Paradis woman’s novel jellies could be her recipe for success
Bright as roses and curling like petals, ghost peppers dangle on lush green plants growing in Elizabeth Hosey’s front yard in Paradis.
Few people would suspect they’re about to become part of a unique jelly, and even fewer of them would expect they’ll be mixed with peaches in Hosey’s own “Ghostly Peach” recipe.
They can make taste buds weep – literally.
But that doesn’t stop a growing number of customers from buying the hot stuff or her other many creative jellies at the German Coast Farmers’ Market on Wednesday and Saturday.
Her kitchen offers a series of fascinating concoctions rooted in a disaster.
“I killed a yard,” Hosey said. “So my goal was to make something grow and the first thing it was jalapenos.”She hit her goal and way more in a pepper bumper crop, leaving her with so many of them that Hosey brainstormed ideas on what to do with them. She just couldn’t stop with pickled peppers, and there lies the birth of an endeavor that is blooming into her business.
“I’ve always loved to cook,” she said. “Growing up, I was the cook of the house. Eventually, I figured it out and everyone has always loved my food. There is something about food and watching people enjoy what you’ve created that is really awesome.”
Hosey decided to make vinegar-based jellies, and then her mind flourished with ideas that led to garlic jelly and jalapeno-garlic jelly. When a friend gave her three pounds of blueberries, she made blueberry-jalapeno jelly – and people enjoyed the taste.
More recipes came, but Hosey really got into deciding all the uses for her concoctions that lent to still more novel recipes and uses.
“People called me and asked, ‘Can you make this flavor hotter or milder?’ and I love doing all that. It’s a challenge.”
Her pepper selection grew, too.
The jalapeno plants were soon joined by ghost peppers, Trinidad Scorpions and Serranos, which she said “has been amazing to get all these things grow.” And they also fit her palette for the heat, which is how recipes like Ghostly Peach, as well as Watermelon Scorpion came into being.
Her experiments lent to the “what flavor can I make” phase that hasn’t eased yet.
And this is where the savory jellies came about like lemon-basil, cucumber-ginger and roasted garlic and onion jellies came about, which are aptly suited for salad dressings, marinades or injection recipes. They can be applied to chicken, hamburgers, pork chops or fish.
“I haven’t seen them anywhere else so I’m interested in seeing how well they sell,” Hosey said.
One couple who bought her roasted onion and garlic jelly had to come back for more because they ate it straight out of the jar, she said. Another customer told her that he uses her very potent dehydrated onion jelly on his toast with a fried egg. Others have used the jellies straight out the jar as a glaze, as an additive to BBQ sauce or mixed with mayonnaise for a turkey sandwich.
Thanks to a dehydrator gift to her, Hosey even dries some of her ingredients, like the onions and peppers, for her creations.
“I don’t know where the ideas for my flavors come from,” she said.
But they do come, which has Hosey focusing on the future.She’s contemplating still more tantalizing jellies like cilantro-wine, as well as stepping her business.
“I really enjoy the market,” she said. “To be a part of that is really awesome. I love helping build a community and getting to know the people all around me.”
Having started selling in July, the Farmers Market is also where she’s doing her homework to finetune products and test marketing. Her sales are steady enough, particularly the peppers jellies, to anticipate a move to the Edible Enterprises incubator to further develop her creations and take them to market.
“I love a challenge … anything that throws me out of my comfort zone and makes anxious,” she said. “I will jump right in.”
Her biggest sellers are jalapeno and garlic jelly and roasted onion and garlic jelly, although Ghostly Peach is growing in sales. Hosey marvels over brainstorming her way into her own business.
“I’m loving it,” she said. “I’m still working on having my schedule right to be sure I have time to do all the things I need to do, working on the shipping. I see where this could be huge. I’m just really excited about what it could be, and I hate sitting still. I’m really loving it.”