Light Recipes - Reduced Sugar, Salt

Light Balsamic Cranberry Red Pepper Spread - No Sugar Needed Pectin

This jelly has full-bodied pepper flavour with a subtle hint of sweetness. Crushed peppers are an optional addition for those who like some heat in their jelly. Serve it on crackers on its own or with cream or goat cheese. It’s also great served with grilled chicken or pork or used as a glaze or in a marinade.


  • 2 cups (500 ml) chopped, stemmed and seeded red or green bell pepper (about 2 medium)
  • 3 1/2 cups (875 ml) white cranberry juice - divided
  • 1/2 tsp (5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Jelly
  • 1/4 cup (50 ml) white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pkg (49 g) BERNARDIN® No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) butter or margarine (to reduce foaming), optional
  • ¼ tsp (1 ml) cardamom
  • OPTIONAL: 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) granulated sugar or SPLENDA® granular sweetener
  • Food colouring, optional
  • Pepper Infusion


  • In a blender or food processor puree peppers with1/2 cup (125 ml) cranberry juice. Combine pepper puree, remaining cranberry juice and red pepper flakes in a stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil, cover and remove from heat. Let steep (stand) about 30 minutes. Pour mixture into dampened Jelly Bag or cheese cloth-lined sieve suspended over a deep container. Let drip at least 1 hour to collect pepper infusion. Measure 4 cups (1000 ml) and set aside.


  • Place required number of clean 250 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner. Cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Keep jars hot until ready to use.

  • Preheating Bernardin® lids is not advised. The sealing compound used for our home canning lids performs better at room temperature than it does pre-heated in simmering water (180°F). Simply wash lids in hot, soapy water, dry, and set aside until needed. Preheating can lead to less vacuum being achieved during water bath canning, and to buckle failures during pressure canning.

  • Place the 4 cups (1000 ml) of pepper infusion into a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, add vinegar and cardamom. Stir in No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin until dissolved. Add butter, if using.

  • Stirring frequently, bring mixture to a boil over high heat.

  • For Ultra Light (no added sweetener) Jelly – return mixture to a boil and boil 1 minute.

  • For Lightly Sweetened Jelly, gradually stir in sugar or sweetener. Return mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down and boil 1 minute.

  • Remove from heat and add a few drops of food colouring, if needed or desired. Quickly ladle jelly into a hot jar to within 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) of top rim (headspace). Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining jelly.

  • Ensure that jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process –boil filled jars – 10 minutes.*When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.

  • After cooling check jar seals. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.