Today I’m sharing one of my absolute favorite canning recipes, and the first preserving technique I’ve yet to post to the blog. If you like sweet and spicy heat, Candied Jalapeno Slices are deliciously addictive and this is the post for you!
I started canning about a year and a half ago. Before that, I’d always assumed preserving would cost a lot to get into, both in equipment and produce. After a quick look online though, I found out I could get a starter kit (like this one or this one) on Amazon for around $10, and that my stockpot (which was a wedding gift rarely used) fitted with a heat proof trivet would be just fine to process and sterilize the jars – no dedicated water bath canner or rack required.
After my first canning experiment, I was hooked. The science of preserving food safely fascinates me. Unlike baked goods, which have to be made and consumed in relatively short order, I was also overjoyed by the idea of being able to spend whatever free time I had making shelf-stable food that would last a year or more, ready to add a special homemade touch to any potluck or present. Now my cabinets are fully stocked with jams, marmalades, pickles, and other preserves and I have a near inventory of empty jars awaiting use in my closet. This skill has also been extremely helpful in light of my food sensitives, allowing me to make pickles and salsas without any of the onion and garlic that is found in most conventional processed varieties.
Pickles, jams, and other preserves make excellent gifts, and having a stock of such items in your pantry mean that you can always play host and entertain at a moment’s notice. For those familiar with pickling and canning, this recipe essentially sweet-pickles jalapeno slices in a dense sugar syrup. I use these on everything I can think of, but I especially love them on tacos, sandwiches, and cheese plates. The syrup is also a great addition to salsas or even interesting in a cocktail.
This was one of the first things I taught myself to can, after finding the original recipe on Rebecca Lindamood’s Foodie with Family blog. Since then I vowed to make huge batches of it every summer, when jalapenos are in season at the local farmer’s market. I hoard them throughout the winter to get me through the cold months. Jalapenos are available throughout the year at most supermarkets though (usually at relatively reasonable prices), so seasonality doesn’t have to stop you. Once you make these, you’ll find you’ll want to double (or triple!) the recipe in the future so that you can keep as many as you’d like while still having enough to give as precious gifts to your closest friends.
I will provide the basic instructions for water bath canning below, but if this is your first time giving it a try I wholeheartedly recommend checking out Marisa McClellan’s website, Food In Jars. She has a number of introductory articles and tutorials to get you started in her Canning 101 section. I learned the basics from her site and cookbooks, and can’t emphasize the usefulness of her materials to ensure whatever you make is safely preserved and stored.
If you don’t want to go through the process of water bath canning, you can still make this recipe up to that point. Keep in mind that your jars will not be shelf-stable, and you’ll need to store them in the fridge and use them within 1-2 months.
Enjoy these little guys on everything, including the recipe in my next post – Hawaiian Beef Sliders with Bacon, Pineapple & Candied Jalapeno Slices!
Candied Jalapeno Slices
Adapted from Foodie With Family’s Candied Jalapeno Recipe
Yield: 5 half-pints plus 1-2 half-pints of syrup (can vary)
- 3 pounds jalapenos, firm
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 6 cups white sugar
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp celery seed
- 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
Prepare a boiling water bath canner (or large stock pot) and at least 6 half-pint jars and lids. I usually prepare a few quarter pints as well, to hold any extra syrup that might be left over. Sterilize the jars and lids as per recommended standard USDA procedures.
Remove the stems and slice the jalapeno peppers into ¼ inch-width rounds. You can do this by hand with a sharp knife, or more quickly with a mandolin (if you have one). Due to the amount of hot peppers you are working with, I strongly recommend wearing gloves. Despite best efforts, I usually end up with jalapeno oil under my nails or in my eye, but hopefully you have far more luck than I do!
In a large non-reactive pot, combine apple cider vinegar, sugar, and spices and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add all of the pepper slices to the syrup and allow them to simmer for another 5 minutes –be careful not to over-cook, as you want the peppers to keep some of their crispness and shape. While these simmer, arrange your (still hot) sterilized jars on a clean kitchen towel on the counter nearby. Using a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the pepper slices into the canning jars, leaving ¼ inch head-space from the top of the jar. Once all the jalapeno slices are removed, raise the heat and bring the syrup back up to a rolling boil, and allow to reduce for about 8 minutes.
Very carefully, ladle the boiling syrup into the jars of jalapeno slices, still leaving the ¼ inch head-space. Remove any air bubbles with a “bubble remover” or cooking chopstick by inserting it into each jar a few times to release any trapped air. Add more syrup if necessary. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel so that stray syrup doesn't interfere with the sealing process, and screw the clean lids and rings on to finger-tip tightness. If you have left over syrup, ladle it into the extra sterilized jars and prepare them for processing along with the jalapeno slices.
Place the jars in the water bath canner. Bring to a full boil, then allow the jars to process for 10 minutes. Remove with a jar lifter and transfer to a folded kitchen towel on your kitchen counter. Leave them untouched for 24 hours, then check the seals, label, and store in a cool, dark place without the rings. Like most pickles, these are best eaten if you allow them to sit and cure for at least two weeks before opening. Properly sealed, jars should remain shelf stable for up to a year.
- If you have never canned before, I recommend reading this wonderful article on how to process jars by Marisa McClellan before starting this recipe. I use the same kind of set-up while canning thanks to this instruction.
- If you do not wish to use the water bath canner, you can stop after step 4. Allow your jars to cool on the counter, and then transfer them to the fridge. They should keep for 1-2 months like this.
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