Lemon Drop Pepper and Mead Preserve

Lemon Drop Mead PreserveAfter telling a good friend about how I tried to dry some authentic Thai chili seeds in the oven just to mistakenly roast them, he surprised me with a small batch of lemon drop peppers that his restaurant had grown this summer.  I promptly collected all the good seeds and was left with about 3 ounces of flesh from the lemon drops.  I’ve never had them before.  They are bright yellow when ripe with a fairly thin skin.  It is spicier than a jalapeno but is a bit more nuanced.  A hint of citrus, and an incredible aroma.

Fall is the time for preserves so a jelly made sense to me.  I decided to complement the lemon drops with mead (honey wine) because its honey sweetness would go well with the citrus.  Plus the mead further elevated the jelly’s already vibrant yellow.

This preserve goes very well with cheese because the casein from dairy essentially washes the capsicum away, thereby toning down the spice.  However, it can be used as a regular spread if you’re a lover of heat, or as a glaze or garnish in both savory and sweet applications.  In the picture, I topped crackers with yogurt, the preserve and mint.

Lemon Drop Pepper and Mead Preserve – Makes 6-7 cups

Ingredients
3 cups mead (a regular sized wine bottle)
85 g lemon drop peppers
175 g yellow sweet pepper (~1 large pepper)
3 lemons
5 cups sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 pouch Certo pectin

Steps
– Bring mead to a boil in a shallow sauce pan and reduce to 2 cups.  Take of the heat

– Meanwhile, remove the seeds and stems of lemon drop peppers and mince.  Do the same with the yellow sweet pepper

– Zest and juice the lemons

– Add all of the ingredients into the pan with the mead and bring to a hard boil for 1 minute.  Watch the pot once it comes up because foaming may occur

Can the product if you think it’ll be around long.  Or jar it up and refrigerate.  The sugar and acid should keep it from spoiling for quite some time.

Results

The jelly packs a nice punch.  You can taste the mead but the sugar pretty much dominates.  It is a bit sweet but that amount of sugar was needed to set the preserve.  The tang of the yogurt tames that sweetness.  Using it as a glaze for a pork chop may be good.  That would caramelize some of the sugars to bring out some different flavors

Afterthought

I’ve never used glucose but it is less sweet than sucrose (your everyday table sugar).  Need to do more playing around to see if the pectin will react the same with sugars that are less sweet.

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