I really don’t spend every hour of every day making jelly and jam even though it must seem that way. It’s just the season, y’all. The berries are coming in; the herbs are bountiful and it’s too dang hot to do much outside.

So what’s a gal to do?

Make jam and jelly, of course!

We had an early strawberry season in Arkansas, and I was not quite ready for it. I still had strawberries in the freezer from last season (I know…too long.), so I decided to use those up in this jam in order to make room for a new supply. But…it was too early for basil.

I know I could’ve bought some at the market, but I like it straight from the garden. Picked early in the morning, basil’s flavor and aroma are at their peak. I think that translates into a more flavorful jelly.

This jelly sometimes takes several days to jell. Just a heads up so you won’t panic. If after two weeks it still hasn’t set, well then I suggest a remake. You can find those directions in the pectin package.

There are tons of people who make jam and jelly without added pectin; I’m not one of them. Call me impatient if you will. I only use fruit based pectins, however. Pectin is a carbohydrate derived from plants, usually fruits.  Most fruits and some vegetables contain pectin, but apples, plums, grapes and citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges and lemons are the best sources of pectin. Commercial pectin is most often made of apples or citrus. The concentration of pectin is highest when the fruit is at the just-ripe stage. 

Pectin and gelatin are similar in that they both are thickeners. However, gelatin is animal based. It is made from collagen which is found in the bones and skin of animals. In the United States, most gelatin is made from pigskin.

This jelly (It probably should be called a jam, but oh well.) is super on breakfast bagels with an egg white omelet, arugula and avocado. Trust me.

Oh, and purple hull peas will praise you when you put a dollop on them. Would I lie to you?

strawberry basil pepper jelly vert

Are you new to canning? 

Have you ever made any jelly’s or tried canning? Tell me about your experiences in the comments.

Preserving Spring: Strawberry-Basil-Pepper Jelly


  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, stemmed
  • 7 orange or red habaneros, stems removed*
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored and seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 7 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 pouches liquid pectin (I use Certo.)


  1. Prepare the jars and lids.
  2. Roughly chop the strawberries; place in a large saucepan.
  3. Finely chop the habaneros and red bell pepper in a food processor.
  4. Mix the peppers, basil, sugar and lemon juice into the strawberries; stir well.
  5. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil, stirring frequently.
  6. Add in the liquid pectin and bring back to a hard boil for one minute.
  7. Remove from the heat and skim off the foam, if desired.
  8. Pack into sterilized jars and seal.
  9. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes; cool completely before storing.
  10. Check lids for proper seal.


If you are not accustomed to water bath canning, I suggest you purchase a good guide. I'm a big fan of Ball's canning manuals myself. The pamphlet in the box of Certo is a good general guide for making jams and jellies. This recipe will make 6 - 8 half pints of jam. I make lots of jam in 4 ounce containers to use as gifts throughout the year. *If you prefer less heat, stem the peppers and remove the membranes and seeds. We prefer the heat.