If you’re unfamiliar with Cowboy Candy, think of sliced jalapeño peppers that have been bottled after being doused in a sugary syrup and stored for use all year. The end result is a harmonious blend of sweetness and spice in every mouthful.
Remember, they are “Candied” Jalapeños. And that, of course, means there’s a lot of sugar in this dish.
Recipe for Candied Jalapeños
*Produces around 4.5-cup jars
- 3 pounds of fresh jalapenos, rinsed (equals 8+ cups of sliced).
- 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
- 6 cups granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon celery seed
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- Tip – To keep your hands from burning for the rest of the day, wear gloves throughout this stage. To prepare the jalapeños, first, remove the stems and then slice them into thin rounds, about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch in thickness. Put aside.
- Put the cider vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, garlic, and cayenne pepper in a large pot and bring them to a boil. Let it cook slowly for 5 minutes.
- Put the pepper slices in the pot and let it cook for 5 minutes.
At this point, you can remove the Candied Jalapeños from the heat and allow them cool; once they have cooled, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two months. Alternatively, keep reading for canning guidelines.
- Pack the peppers into clean, sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace, using a slotted spoon.
- Increase the heat to high and bring the Cowboy Candy syrup to a full boil. Boil for six minutes. After filling the jars with jalapeño peppers, leave a quarter of an inch of headspace and pour the syrup on top. Make sure there are no voids within the jar by sliding a plastic tool down its interior. Put the lids on the jars after you’ve wiped the rims with a moist cloth.
- To finish canning, put the jars in a large pot with enough hot water to cover them by 2 inches. A half pint will take 10 minutes at a rolling boil, whereas a pint would take 15 minutes.
Transfer the jars to a thick towel to cool when the time is up. Don’t bother them for a full day. Make sure all the lids have been sealed by pressing down on the middle of the lid before putting them away. Store the jar in the fridge if the lid shakes. For up to a year, sealed jars can be kept in the pantry.
The Waiting Time
The hardest step is waiting the required two weeks for the flavors in the candied jalapeños to fully develop. Despite the challenges, I believe they are well worth the effort.
How to Serve
The candied jalapeños are great as a snack or an appetizer. Add a sugary kick to your hamburgers, hot dogs, and cold cut sandwiches by sprinkling them with this.
However, it works equally well as an accompaniment to a cheese and cracker platter. Add some flavor and texture to dips and spreads by combining it with melted cream cheese or brie.