Canning Cowboy Candy.

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).

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