Old Yellow Rubber Gloves

My sister called the other day; “Do you remember Dad’s recipe for Hot Pepper Jam?”

Heavy sigh.

That recipe was one of those things that as youth we didn’t think to record. As we’ve gotten older, we try to put these details of or our past back together.   Each of us has a different version of the story depending on our relationship with our parents at that time.

I remembered that Dad was a frequent user of mom’s well used The Joy of Cooking, so check with her, maybe Hot Pepper Jam is in there. I told my sister that I had tried to look for the recipe online last year and found many, but didn’t have the nerve to try them. I said that she was brave for trying.

As a teenager, whenever I began a project I would follow the directions to the letter. Those four years of Home Economics came in handy, especially when sewing. I would get out the tape measure, find the grain of the fabric, pin the pattern in just the right places, and then mark the darts exactly where noted.

(Remember darts in patterns?)

Then I would carefully cut exactly on the lines. It would take me several days to make an outfit. My sister, my younger sister I might add, would just put the pattern on the material, cut, and have an outfit that was beautiful by the end of the day.

Well there she goes again, making Dad’s Hot Pepper Jam  BEFORE me… and it turned out awesome!

Do I have a Hot Pepper Jam Story?

Indeed I do.

My parents were once making pepper jam. Four batches; Two red and two green.  (Dad never made just ‘one’ of anything.)

They had been cutting the Jalapenos in preparation for making the jam. Jalapeno peppers have oils in them. You must be very careful to wash your hands several times with soap and alcohol to get all the oil off or you will have a painful burn when the oils come in contact with the skin.   Mom wore contact lenses at the time, and forgetting this, rubbed her eyes.


Oh, the burning sensation that lingered in her eye. What is the old Pennsylvania Dutch saying?   “Too old we grow smart”?

Well, then mom put on her trusty old yellow rubber gloves to finish cutting up the jalapeno peppers. Dad did not wear contacts so he did not need to wear old yellow rubber gloves.     Cutting up the jalapeno hot peppers was soon completed and the jam making process then began.

Anyone who has made jam or jelly is aware that preparation is very important in the canning process. Once you start, the steps move quickly and there is little time to stop for a break until all steps are finished.

Once all was done and the jars started to resonate with the satisfying ping, ping, ping that lets you know you have successfully processed your jam, Dad (who had not worn those old yellow rubber gloves whilst chopping the jalapenos) took a much needed bathroom break.


My sister’s recipe for Hot Pepper Jam

2 packages liquid Certo

6 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups chopped hot peppers

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar.

That’s it!

Love it served with cream cheese on a Ritz or Triscuit cracker.

My favorite web site for all canning needs:


National Center for Home Preservation


Virginia Cooperative Extension:



  1. This story sounds very similar to my own. The burn was an adventure never to be forgotten.