Holiday Dinners and Hot Pepper Jam

Things that your family find normal may be weird to others.

My mom’s cousin has schizophrenia.  For those of you that don’t know, people with schizophrenia can have visual, auditory, and paranoid hallucinations.

In his case, he regularly had intellectual conversations with the devil.

Since he always had these chats, this wasn’t something that ever bothered us. (It’s not like the devil was ever telling him to do anything bad- they apparently just discussed politics and philosophy. And he never turned his head in normal conversation to ask the devil’s opinion.  I guess these were one-on-one chats.)

However, it’s a bit different for people who aren’t used to this.

My family had a bunch of our elderly neighbors over that year for some holiday dinner. Before we knew it, my very conservative neighbor from down the street had sat down next to my mother’s cousin in preparation for the meal.

He looked over at my normally very talkative neighbor and said, as he went to take his first bite of the meal,

“So I was talking to the devil about politics the other day. What did you talk about with the devil the last time you talked to him?”

I’m actually surprised my neighbor didn’t head home right then and there after he finished choking. He was, however, absolutely silent for the rest of the meal and dragged his wife home the second the pie was served.

Devilish Hot Pepper Jam

feel free to discuss with Satan


  • 12 oz jalapenos, halved and seeded
  • 12 oz red and jelly peppers, halved and seeded
  • 2 c cider vinegar
  • 6 c granulated sugar
  • 2 pouches liquid pectin


  1. Prep water bath, cans, and lids. (Place clean, empty jars into the largest pot you have. Add enough water so that the water comes over the top of the empty jars at least 1 inch. Bring water to a boil using a lid.)
  2. In a food processor, chop peppers finely with 1 c cider vinegar. (Don’t process all the way until smooth- small pieces look better!)
  3. In a large pot, add peppers slurry with the rest of the vinegar and the sugar. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add liquid pectin quickly.
  5. Bring back to a boil and cook for 1 additional minute.
  6. Remove from heat and skim foam.
  7. Ladle jam into hot jars (this makes about 5-6 half-pint jars, but always prep an extra in case you need it!) leaving 1/4 in headspace.
  8. Wipe rims, place on lids, and secure with bands.
  9. Place jars in the canner. Bring water back to a boil and process (boil) for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and remove lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars.
  10. Let jam jars cool 1 hour, test to make sure seal has happened (it might take longer than 1 hour!), and don’t move until the next day so it sets properly.

This is delicious on crackers or bagels with cream cheese or in brie en croute.

If you want this spicier, use only jalapenos and none of the regular peppers. You can also make this clear and strain out the peppers.

55 thoughts on “Holiday Dinners and Hot Pepper Jam

  1. In my psych term a patient tried to kill me because I was the devil. It took a lot of effort to get away without hurting her as she was trying to strangle me.

    1. Oh dear that does sound like quite the situation…

      1. I still have contact with my psych professor. It’s odd as a pathologist, but now that I manage health emergencies in Australian government the mental health aspects of emergency management and recovery are so critical. I even have a couch in my office for counselling sessions with work mates.

      2. We do a lot of counseling in anesthesia too…and people say I don’t talk to patients…

      3. I don’t like it when people criticise doctors without knowing what our complete job is.

      4. Me either. My friend is a path resident and she has to tell people all the time that she sees patients, too!

      5. So long as we don’t start speaking with our patients when they are asleep or for me on a slab 🙂

      6. You mean you don’t pull a Ducky from NCIS?

      7. I love Ducky on NCIS but no, the technical staff would worry :-))

  2. In all fairness … maybe we should try to talk to the devil. *ler

    1. Apparently he’s quite witty, but looks nothing like Brad Pitt 😉

      1. Send him over … I sure I will enjoy his company *smile.

  3. I love the story! The recipe seems really cool too! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. I prefer it to regular “pepper jelly” just since it has the pieces of fruit in it!

  4. Great recipe, thanks for sharing!

  5. sometimes a paranoid patient catches my slight Russian accent and I become a Russian Spy not to be trusted to 🙂

    1. Oh that’s absolutely hilarious. Sometimes I get mistaken for ScarJo and then they’re convinced I’m not a real doctor 😉

  6. Pepper jam. I need to try this

  7. I had neighbors as a child who had this affliction. The story is funny, but it is such a real illness. It is also a bit sad because you wish where was something you could do to help, but really you can’t. The jam looks so tasty. Besides crackers, what would you suggest it be used with.

    1. I have a relative that eats this stuff with everything. But it is especially good on collard greens.

      1. Perfect since I’m making collards tomorrow!

    2. My mother’s cousin is actually really high-functioning- has had a steady job for years.

      I normally use it on baked brie, but I’ve also used it on bagels with cream cheese. Someone else recommended on collard greens.

      1. Hmmm…collard greens. Interesting. Thanks! 🙂

  8. Love your recipe….yum as I have had it once before but had no idea how to make it:) As far as metal health issues…I know and understand it…I am a trained Christian counselor…but we did not push Christianity or God….we sought to help the person or the marriage…we taught life skills without drugs unless needed…a new client, became family to us…I still carry my clients in my heart today…and it has been since 2001 that I retired from it when we began a second business…I miss helping others.

    1. So most of my work is with PTSD…I feel like schizophrenia is almost more “accepted” than depression/PTSD are.

      1. Wow….that is a a huge change and sad….I do know that things are way worse than when I was counseling…you are in a tough field…e sure to take care of you:) Time off and vacations:)

      2. Well I just got back from 4 weeks of vacation- went to Hawaii and Michigan. 🙂

  9. Great story (as usual) and great recipe…also as usual 🙂

  10. Very nice! both story and recipe… 😉

  11. Reblogged this on The Chilli Pad and commented:
    Another amazing food blogger. This recipe for chilli jam by the Domestic Diva is hotter than my version!

    1. Thanks! I prefer mine on the hotter side…I used jalapenos I grew myself!

  12. that’s why when I hear the word normal being explained, I ask, what is your normal? normal is for each one different. I have odd things about myself, that others find out of the norm, but i don’t care, I am who I am. we are all unique, right?!

    1. I’ll give you that everyone is unique 😉

  13. petit4chocolatier November 24, 2012 — 1:59 pm

    Love the hot pepper jam!! It really looks devilish!!

  14. Domestic Diva, MD….you are awesome! This recipe is sure to be on my stove and in my cupboard in the days that follow. I will certainly deal with satan on any issues that arise from it. Thanks! 🙂

  15. fromthericefields November 25, 2012 — 12:26 am

    This post made me laugh out loud!

    Great post 🙂

  16. Love hot pepper jam – Thanks so much for sharing!

  17. I love this jelly. it is one of our faves! My Mother craves it…which reminds me I need to make a batch to send her! Schizophrenia is a sad and tragic thing! I have a daughter that is afflicted with this horrible thing. It is one of the biggest heartaches in my life! I just want her to be well…and can do nothing about it! Kudos to you and your family for your acceptance and understanding of the ‘talks with the devil’! Blessings to you!

  18. There is no doubt that I have to try this so of for no other reason, I can match my husband’s mean pepper sauce!

    I note the gentleman ate to his heart’s content (albeit in silence) before leaving!

    1. My mother is that good of a cook that you can practically ignore anything while eating.

  19. Devlish recipe, but I think I’ll take a pass on family dinners at your house.

  20. This recipe looks delicious!

  21. Wow, and I thought my family was a little odd… Great recipe by the way. My boyfriend got a jar of hot pepper jelly from a guy he works with once and loved it. Unfortunately I have not be able to replicate it yet. I will have to try your recipe. Love reading all of your posts. Thanks for following along with mine as well.

    1. We might be odd but we’re okay with our differences 🙂

      Hope the recipe works out well for you!

      1. I know I wouldn’t trade mine for riches or fame!

  22. Can we get cousin to guest post sometime? Hilarious! I’d love to have a conversation with cousin and the devil….

    1. Haha I’m not sure if he could work the blogging software…

  23. Love your opening line! Definitely true for our family 🙂

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