Cowgirl Candy.

Doesn't look too fancy, right?

Doesn’t look too fancy, right?

There are recipes all over the internet for something called “Cowboy Candy”. This recipe is pretty much the same thing – it’s just that I’m a lady, I’m the one who makes these, and I love these sweet and spicy jalapenos.

So, y’know, that makes them Cowgirl Candy in my books.

Cowgirl Candy is delicious in nachos, on burgers, on their own, with cream cheese on a cracker, on their own, in soups or casseroles, on their own.. you can find plenty of uses for them if you like spicy sweet foods.  It is not actually candy. This will not fool your kids.

This recipe makes approximately 7 (250mL) jars of candy, depending how tightly you pack ’em, and will also leave you with approximately one jar of delicious jalapeno syrup to add to mashed potatoes, swirl into your quinoa bake, or to use as a marinade for meat.  As you can see (sorta’) in the photo, I don’t pack them very tightly – I like each jar to have a bit of extra syrup in there – but that means the peppers will float a bit.

Cowgirl Candy

Ingredients:

3 pounds jalapeno peppers, washed
2 cups cider vinegar
6 cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoons turmeric
½ teaspoons celery seed
3 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. I highly recommend that you wear gloves while working with any hot peppers – but I can’t force you to be sensible.
  2. Slice off the stems and tips from all of the peppers. Toss these into your compost bucket.
  3. Slice the peppers into uniform 1/4 inch rounds. I like to use my mandoline because I enjoy taking my life into my own hands around sharp blades. Also, it makes the slices very neat and tidy. But you can totally do this with a knife. Set the pepper slices aside.
  4. In a large pot, combine the cider vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic, and cayenne pepper. Over medium-high heat, bring this mixture to a boil while stirring.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the pepper slices and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. For real. Time it. You don’t want them to get mushy and they’re going to get softer later when you process them.
  7. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the peppers into clean jars. Fill to about 1/4 inch line and pack them as tightly as you want them to be.
  8. Turn heat up in the pot and bring the syrup to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes. Time it. For real!
  9. Spoon or pour or ladle the boiling syrup into the jars – covering the pepper slices. Fill each jar to the 1/4 inch line.
  10. If you want to keep a jar or two of syrup, fill those up too!
  11. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel – get all the goopy sticky seeds and whatnot off.
  12. Put on your lids and bands. Process for the usual 10-15 minutes (depending on your altitude)
  13. Set aside to cool overnight and look for the happy ping’ed lids that mean everything has sealed up properly. If they haven’t sealed, put the jars in the fridge and eat ’em soon (I recommend nachos.)

Spicy Smoky BBQ Sauce.

Stacked pints!

Stacked pints!

I wanted to continue to involve my 13 year old son in the process of canning things, so we decided to make BBQ sauce together. The process didn’t involve much chopping or dicing (though he was unimpressed with the onions stinging his eyes and the amount of time that it takes to press the garlic) and it came together fairly quickly. It was messy, however, and involved a lot of measuring.

We used this recipe and doubled it (for a total of 15 pints). We then pressure canned it (so we could stack, as noted in the photo above).

One jar leaked (ew) and two didn’t seal properly (so they’re in the fridge) but the taste is pretty darned good!

Potato Leek Soup.

This is another one of those soups you make ahead of time and, when you’re ready to eat them, just add some cream and heat!

Unfortunately, Potato Leek soup is not particularly pretty. it’s sort of a greeny-yellow colour, in fact, with specks of pepper floating in the jar. But oh, man, this is some GOOD stuff to eat.

Not pretty, but SO tasty!

Not pretty, but SO tasty!

Here’s the recipe:

Potato Leek Soup

Makes approximately 7 quarts

Ingredients:

2 pounds of yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 pounds of leeks, washed and sliced (here are some tips!)
2 bunches of celery, washed and chopped
4 quarts of water
2 tablespoons of kosher salt
2 teaspoons of black pepper (or to taste)

Directions:

  1. Combine the potatoes, leeks, celery, water and salt in a very large pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until everything is soft and happy.
  2. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.
  3. Return to simmering for another 10 minutes.
  4. Fill quart jars, leaving 1 inch head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings.
  5. Process for 45 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure.

To Serve:

Add 4 tablespoons of heavy cream per quart.   Heat the soup and serve!

Sloppy Joes!

I recruited my 13 year old son to help make some pressure canner sloppy joe sauce – and he pretty much did the whole thing himself with me giving him the tips and tricks as we went along. It’s his first time canning anything – I couldn’t be prouder.

Still bubbling!

Still bubbling!

Here’s the recipe:

Sloppy Joe Sauce

Makes 6 pints.

4 lbs ground beef
2 c. chopped onion
6 tsp. Worcestershire
3 cups ketchup (make sure there are no thickeners!)
1/2 c. water
4 T. brown sugar
4 T. apple cider vinegar
4 tsp. mustard

Directions :

  1. Prepare 6 pints, lids, and rings.
  2. In a large stainless steel pot, cook beef and onion over medium heat.
  3. While cooking the meat, mix all of the other ingredients in a large bowl, whisking to make sure it’s well blended.
  4. Drain the meat and onion mixture very well, removing as much fat as possible.
  5. Add all of the ingredients together in the large pot and bring to a boil, stirring often.
  6. Continue to cook at a lower heat for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  7. Fill jars to 1 inch head space. Clean rims and apply lids and rings.
  8. Process pints at 11 pounds for 75 minutes.

To serve, open the jar and scoop into a pan. Heat it up and put it on bread, toast, buns, or whatever you normally use for your Sloppy Joes! (2 pints makes approximately 9 sandwiches.)

Pulled Pork.

Meat – the final frontier.  Or something like that, at any rate.

I’ve seen a lot of different recipes for pressure canned meat and figured it was worth a try. My canner came with basic information about canning meats, so I figured I’d go with something simple.

Pressure Canned Pulled Pork.

Ingredients:

12 pounds of pork shoulder (boneless)
1/2 cup of water
4 quarts of no-salt broth

Directions:

  1. Place pork shoulder into crockpot and add water.
  2. Set crockpot to “HIGH” and leave it for 1 hour.
  3. Turn crockpot down to “LOW” for 8-9 hours. Meat should be mostly cooked (“rare”).
  4. Bring 4 quarts of broth to a boil.
  5. Shred the pork, taking care to discard as much fat as possible. Put shredded meat into hot, quart-sized jars, leaving 1 inch of head space.
  6. Add boiling broth to each jar, leaving 1 inch of head space.
  7. Wipe jar rims clean and put lids and rings onto jars.
  8. Process at 11 pounds for 90 minutes.
  9. Jars should seal. If jars don’t seal, put them in the fridge and eat within a few days.
Pulled pork in jars!

Pulled pork in jars!

You can eat the meat straight out of the jars (it’s fully cooked!), drain it and heat the meat up with sauce (for pulled pork sandwiches), or you can use the meat in soup or other recipes.

Pickled Ginger.

I love pickled ginger – I like to eat strips of it when we go out for sushi. There are small bottles of it for sale in the grocery store near me but, as I discovered, the ingredients include food colouring (to make it pink) and aspartame.

Yes, aspartame.

I searched for a recipe, adapted it slightly, and here’s the result:

3 pints of pickled ginger.

3 pints of pickled ginger.

Here’s the recipe:

Pickled Ginger.

Makes approximately 3 pints.

Ingredients:
2 pounds of fresh ginger
4 cups of white vinegar
1 1/2 cups of white sugar
2 tablespoons of kosher/pickling salt (for brine)
2-3 tablespoons of kosher/pickling salt

Directions:

  1. Peel the ginger. Using a mandolin, slice the ginger as thinly as possible (no thicker than 1/16 inch).
  2. Place ginger in a large bowl and add 2-3 tablespoons of salt. Use your hands to ‘stir’ the ginger to try to get as much coverage with the salt as possible. Let sit for one hour.
  3. After one hour, drain and rinse the salt off the ginger.
  4. Prepare waterbath canner, jars, and lids. Keep everything warm.
  5. In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of salt. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve, then increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil.
  6. When the liquid boils, add the ginger. Stir gently to soften it (about 30 seconds).
  7. Drain the ginger in a large colander over a bowl and reserve the vinegar mixture.
  8. Using tongs or a ladle, place the ginger strips into hot jars – fill to approximately 1/2″ head space. Press down gently, but don’t pack the ginger in the jars.
  9. Pour in the vinegar mixture into the jar and fill to 1/2″ head space. Remove air bubbles, and add liquid if necessary.
  10. Wipe rim and place lid and ring on the jar.
  11. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes at a full boil.
  12. Remove lid from canner, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars to cool.
  13. If any jars don’t seal, place them in the fridge and use first.

 

Carrot Ginger Soup.

Now that I know my pressure canner isn’t going to explode and kill my family, I decided to make something tasty. My entire family likes Carrot Ginger Soup, but my usual recipe includes almond butter (not something that should be included in a recipe to be pressure canned) so I did a bit of Googlin’ to find something that sounded good.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

It turned out beautifully – 6 lovely quarts full of soup (still bubbling when I took this photo). The flavour is bright and cheerful and might even be better than my deeper, nuttier version.

Here’s the recipe:

Carrot Ginger Soup

6 tablespoons butter
4 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 large Spanish onion, peeled and diced
4 ribs celery, sliced
6 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
6 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger
16 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup honey
Kosher salt (to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Directions:

  1. In your favourite large pot, melt the butter.  Saute the garlic, onion, celery, carrots, and ginger root in the melted butter for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the stock to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the carrots are tender.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat.  Add the spices (not the salt or pepper) and honey. Stir well.
  4. Puree with an immersion blender or in a regular blender (small quantities at a time) until the soup is smooth and no chunks remain.
  5. Taste soup – add salt and/or pepper if desired.
  6. Ladle the soup into prepared jars, leaving 1 inch of head space at the top. Make sure to wipe the rims of the jars so no residue remains.
  7. Put rings and lids on jars.
  8. Pressure can at 11 pounds for 85 minutes.
  9. Check seals and store. If jars do not seal, put soup in fridge and eat within a few days.
  10. To serve, heat and eat OR heat and add a small amount of cream before serving.