smith is all my grocery store had available.) I added about 1 cup more sugar because the apples were so sour. These preserves are fantastic! I think I’ll spread a thin layer of them on my applewood smoked Jan sandwich for lunch today. I can’t wait! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  7. Le Paliulis

    This is FANTASTIC!!!!!!! I just made it and I LOVE IT!!!! It’s great on ice cream, in a sandwich, on crepes, or just on a spoon! Thank you!

  8. Pingback: A Vintage Kitchen and Curried Zucchini Apple Soup « Hitchhiking to Heaven

  9. Susan

    Sounds intriguing – I’m looking for new ideas for a jalepeno surplus. However: can a person use honey in preserves? That whole spore thing….

    • C. botulinum spores are present in nearly all food. The spores themselves are inert: it is when conditions are favorable for bacterial growth that the bacteria can grow and produce toxin, which when ingested, causes botulism.

      Generally, the spores that we ingest on a regular basis when eating raw food are not able to produce bacteria in our bodies; for some reason, this occasionally happens in infants under 1 year of age, and honey has been implicated in some of these cases. Using honey in water bath canning, however, ensures that the conditions in the jar are not conducive to botulinum growth: (i.e., high acid) so there is no concern on that front.

  10. Gabe

    Wow. Great Recipe. I used some peppers with a bit more heat than Jalepenos and had some nice results. I also cooked the apples to the point where the apples were nearly completely broken down and added a bit of pectin for thickness. Wonderful results.

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