A little sweet and a little spicy, these Candied Jalapeños are a delicious and addictive way to use up a bumper crop of jalapeño peppers.
Candied jalapeños. Otherwise known as cowboy candy. Delicious goodness and something I haven’t made for quite a while. Not because I haven’t wanted to (per-se…) but because we are still eating what remains from my last canning session.
I first heard of candied jalapeños last spring when a good friend of mine in Texas showcased her abundance of jalapeño peppers. At the time, she didn’t realize that I was sitting on a few pounds of jalapeños myself. We spent hours on Facebook discussing how we planned to use them – from pickled to canned, to hot sauce and even cowboy candy.
She suggested I should make more candied jalapeños with my liberal stash – and at first I brushed it off.
Why would I need to make some when I still had a half of a jar left from the last batch I had made? Until I remembered how quickly we seem to blow through the jars. Maybe that’s what I’ll do.
Candied jalapeños are absolutely delicious.
The biggest problem is that I seem to cook on a whim, flying by the seat of my pants. I rarely write down recipes. That means I create recipes based on my remembrance of what the food tasted like, looked like and felt like on the tongue.
In this case, I couldn’t quite remember exactly how I made the last batch.
Thankfully I still have somewhat of a decent memory and pulled everything out to make this deliciously addictive little treat.
As with canning any food, precautions must be taken. Foods that are relatively low-acid (like jalapeños) need to be canned in a liquid that will help them acidify. In this case, we used apple cider vinegar for the tart brine, sweetened with organic cane sugar.
Spices like mustard seed, celery seed, chile, and smidge of turmeric give the brine a deep, sweet flavor that you will want to drizzle on everything. So good! I might have to admit that I love the spicy syrup a smidge more than the actual peppers!
How to Make Candied Jalapeños
After the first boil, you’ll add the peppers to the syrup to boil a second time and the peppers will shrivel. Don’t despair – because the peppers will re-plump in the syrup over the next few weeks. Allow at least two weeks before you crack open a jar – you’ll give the peppers time to absorb that sweet, spicy syrup and those flavors to meld.
Such an addictive treat!
When you make candied jalapeños you will discover that it takes a LOT of jalapeños to pack one pint-sized canning jar. Each pint size canning jar will fit anywhere from 1 1/2 -2 pounds of sliced jalapeños. My best advice is to make at least 5 jars because you will discover that making one or two just simply isn’t enough.
When you take the leap to make this yummy cowboy candy, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make sure you wear some protective gloves when slicing your jalapeños. As tough as you may think you are, peppers are much tougher. Even the slightest urge to scratch your face can result in some serious consequences for the rest of the day. I can attest to this from personal experience.
- Rinse the peppers, then slice them into 1/8-1/4″ slices. The seeds don’t hold the heat of the pepper, so keep them as it is easier than trying to pick them all out.
- If you live in a climate where the weather is warm in the summer (I’m thinking Arizona warm, folks), then make it worth your while. Fire up that water bath canner and do several jars. If you don’t feel like firing up that water bath canner, simply refrigerate the jars until you are ready to use them. Just keep in mind that the jars won’t preserve quite as long as if you were canning in a water bath.
Our favorite way to enjoy Candied Jalapeños is on some crackers with a spread of cream cheese. Or on a thick, juicy burger with some gouda cheese. Of course, there are many other ways to enjoy them – you can even eat them straight from the jar.
However you choose to enjoy them, make sure you keep that leftover syrup (and you will have some). That syrup is just as good, if not better, than the actual peppers.
And be liberal with the cream cheese. Because it helps balance out the heat.
After all, they are still jalapeños.
Whatever you do, you’ll want to heed my advice and make more than a few jars.
They are great to keep on hand for gifts – especially new neighbors. Thrown in a gift basket with a box of crackers they make a delectable housewarming gift that your recipient will treasure.
- 4 lbs organic jalapeño peppers washed and stems removed
- 2 1/2 C. apple cider vinegar
- 5 C. organic cane sugar
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 1/2 tsp mustard seed
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- optional: 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- Prepare your work surface by wearing gloves and laying out your cutting board and medium sauce pan. Fill your water bath canner with sufficient water to cover the jars by 2 inches.
- Rinse your jalapeños well and slice into 1/8-1/4 inch slices. Set aside in a large bowl.
- In your medium sauce pan, combine the apple cider vinegar with the sugar, celery seed, cayenne, mustard seed, and turmeric. Bring to a rolling boil then immediately reduce the heat and simmer for 6-7 minutes. Stir frequently to dissolve the sugar.
- Dump your sliced jalapeños slices into the sauce pan; crank the heat back to high and bring the pot to a rolling boil - reduce the heat to low/medium and allow to simmer for another 6-7 minutes. They will look limp and scraggly (but will re-plump over time).
- While those jalapeños are simmering, place your pint canning jars and lids in the water bath canner to sterilize them. Remove and lay on a dish towel as you prepare to fill them.
- Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the jalapeños equally among your pint canning jars. I find that wide mouth jars work best.
- Return the syrup (sans peppers) back to high heat - boil vigorously for an additional 5 minutes to allow the brine to thicken to a syrup.
- Once the peppers are equally packed and divided, distribute the hot brine between the jars, making sure to cover the contents completely. Allow 1/2 inch headspace.
- Wipe the rims, then apply the lids and rings (finger tight). Process your jars in a hot water bath for 12 minutes. Remove the jars carefully and allow to cool on a towel for 8-12 hours.
- Check the seal, and allow the jars to sit in a cool place for up to 1 year.
- Or, if you aren't open to using your water bath canner, apply the lids and rings and refrigerate. Allow at least two weeks before opening. Enjoy within 10 weeks.
Looking for more ways to use up your stash of jalapeños?
Try this fermented cabbage and jalapeño slaw.
Or pull out your fermenting lids & make this fermented jalapeño hot sauce.