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.)
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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!

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.

 

Crabapple Jelly.

Such a pretty colour!

Such a pretty colour!

We have a beautiful crabapple tree in front of our house and, last year, I made my first-ever batch of jelly. It took forever to gel, the colour was pale, but it tasted pretty good!

This year, I followed the instructions a bit more carefully, had my husband’s help in prepping all of the crabapples (So! Much! Work!) and it turned out beautifully. Look at that colour! It’s a tart, sweet, lovely jelly.

Here’s the recipe:

Crabapple Jelly

Makes about 8 x 250 mL jars

Ingredients:

5.5 pounds crabapples
5 cups of water
1 pouch (85 mL) of liquid pectin
7 1/2 cups of sugar

Directions: 

  1. Wash the crabapples, then remove stem and blossom ends. (Don’t peel them – they’ve got loads of pectin in them!) Chop coarsely.
  2. Combine crabapples with water in a stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Using a potato masher, crush the apples, then simmer 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour the liquid and the apple mixture into a dampened jelly bag and let the juice drip for at least 2 hours or overnight. (Remember, if you squeeze the bag, the jelly will be cloudy – but it will get things done faster!)
  5. Prepare 8 x 250 ml (half-pint) jars, lids and rings.
  6. Measure 5 cups of the prepared apple juice into a large, deep stainless steel saucepan. Add all of the sugar.
  7. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add liquid pectin.
  8. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
  9. Pour or ladle the jelly into a hot jar, leaving 1/4 inch of head space.
  10. Wipe jar rim, place lids and rings.
  11. Process for 10 minutes.
  12. When processing time is finished, remove canner lid and wait 5 minutes.
  13. Remove jars and allow them to cool.
  14. All jars should seal. If they don’t seal, place them in the fridge and eat them soon.

 

Thai Hot & Sweet Dipping Sauce.

Lots of garlic and hot pepper flakes!

Lots of garlic and hot pepper flakes!

I love to make homemade spring rolls (whether plain or deep fried) and this is the perfect sauce to dip them in! Just the right amount of heat, just the right amount of sweet.

Here’s the recipe:

Thai Hot & Sweet Dipping Sauce

Makes 8 half pints

1/2 cup finely chopped garlic
1 T. salt
6 cups cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
1/2 cup hot pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Combine the chopped garlic and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a stainless steel saucepan, bring the vinegar to a boil.  After the vinegar comes to a boil add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
  3. Turn down the heat and simmer for five minutes. Remove the vinegar from heat and stir in both the garlic mixture and the pepper flakes, stir to combine.
  4. Stirring frequently, ladle sauce into jars, leaving about 1/2 inch head space.  Remove air bubbles and add more liquid if needed.
  5. Wipe rims with clean cloth. Place lids and rings.
  6. Process for 15 minutes.

 

Caramel Apple Jam.

Look at that gooey goodness!

Look at that gooey goodness!

This is the season for apples. Hoooboy, is it ever. And while you can always make apple sauce or apple butter (recipes later!) there’s something nice about making a gooey, caramel jam out of them.

Here’s the recipe:

Caramel Apple Jam
Makes 5 half pints. 
6 cups diced peeled apples (tart and sweet in combo)
1/2 cup water
1 package powdered fruit pectin
2 cups cane sugar
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  1. In a heavy pot, combine the apples and water. Cook and stir over low heat until apples are soft.
  2. Stir in pectin and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  3. In a bowl while you are waiting for the rolling boil, measure the sugars and spices.
  4. Add the measured ingredients and return to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Mash or use an immersion blender if there are bits of apple that have not cooked down into the jam.
  6. Remove from the heat and ladle hot jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace.
  7. Process for 10 minutes in a water bath at a full boil.

 

Habanero Pepper Jelly.

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Hot and sweet!

You can put this jelly on toast, on panini, on crackers-with-cheese, or you can eat it on a spoon. Sweet but with a major kick from the hot, hot habanero peppers!

Here’s the recipe:

Hot Pepper Jelly 

Makes 7 half pints.

2 1/2 cups finely chopped red  habanero peppers
1 small sweet bell pepper finely chopped
1 1/2 cup white vinegar (5% acidity)
6 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon butter (this reduces foam)
6 oz liquid pectin

Directions:

  1. Coarsely chop peppers with seeds and place in blender with vinegar, sugar and pulse to mix well.
  2. Transfer to pot, add butter and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Cook for 5 minutes at a steady boil.
  3. Quickly add pectin and stir. Allow mixture to return to a boil and cook for 3 more minutes stirring a few times.
  4. Remove from heat and skim off any foam.
  5. Put into half pint jars and seal in water bath for 10 minutes.