So you may be asking…what exactly IS Cowboy Candy? I had the same question. But, I saw the recipe brought up over and over and over in one of my canning groups, and everyone absolutely raved about it. So, I had to give it a try. Basically, Cowboy Candy is jalapeno peppers added to a vinegar/sugar concoction. From that point on the possibilities are endless. I made mine with chopped peppers, but you can leave them in whole slices or cut them into any size/style you like. As for how to use it…I don’t think there was anything that hadn’t been tried lol. Some people liked it as a snack (i.e. put it on crackers with cheese), others followed my path a bit more and used it like a condiment (I mix mine in with black beans, rice, and chicken to make a flavorful and simple meal). Think of it as a variation on salsa. Clearly if you don’t like hot, you won’t like this recipe. It’s definitely a strong flavor and takes a bit of getting used to. I found it to be worthy, even if it is a bit off my usual beaten path! I piecemealed the recipe together from a bunch of different suggestions from my canning group.
- 1 pound fresh jalapenos
- 2/3 cup cider vinegar
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons mustard seed
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Slice or chop jalapenos (leave in some or all seeds if desired to increase hotness).
- Mix cider vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, mustard seed, garlic, and cayenne to boil.
- Reduce for five minutes to a simmer.
- Add jalapenos at the simmer for five minutes more.
- Load sterilized jars with jalapenos first and add liquid filling the jars (leaving 1/4 inch headspace).
- Process in water bath canner for 15 minutes.
- I chopped my peppers in a food processor (to save time as well as my hands!). Definitely recommend wearing gloves if you plan to make a lot of this as the pepper juice can really start to burn after a while. I am usually tough as nails when it comes to that sort of thing, but I read enough horror stories on my canning group to be scared into taking a little precaution on this one!
- The vinegar mixture IS strong. This is a great recipe to make when you can have your windows open and get some ventilation. Between the peppers and the vinegar, it can make your eyes water a bit 🙂
- Other than that, it was a simple canning experiment. You could of course stop at the end of the simmer and just refrigerate if you plan to eat all of it in the immediate future.
- This recipe made 5 jelly jars (4 ounces each).