As you may recall, we are regular producers of that hot ‘n sweet condiment known as CowBoy Candy, which is basically jalapeno peppers sliced and cooked in a vinegar-sugar syrup. We refer to ours as “CowGirl Candy”, because the Boy name is trademarked…but it’s one and the same. Anyway, today was the day for production. We had a nice mixture of red and green jalapenos, some hot cherries and some sweet yellow bananas, from both Redman’s and the neighbor’s gardens.
The recipe I use comes from the internet – of course – and there are several places to find one, they are pretty much all the same. Here’s a link to the one that is most similar to the one we use, as far as ingredients and methods go. That being said, of course we tweaked it.
For one thing, after years of making the rings, we realized that when we eat the stuff we often chop it up into more of a relish, partly because it spreads out better on your sandwich or sandwich filling but also because it’s a lot easier to grind up a couple of pounds of peppers in the meat grinder than it is to slice them in the food processor, where the fumes alone may cause health issues. We do not put in the granulated garlic called for in many recipes – we add fresh garlic to the peppers when we grind them. Also, we don’t add the cayenne pepper because, well, why would you?? Mustard seed might be nice however…
The chopped peppers and garlic cook for a few minutes in the vinegar syrup; then we strained them into another pot, taking care to shake out as much of the pepper syrup as we can. The strained syrup is put back on the burner to cook down to a more syrupy level, while the peppers are put into the hot jars. (One note to self – next year leave more room in the jar for more syrup. One batch of peppers yielded only two pints because I filled the jars up in the traditional manner. I should have left more like an inch before I added the reduced syrup. We’ll see how it turns out, but I have a feeling that this will be the better way to go.) After the syrup has cooked to an agreeable thickness, we ladled it over the peppers, put on the lids and processed them in a hot water bath. (I stuck a knife up and down within the jars before I put the lids on, to assure that the syrup and peppers were well incorporated with one another, another reason I realized maybe more syrup less pepper in each jar next time.)
It’s best to wait a week or so before you try it, so the flavors can meld and mature, but it will also be tempting on a burger as soon as it is out of the pot.
Yes, this is yummy stuff, good on all sorts of things, from sandwiches to cream cheese to guacamole. Depending on the pepper mixture you use, it can be as hot or mild as you want. All it really takes, to add some spice is a couple of hot peppers, so I’m thinking, if you use three or four really hot habaneros with a bunch of sweet yellow bananas, it might become a very pretty yellow relish with just enough heat! And now’s the time to make it, as peppers are at their colorful peak at the Farmer’s Market.