What Charlie Sheen and I have in common, Winning

I won first prize at the DC State Fair jam & jelly contest!!!!

Blue ribbon!

Numero Uno!

Winning!

Ok, that’s enough. 🙂  Thank you for indulging my excitement.  Two weekends ago, DC held its third annual state fair in Barracks Row. Yes, this is an oxymoron as DC isn’t actually a state, but hey, we pay taxes and don’t have any Congressional representatives so can we at least enjoy this great American pastime?

I had been excited about the fair for a while but didn’t know what I wanted to make.  I went over to the garden to pull out the dead tomato plants and check on the general state of things and saw I had a bumper crop of green Marconi peppers. Light-bulb moment!  Hot, sweet and smokey green pepper jelly!

At the fair of course winning was on my mind, but I didn’t think it was a given. After intently watching the judges taste entries for an hour, they went for mine. Yes, the culminating moment… the first judge (who happens to be interim food editor of the Washington Post) samples some and immediately starts coughing and reaching for water.

Oh my God. Fail.  But then she flashes me the thumbs up. Ok, maybe it just went down the wrong pipe.

Another judge, a master gardener from the District, sampled and said “Oh, that’s good”. Score!!

Me and the winning jelly

I was so surprised when they announced the winner and called my name. Inside I was bursting but outside I was trying to act cool, like no big deal. Hahaha, that didn’t work out so well. When the Washington Post editor came over and asked me about the recipe and handed me her phone to input my contact info I really just got flustered.

I was fumbling with fat fingers and looked like I was blatantly ignoring the people coming up to me asking questions about the jelly because I was so intent on giving out my info. Ugh, I came across as a total ditz. Moving forward, I’m taking it as a lesson in how to be more poised and gracious when in the spotlight.

Alright, I know you are ready for the recipe, so here it is!

I dressed up my entry with burlap, jute and a tiny pepper on the side

Blue Ribbon Southern Lady Pepper Jelly

  • 4 1/4 cups finely diced green Marconi peppers
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (more if you like it hot)
  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 box Sure-Jell Low Sugar Pectin (1.75 ounces)
  • 6 half pint jelly jars
Prepare the jars, lids, bands and boiling water canner.  Slice the peppers and run through a food processor until finely diced. Combine the peppers, vinegar, a few pinches of the sugar and the pectin in a large saucepan. Bring to a hard boil, stirring frequently. Mix in the sugar, honey and ground chipotle pepper and continue cooking at a hard boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Skim off any foam if needed (I rarely do!). Using a funnel, pour the jelly into the prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Process the jars for 10 minutes, remove and let cool.

Southern ladies used to serve hot pepper jellies with water crackers and cheese at lunches and afternoon teas so that inspired the name of my entry. This jelly is perfect with cream cheese and crackers, on a bagel, or even as a dipping sauce for roast pork.

Enjoy!

– Erin

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18 thoughts on “What Charlie Sheen and I have in common, Winning

  1. dude! Congratulations! I can barely make compote, so I think it’s so cool that your jelly WON! Maybe this should be the push I need to give it jelly a try? Because that sounds delicious… I bet it’s amazeballs with cream cheese & crackers. Congrats again x

    • Yes, please give jam and jelly a chance! Now that it’s fall, why not try apple butter or applesauce- it’s basically the same prep method as jams. Also, it is amazeballs with cream cheese and thank you so much for saying amazeballs- it is one of my favorite words. 🙂

  2. Hi Erin! Congratulations on your Blue Ribbon!! My CSA keeps giving me a ton of peppers so it’s very timely that you posted this recipe. I’ll still use the chipoltle plus the others that I have lying around!

  3. Pingback: Smoky Chili Popovers | Erin's DC Kitchen

  4. Pingback: Two Time Jam Champion at the State Fair! | Erin's DC Kitchen

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