Life without pepper jelly? We can’t even go there. Here are three of our favorites.
Ramblin’ Red Pepper Spread from Georgia Jams
Ramblin’ Red Pepper Spread is more tart and spicy than sweet, but it’s got that distinctive vinegar tang (from both apple cider and white vinegar) and plenty of pepper flavor from the combination of a bit of hot peppers mixed with sweet red peppers. Lori Bean of Griffin-based Georgia Jams says, “Since most people pair pepper jelly with cream cheese, I keep my Ramblin’ Red on the punchy side since creamy cheeses cool down the heat.” The low-sugar pectin she uses means she doesn’t need to add as much sugar to her spreads and jams to get them to set. We liked stirring a spoonful into homemade tomato soup. It added just enough heat and pepper flavor without overwhelming the tomatoes. Bean says you can use the last few teaspoons of Ramblin’ Red by shaking up a homemade vinaigrette right in the jar. Perfect for a summer salad.
$9.99 per 9-ounce jar. Available at Alon’s Bakery and Market in Morningside and Dunwoody and online at georgiajams.com/shop-1/ramblin-red-pepper-jelly-9-oz.
Pepper Jelly Pecans from home.made Southern Snacks
Yes, you can eat pepper jelly on a cracker, or do as we do and eat it by the spoonful, but if you’re looking for one more way to enjoy pepper jelly, we’ve got just the thing. Toasted pecans coated with pepper jelly glaze. Chef Mimi Maumus of home.made in Athens created this addictive snack, available in both spicy and not-so-spicy versions. Visit her restaurant on Baxter Street in Athens for all kinds of lovely Southern dishes influenced by her New Orleans roots. Her cheese straws are offered as a lagniappe with your meal and the pepper jelly pecans? They’re on the menu and occasionally find their way into some of her dishes. But if you can’t make it to Athens, you can shop online. You’ll want to stock up (if you can stop yourself from eating them first) so you always have a salty, sweet and maybe spicy snack to offer guests that requires no work on your part except opening the bag.
$12 per 6-ounce package. Available at the restaurant, 1072 Baxter Street, Athens or online at homemadeathens.com/shop.
Pepper Jelly from Lowcountry Produce
The folks at Lowcountry Produce cook up a wide range of dishes from soup to jellies to granola and pies, at their Seabrook, South Carolina kitchen on the road to Beaufort and Lady’s Island. You can find their products there, but also in their shops on Hilton Head and in Beaufort. We tried their pepper jelly and thought it was pretty much perfect. It’s the absolute classic with bits of green bell peppers, red bell peppers, red pepper flakes and jalapeño suspended in a clear sweet jelly brightened with apple cider vinegar. Yes, you can use it in all your favorite pepper jelly ways (cream cheese on crackers we’re talking about you) but honestly, we just ate ours right from the jar. Oh, and we spooned the little bit that was left onto bits of sharp cheese. If we’d had any left, we would have tried their suggestion to spread it on quesadillas made with Monterey Jack cheese.
$8 per 9-ounce jar. Available at https://www.lowcountryproduce.com/store/p48/Pepper_Jelly.html.
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