Summer is coming to an end and so is my vegetable garden. I have been picking tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and herbs. It’s also an end of an era, losing a member of our family. We had a very sad day yesterday saying goodbye to our family pet dog Baxter. Last week while my dog was pacing around my kitchen, I was inspired to make a pineapple pepper jelly so my peppers would not go to waste. Little did I know, our puppy wouldn’t be with us a week later. My heart is breaking writing this post, yet writing is cathartic and expressing myself is healthy.
I will never forget the day twelve years ago when my son Andrew and my niece Jasmine took a day trip to the Tony La Russa”s Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek. It was Christmas break and the kids were off from school, so we were looking for a fun adventure. And back then, they had free coffee and free popcorn to munch on while looking at the animals. Arf was the perfect kind of field trip even if we weren’t looking to adopt a pet.
I remember seeing “Grand Master Flash which is what they called him” Baxter for the first time. He was cute, spunky and full of life. We asked to bring him in the larger room and he bounded around jumping on our laps and making the kids who were 12 and 13 years old at the time giggle. We had no idea we were going to fall in love immediately with this sweet little guy. I had to call my husband at work and make him come right over so we could adopt him, since the rules were that both of us had to sign the consent forms.
The kids were thrilled and couldn’t wait to buy him a leash, dog treats, a kennel and new dog toys. After all, we believed him to be about 4 years old already. Baxter adapted to our home quickly, even getting along with our two, 1 year old cats Charlie and Charcoal. He loved taking walks in the evenings smelling all the neighbors plants and lawns.
In his later years, he had back problems and couldn’t jump off the beds anymore so we bought him poufs and littered the house with them. Most recently, he suffered from doggie dementia and his hearing was compromised. He would yelp at night and we couldn’t tell if he was hurting or just scared, so we started leaving the lights on for him.
Many days we would barely be able to walk and we would carry him outside to do his business. He even let me hold him in my arms for extended periods of time which was nice. For the past several months he has needed a special diet of seared steak, roasted chicken and cooked ground beef since he wouldn’t eat his dog food. That was fine since he was usually happy having whatever we were eating.
Today, we grieve. Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully my heart will feel less empty as time goes on. Until then, we have our memories.
Here is the Pineapple Pepper Jelly recipe:
4 cups Pineapple finely chopped
2 cups sweet mini red, yellow and orange peppers finely chopped
¼ c serrano peppers (seeded and finely chopped)
1 c white vinegar
5 C granulated sugar (divided)
6 oz (2 packages) Sure Jell
¼ C fresh lime juice
1 T lime zest
¼ c fresh finely chopped fresh ginger
1 T lemon verbena chopped
½ t butter
I basically followed the Sure Jell directions for making quick and easy freezer jelly.
1 Prepare containers: rinse and clean jars and lids with boiling water and dry thoroughly by placing upside down on a cooling rack.
2 Prepare Pectin Mixture: gradually add 2 pkgs Sure-Jell and 1 cup sugar to fruit and pepper mixture. Stir in vinegar, lime juice, zest, lemon verbena and ginger.
3 Bring to a rolling boil over med to med high heat.Then add remaining sugar and bring to another boil. When at a high boil, put timer on for 2.5 minutes continuing to stir. Add butter at the end to help avoid foam.
4 Carefully pour jelly into clean sterilized jars. Wipe edges clean with paper towel and seal with warm lids. Let set on counter until cool. Freeze for up to 6 months.
This jelly is served with cream cheese and crackers for an appetizer. It is also delicious served alongside a cheese platter and crisp baguette toasts. I’ve also made salad dressing with this delicious and beautiful jelly.
Hope you find the inspiration to make jelly of your own. It’s really a fun project and my friends will benefit from something sweet when I stop by with some of this edible treat.
Thanks for reading this and I hope you will follow my blog for more fun recipes and entertaining blog posts.