cranberry habanero jelly on top of cream cheese and crackers

Cranberry-Habanero Jelly


Excerpted from Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy (Fair Winds Press, June 2013)
Allison says: “Hot pepper aficionados will appreciate the distinctive kick of this habanero pepper jelly, yet it’s mild enough that it can be enjoyed by those who like only very small amounts of heat. The cranberries add a brilliant red hue to this translucent, yellow-flecked jelly. Served with cream cheese and crackers, it makes a gorgeous and spicy addition to any appetizer table. Remember, for canning safety, do not increase the quantity of any peppers in this recipe.”


TIP: Holy Hotness!
Habanero peppers are about as hot as they come, and getting even a little on your skin can be quite painful. Always wear gloves when working with them, do not let them come in contact with any part of your body (especially your eyes). Use common sense to keep safe and pain free!
Servings 4 cups


  • ¼ cup cranberries finely chopped
  • cups yellow bell pepper finely diced + seeded
  • 2 teaspoons habanero pepper minced + seeded
  • cups white vinegar 5%
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water see step #1
  • cups sugar divided
  • 2 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin powder mixed with sweetener


  • Before You Begin, prepare calcium water.
    To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well.
    Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.
  • Wash your jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring canner to a rolling boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.) Reduce heat and allow jars to remain in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan, heat to a low simmer, and hold until ready to use.
  • Combine chopped cranberries, diced yellow pepper, minced habanero pepper, and vinegar in a saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer, still covered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • In a separate bowl, combine pectin powder with ½ cup of the sugar. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
  • Add calcium water to the pepper mixture, mix well, and return the mixture to a full boil over high heat. Slowly add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin while the jelly returns to a boil. After the pectin is fully dissolved, add the remaining quantity of sugar and stir to dissolve it. Once sugar is dissolved, and the jelly returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.
  • Can Your Jelly: Remove jars from canner and ladle jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, put on lids and screw bands, and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower filled jars into canner, ensuring jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Place lid on canner, return to a rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes. (Add 1 extra minute of processing time for every 1000 feet above sea level). Turn off heat and allow canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that jars have sealed, then store properly.

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2 Responses

  1. Katie
    | Reply

    Would making this with white wine vinegar work? Would it add a little more complexity to the flavor?

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      AS long as the white wine vinegar is 5% acidity, you sure can!

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