These Candied Jalapenos, otherwise known as Cowboy Candy, are such a great treat any time of the year! Candied jalepeños are a great way to use up all of those jalapeños from your garden next summer!
What is Cowboy Candy?
Candied jalapenos, aka cowboy candy, are basically sliced jalapeno peppers that are quickly blanched in a flavorful simple syrup.
About Growing Jalapeño Peppers
Peppers plants are easy to grow. Either in your home garden, or even in large pots, they are foolproof, even if you have a black thumb!.
Peppers prefer hot, dry weather, and the flavor of the pepper will be hotter, the dryer the season is. Here is a helpful article regarding growing peppers.
I usually plant about 30 mixed pepper plants. So by the end of September, even after picking all of the ripe ones all summer, I have about 1/2 a ton of jalapeños! Which is fine by me!
What you need
- sliced jalapenos
- apple cider vinegar
- white sugar
- celery seed
- granulated garlic
- ground cayenne pepper
How to make it
Prepare jars, lids and bands. No need to use sterile canning jars since these peppers will be processed for over 10 minutes.
- Mix vinegar, sugar and spices, for brine in large pot. Bring to boil. Reduce and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wash and drain jalapenos.
- Wear gloves to cut up this quantity of peppers! Slice peppers into uniform rings, about ¼ inch rounds. You can also use a mandolin or food processor for more even slices. (use the stem-end when slicing to make them easier to hold.)
- Add the peppers to brine and simmer for 4 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to load jalapenos into washed and sterilized pint jars or half pint jars. Leave 1/4 inch headspace (the space between the rim of the jar and the product).
- Once peppers are loaded into jars, turn heat up under the syrup again and boil hard for 6 more minutes. Ladle additional boiling syrup over top of peppers in jars, leaving the head space. Remove trapped pockets of air with a wooden or plastic chopstick or bubble removal tool.
- Wipe rims of jars with damp paper towel. Place two-piece lids, center lids and then screw on bands fingertip tight.
- Load jars in hot water bath canning pot with canning tongs. Make sure jars are covered with 2-inches of water above the jar. Process 15 minutes for pints.
Always date and label jars before storing.
If you would prefer not to water bath can them, you can just put them in sterile jars and store in the refrigerator, for at least 6 months, if not longer.
You can remove the seeds if ribs, if you would prefer a less hot pepper. Most of the heat lives in the seeds and ribs.
There are a few things that will make your life easier, when canning fruits and vegetables.
It is possible to use tools that you already have in your kitchen, but take my word for it, I have saved myself more burns, since I bought the right tools!
Pro tips for success
- Seeds and ribs can be removed for peppers that are less hot. Most of the heat lives in the seeds and ribs.
- Use proper canning techniques when canning peppers to ensure food safety. Details above.
- Do not cook the peppers too long, or they will get soggy.
- Brine can be cooked down more, before peppers are added, to thicken it more.
- Do not throw away extra brine! It is great in lots of different foods. Add to sauces, stews and chilies, make spicy aioli for burgers, fish, tacos. Brush fish, poultry, beef or pork, while cooking for an extra zip.
- Always wear gloves when cutting up large quantities of hot peppers.
- Never touch eyes, mouth or nose with gloves! Can cause serious irritation!
- Any hot pepper can be used to candy, such as Hungarian wax, hot cherry, serrano, habanero, and more.
- Some of the sugar and spices may fall out of solution as the peppers sit in the pantry. This will not affect the flavor of the brine, or the peppers. If you cook down the brine further, to make it thicker, that should reduce this.
- This cowboy candy can be quick canned. Store in clean, sterilized jars. Let sit on counter until room temperature, then store jars in the refrigerator for 3-6 months, if not longer.
Saving the Brine From Candied Jalapeños
DO NOT throw out the the remaining syrup!
Place it in a jar and use it in a variety ways! Brush it on meat, fish and poultry on the grill or roasted.
Make an aioli. Try it in coleslaw and potato salad or macaroni salads! Deviled eggs are great too. Anything you can think of!
It is amazing on these Cornish Game Hens, mixed with mayo to make a quick and tasty, spicy aioli or mixed with cream cheese or sour cream for a quick, tasty dip for veges! The possibilities are endless, really!
The worse part of this recipe? You have to try to keep everyone away from them for at least 2-3 months, if you can manage it, 4 is even better, so that they can age!
It’s torture, really, waiting for these babies to be ready to eat!
If you can’t wait, they are still tasty right after they are done. The flavor is just better with the wait.
In the meantime, do yourself a favor and buy a jar from your local grocer. They are readily available, but certainly not as good!
Recipes Using Cowboy Candy
- sandwiches like these Candied Jalapeño Grilled Cheese
- Chicken or poultry like these Spicy Cornish Game Hens
- Spicy Cornbread Stuffing
- As an appetizer with a cracker topped with cream cheese and cowboy candy
- Spicy deviled eggs
- non top of nachos
Tools Needed to Make Cowboy Candy
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Love Gardening? If you lov growing your own produce, these posts are packed full of information about how to get that big harvest by the end of the season! Don’t miss our How to Start a Garden Series!
I hope you like the post today for this Cowboy Candy Recipe! Do you can fresh produce in the fall? Leave me a comment below!
Enjoy! And have fun cooking!
How to Can Candied Jalapenos
- Wash and drain peppers. Wear gloves to cut up this quantity of peppers!! Cut into 1/8 – 1/4" slices.
- Add the vinegar, sugar and spices to a large stock pot.
- Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the peppers and simmer for 4 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to load jalapenos into washed and sterilized jars. Leave 1/4 inch head space.
- Once peppers are loaded into jars, turn heat up under the syrup again and boil hard for 6 more minutes.
- Ladle additional syrup over top of peppers in jars, leaving the head space.
- Wipe edges of jars.
- Place lids and bands on jars. Finger-tip tighten.
- DO NOT throw out the the remaining syrup! Place it in a jar and use it in a variety ways! Aioli, brush it on meat, fish and poultry try it in cole slaw and potato or macaroni salads! Anything you can think of!
- Place the jars in the canner with hot water in it. Bring to a full rolling boil. Boil for 10 minutes for half pints, 15 minutes for pints. Turn off burner and let stand in hot water for 5 more minutes. Then remove and leave stand on counter overnight.
- The next day check for seal. If center of lid flexes up and down, they must be stored in the refrigerator. Place sealed jars in a cool, dry place.
- Try to resist the temptation to open them for at least 2 months! I like waiting 3 for the flavors to develop! In the meantime, console yourself with the syrup!!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you go to the link and purchase something, at no additional cost to you. See FTC Disclosure, here.
Originally published January 23, 2018