Cowboy Candy Recipe with White Vinegar

Cutting board with fresh and some sliced jalapenos from my garden. I picked the last of my jalapenos from the garden a few days ago, right before the first frost and it was time to make one last batch of my favorite new condiment – Cowboy Candy. We only grew two little plants in containers, but boy have they been prolific. We’ve used them fresh in blender salsa, on nachos and anything else I could think of throughout the summer and early fall. And whenever I had a nice bowl full ready to be used up, I’d make a few small jars of Cowboy Candy. With white vinegar, garlic, sugar, and celery seeds on hand, this recipe is quick and easy to make. You can water-bath can it for longer storage in about 15 minutes on the stove.

I heard about this fun little condiment from the Living Traditions YouTube Channel. Sarah’s recipe is great, but I made a few modifications. I almost always have plenty of fresh garlic on hand and prefer to use fresh over powdered. I also found after a bit of trial and error that we prefer this cowboy candy made with distilled white vinegar over the apple cider one in the original recipe. Thankfully, that’s an easy and perfectly safe canning substitution. Last but not least, my garden isn’t as abundant as hers and I was processing smaller batches. I cut the sugary brine recipe in half, use what I need to fill the jars and use the rest as a pork or chicken marinade. More on that later.

Pretty little jars of cowboy candy or pickled jalapenos

With each batch I started with at least a good pound of jalapenos, usually closer to two pounds. Packed tightly into tiny 4 ounce jars, they are perfect to pull out when you want to add some sweet spice to your homemade pizza, burgers, grilled chicken, or when you need a quick appetizer.

My Favorite Jars For My Cowboy Candy

Here are the jars I’m using. They are also the perfect size for homemade kefir cheese (it tastes like tart cream cheese). I’ll share that recipe with you in a couple of days.

Picture of a pack of 12 four-ounce ball glass jars with lids for canning. Ready for the recipe? You won’t believe how quick and easy this is to make. The water bath canning is optional. If you’re only making a small batch, allow the finished jars to cool to room temperature and then move them to the fridge.

Cowboy Candy Making Tips

A few notes before you start cooking. I like to wear at least one disposable glove on the hand that handles the peppers. They can be quite hot and cause burning and pain that lasts for hours after you get through processing the peppers. I also put on my glasses when I cut these. They are regular glasses, though safety glasses would work as well. Last but not least, open a window or two when you start to boil the peppers in the vinegar mixture if you can. It’s not a big safety concern, but the spicy, vinegary scent is quite potent while you cook your cowboy candy. Got it? Great. Let’s get cooking.

Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapenos)
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Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapenos)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 3 cups of white sugar
  • small dash of celery seeds
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • small dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • small dash of tumeric (optional - for color)
  • 1 to 2 pounds of jalapenos

Combine everything but the jalapenos in a study saucepan and heat over medium high heat. Stir occasionally to help dissolve the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for five minutes.

While the mixture cooks, slice your jalapenos, discarding the stems. You want somewhat uniform slices of about 1/4 inch or less.

Add the slices to the vinegar mixture and bring it back to a boil. Boil for four minutes. This is when you'll really smell the heat from the peppers. Open a window if possible.

Remove the pepper slices with a slotted spoon and pack them into two to four small four-ounce jars.

Boil the remaining vinegar and sugar mixture for six minutes at a hard rolling boil.

Carefully pour the vinegar mixture into your jars, leaving a quarter-inch headspace.

Clean the top of your jars and place the lids and rings on each. Water-bath can for 15 minutes (for elevations up to 1,000 feet. Adjust as needed for higher altitudes. See link further down for those adjustments).

https://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/cowboy-candy-recipe-with-white-vinegar.htm

What To Eat Cowboy Candy With

If you’re new to cowboy candy, or candied jalapenos, you may be wondering how you’ll use this fun sweet and spicy condiment. So far we’ve enjoyed it on burgers and grilled chicken. I added it to pizza and whenever there’s an open jar in the fridge, my husband adds it to whatever sandwich he makes. It’s also good with pinto beans, though I prefer picked banana peppers there. My favorite way so far to use my cowboy candy has been as a simple appetizer. Get a block of cream cheese (or make your own Yogurt cheese) and top it with an entire jar of the candied jalapenos. Serve with crackers.

I hope you give this recipe a try. Since the jars are so small, they are easy to water-bath can in a regular stock pot or any large pot you have with a lid. Put a small folded towel in the bottom of your pot and fill it with enough water that the jars will be submerged and have at least an inch of water over the lids. Don’t add the jars yet. Bring the water close to a boil, then gently lower your jars into the pot. Top with more water as needed to make sure there is at least an inch of water above all lids. Bring the water to a rolling boil and keep it boiling for 15 minutes (for elevations over 1,000 feet you need to extend this time based on your elevation).

Would you like to pin this cowboy candy recipe with white vinegar for later? Here’s a great graphic for doing just that. Hover over the image and look for the Pinterest Save button.

You've got to try this cowboy candy recipe (images of jalapenos on the top and finished jars of cowboy candy at the bottom).

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