Candied Jalapenos

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Also called Cowboy Candy, these addictive little sweet, spicy, crunchy, garlicky pickled jalapeno bites are just fantastic. So delicious in fact, that my friend begged me to make him a whole case last year!  You can make them year round with imported jalapenos, but August and September are the months for Osoyoos grown jalapenos, making these a truly locally grown treat. Layer them on burgers, sandwiches, tacos, nachos, rice or bake them into cornbread. And they won’t last long if paired with a soft creamy cheese on a delectable charcuterie board! This recipe yields between 4 and 6 half pints but I suggest you double the recipe, as you’ll have friends lining up for their own jar. 

Perfect for a charcuterie board!

Ingredients
  • 3 pounds fresh firm, jalapeno peppers, washed
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 6 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 3 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Method
  1. Wearing gloves, remove and discard the stems from all of the jalapeno peppers. I suggest you leave all the seeds and white membrane in, as the sweetness tames the heat and you want some lunch in these pickles. 
  2. Slice the peppers into uniform 1/8-1/4 inch rounds. You can do this by hand, but I usually push them through the small hole of my food processor, a few at a time so that the slices are uniform. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot, bring cider vinegar, white sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pepper slices and simmer for 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers, loading into clean, sterile canning jars to within 1/4 inch of the upper rim of the jar. Pack them down a bit, but not too tightly as you need adequate space for the syrup to cover the peppers. Turn heat up under the pot with the syrup and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.
  4. Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeno slices. Insert a chopstick to the bottom of the jar two or three times to release any trapped pockets of air. Adjust the level of the syrup if necessary. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp towel and fix on new, two-piece lids to finger-tip tightness.
  5. *If you have leftover syrup, and it is likely that you will, you may can it in half-pint or pint jars, too. It’s wonderful brushed on meat on the grill or added to potato salad or, or, or… In short, don’t toss it out!
  6. Place jars in a canner, cover with water by 2-inches. Bring the water to a full rolling boil. When it reaches a full rolling boil, set the timer for 10 minutes for half-pints or 15 minutes for pints. Turn oven off and allow jars to rest in the water for 5 minutes or so for the water to stop boiling. Use canning tongs to transfer the jars to a cooling rack. Leave them to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours.  Before storing, wipe the jars with a clean, damp washcloth if they are sticky. 
  7. Allow to mellow for at least two weeks, but preferably a month before eating. Or don’t!