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Cowboy Candy

Cowboy Candy

I was a bit dubious when I read about everyone in my canning groups raving about chillies canned in syrup. Boy, was I wrong! They are spicy but sweet, and very addictive.

These are awesome. Use whatever chillies you want – tradition calls for jalapenos, but seriously they’re all good. Adjust the recipe according to how many chillies you have, but you need to have these in the pantry at all times. Use in cooking, in toasties, in tacos, on crackers with cheese or just snack on them. If making red and green, use separate pots as the colour will leech into the syrup.

Make sure you can the leftover syrup too – it’s amazing brushed on steak or chicken, in potato salad, pastas, or used wherever you’d consider using sweet chilli sauce. OR use it to make an amazing BBQ sauce!

Due to the high acidity level, these are water bath canned. There is no need to pressure can.

Set aside an afternoon if making a decent batch of these.


Fresh chillies (jalapeno or long red)1kg700g (about 30 jalapenos)500g
White sugar4½ cups3 cups2½ cups
Apple cider vinegar1⅓ cups1 cup¾ cup
Garlic powder1½ ts1 ts¾ ts
Turmeric¾ ts½ ts¼ ts
Celery seed¾ ts¼ ts¼ ts

-Make sure you wear gloves for slicing the chillies, trust me.
-Canner or large stockpot with metal shelves to separate the layers. Pressure canner not required (but I use mine).
-Jars with screw-top or Mason-style lids.


1 – Cut chillies into ¼” thick slices.

2 – Add remaining ingredients to a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes.

3 – Raise heat to medium high and return to the boil.

4 – Add chillies to boiling syrup and bring back to the boil.

5 – Reduce heat and simmer for 4 minutes.

6 – Using a slotted spoon, fill jars with chillies to within ¼” of the top. Compact them a little as you go.

7 – Bring the remaining syrup to a rolling boil on high heat. Boil for 6 minutes to allow the syrup to reduce a little.

8 – Pour syrup into the jars up to the ¼” headspace mark. Remove air bubbles with a knife or chopstick along the inside edge, then top up again. If there is leftover syrup, place that into jars for canning as well.

9 – Wipe the rims of the jars with a little vinegar on a paper towel, then place the lid (either screw-top or Mason style) on, and tighten only until there is a little resistance.

10 – Place in the canner, using a separator if using more than one layer.

11 – Add enough water to cover all jars by at least 3cm. Bring to the boil and keep at a rolling boil for 10 minutes (200-300ml jars, process 15 minutes for 500ml jars)

12 – Leave for 30 minutes or so, them remove jars from the canner using canning tongs and leave undisturbed on a tea towel overnight or at least 12 hours. Label and store.