Every year my spice-lovin’ husband plants WAY too many hot peppers in our vegetable garden. He can’t help himself, I suppose, but our family can only eat so much salsa and Chile Verde.
This year, rather than letting our delicious crop of jalapeños go to waste, I searched Tasty Kitchen for new recipes and could hardly believe my luck when I came across a recipe for Candied Jalapeños (Cowboy Candy) from TK member Rebecca.
Canned jalapeños? Yes please! What could be better than enjoying the fruit of our summer labor on a cold day in February?
After making a batch of Rebecca’s Candied Jalapeños, I know one thing for sure: there is no way I’ve canned enough jars to make it till February.
You may be wondering what Candied Jalapeños taste like. It’s a wonderful mix of sweet and heat. I made my first batch with the seeds and membranes included and it was SPICY! The tangy, savory sweet flavor of the syrup knocked my socks off. In short, Cowboy Candy is delicious and totally addicting.
I’ll be making another batch for my family this week, and one to give as gifts for the holidays. This time around I’ll remove the seeds and membranes (which is where most of the spicy heat is found), so the rest of my family can enjoy their treat without watery eyes and runny noses.
Here’s how to make Cowboy Candy.
Start with fresh, firm jalapeños. As with any canning recipe, the quality of your vegetable (or fruit) is very important.
Remove the stems from your peppers. Yes, I’m wearing gloves, which might seem a bit cautious. But try inadvertently rubbing your eye after chopping a quantity of spicy peppers, and you’ll opt for gloves too.
This would be a good time to core out the seeds and membrane if you like a milder flavor.
Slice the peppers into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices.
Beyond the obvious jalapeños, the ingredients are sugar, cider vinegar, turmeric, celery seed, ground cayenne pepper and granulated garlic. I live in a smaller community and couldn’t find granulated garlic. I chose powdered garlic at half the measurement (1-1/2 teaspoons) as a substitute, since powered is much finer than granulated. Powdered garlic was easy and worked great for me. After reading the comments on Rebecca’s blog, I discovered that she recommends one clove of garlic per 1/4 teaspoon of granulated, if you have trouble finding granulated like I did.
Pour 6 cups of white granulated sugar into a large pot.
Add the vinegar and spices.
Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the peppers and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Some of the slices looked more cooked than others, but that’s okay.
Using a slotted spoon or mesh skimmer, transfer the peppers into clean, sterile, hot canning jars. Fill to within 1/4 inch from the rim of the jar. You can use half pint or if you have big eaters, go for pint jars. Knowing my husband, I opted for pints and yielded 4 jars.
Return the syrup to the stove, turn up the heat and bring back to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.
Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup over the jalapeños.
Insert a clean, sterile chopstick to the bottom of the jar several times to release any trapped air. Add or remove syrup if necessary to leave 1/4 inch head space.
Wipe the rims of the jars using a clean, damp paper towel to remove any stickiness. A clean rim is important for a good seal.
Fix on new two-piece lids to fingertip tightness.
Rebecca included recommended canning times on the recipe: 10 minutes for 1/2 pint and 15 minutes for pint jars. However, I live in the Rocky Mountains at almost 5000 feet, so I made a quick call to my local State Extension service for canning times at my altitude. The canning times vary depending on where you live, so I highly recommend making the same phone call to find the right time for you. I processed my pint jars for 25 minutes.
Add your cans to your canner with two inches of water over the tops of the lid. Start timing only after your water has come to a full boil.
Rebecca recommends waiting about 2 weeks before eating your jalapenos, for best flavor. This turned out to be a tall order for our house and my husband broke into a jar in less than a week.
Already we’ve enjoyed them on burgers with jack cheese and on turkey sandwiches.
We’ve also loved them as an appetizer on crackers with cream cheese. I get the feeling we’ve just begun finding ways to enjoy this spicy treat.
Just be sure to spoon some of the syrup onto whatever you are eating! It is the star of the show.
Thank you Rebecca for sharing Cowboy Candy with us. You are truly a genius in the kitchen.
These little beauties are so addictive: sweet, spicy, and tangy. Once you start eating these, you’ll find all sorts of places to stash them—sandwiches, potato salad, grilled meat, and pasta, just to name a few.
- 3 pounds Firm, Fresh Jalapeno Peppers, Washed
- 2 cups Cider Vinegar
- 6 cups White Granulated Sugar
- ½ teaspoons Turmeric
- ½ teaspoons Celery Seed
- 3 teaspoons Granulated Garlic
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
Wearing gloves, remove the stems from all of the jalapeno peppers. The easiest way to do this is to slice a small disc off of the stem-end along with the stem. Discard the stems.
Slice the peppers into uniform 1/8-1/4 inch rounds. Set aside.
In a large pot, bring cider vinegar, white sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pepper slices and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers, loading into clean, sterile canning jars to within 1/4 inch of the upper rim of the jar. Turn heat up under the pot with the syrup and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.
Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeno slices. Insert a cooking chopstick to the bottom of the jar two or three times to release any trapped pockets of air. Adjust the level of the syrup if necessary. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel and fix on new, two-piece lids to finger-tip tightness.
If you do not want to can these to the point of shelf stable, you can simply put the jars in your refrigerator and store them there. I prefer to keep the fridge space free so I can them. If you wish to can them, follow the instructions below.
Note: If you have leftover syrup, and it is likely that you will, you may can it in half-pint or pint jars, too. It’s wonderful brushed on meat on the grill or added to potato salad or, or, or … in short, don’t toss it out!
To can, place jars in a canner and cover with water by 2-inches. Bring the water to a full rolling boil. When it reaches a full rolling boil, set the timer for 10 minutes for half-pints or 15 minutes for pints. When timer goes off, use canning tongs to transfer the jars to a cooling rack. Leave them to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. When fully cooled, wipe them with a clean, damp washcloth, then label.
Allow to mellow for at least two weeks, but preferably a month before eating. Or don’t. I won’t tell!
Calli is truly a woman of many talents, from cooking, sewing, crafts, beautiful photography and gardening. Her blog, Make it Do is a treasure trove of recipes, household tips, crafts projects, sewing patterns … you name it. It’s also peppered with photos of her beautiful kids. Go visit her site, and visit it often. There’s always something new to learn there!