The other week, at one of the local farmer’s markets I got a really good deal on some red and green jalapenos. I was excited as one of the things I wanted to can this year was a couple of jars of Cowboy Candy-sweet pickled jalapeno slices. These spicy-sweet treats have become quite popular over the last couple of years and as a fan of spicy foods I’ve enjoyed my fair share, but had yet to make my own. The Internet if full of recipes for Cowboy Candy, most of which seem to be people sharing the same recipe over and over. I took the basic recipe I found and revamped it a bit, adding some onion to the mix for an additional layer of flavor and a bit of salt, that, oddly enough, most recipes seemed to omit. I find this strange as just a bit of salt helps to cut through the sweetness and accentuate the other flavors. The resultant recipe is below.
One word of caution about making Cowboy Candy; it’s hard to know just exactly how spicy your jalapenos are going to be without tasting them so until you actually make them you won’t really be able to tell how spicy your end product will be. If you like heat, but don’t like that much heat I suggest you slice off the stem end and remove the seeds and white membranes of the jalapeno as this is where much of the heat resides. I didn’t and ended up with a batch of Cowboy Candy that packs quite a punch, which is good for me as my wife doesn’t like foods that are too spicy, and I think these will qualify.
makes 6-8 1/2 pint jars
2 1/2 pounds Jalapenos, red or green, or better yet a mix for nice color
1 medium Onion
2 cups Cider Vinegar
6 cups Sugar, granulated
1/2 tsp. Turmeric
1/2 tsp. Mustard seed
2 Tbl. Salt, either kosher or pickling, but not iodized table salt
1/2 tsp. Celery seed
In a large pot prepare boiling water for processing. Slice the jalapenos into rings 1/4 inch thick. If you want a pickle that is less spicy remove the seeds as stated above. Peel the onion and cut into short, fat Julienne and mix with the jalapenos. In a non-reactive pot come the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook for 6-7 minutes and remove from heat. Pack peppers and onions into sterilized 1/2 pint jars. Bring pickling liquid back to a boil and pour over the vegetables, covering completely but leaving 1/4 inch head space in the jars. Wipe the rims of he jars to ensure they are clean, for a good seal. Cover with sterilized lids and place in boiling water, making sure the water covers the jars by about 2 inches. Once water returns to a boil process the jars for 10 minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool to room temperature. Check to make sure that all jars sealed properly. If any did not seal store those in the fridge and consume within a couple of weeks.