We made our last batch of Cowboy Candy 2 years ago and are down to two 1/2 pints and one pint being left. This impending shortage along with the first (late) freeze of the year meant I had to harvest my peppers. I ended up with 2 gallon buckets and then some of peppers. Mostly a long jalapeno but also a few Caribbean red habaneros. This is not enough to do a batch, so I went to the Waukesha farmers market and bought out 3 vendors. One of them was surprised I really wanted all of the ripe jalapenos (ripe peppers are a critical ingredient). A final vendor provided a dozen orange habaneros.
Sunday morning arrived and so did the kids, Jessie, Elyse and David came with children in tow. We were arrayed around the kitchen table seeding and chopping the pile of peppers. I estimate it was 40-45 lbs overall, with about 30-35lbs when cleaned (we lost count of the 3 lb batches).
Duties were split with the kids doing the chopping, I was chopping and doing the hot processing of the jars. This was our second try at doing the hot / boiling water bath processing on the deck and it worked great! We were also smart enough this time to don the gloves from the start. Last time we had painful side effects for a couple of days (just think of every body part you may touch with your fingers that are soaked in capsaicin – ouch).
The Blichman Hellfire burner gets the kettle up to a boil quickly (>200K BTU/hr). This burner is designed for home brewing and double duty for canning. The Victorio canner also works well as a brew kettle. So, when considering what you need for brewing or home canning, keep in mind the dual uses. This would work with a turkey fryer and burner too.
The major advantages of brewing outside are just as rewarding for canning . Keep the steam, mess and boilovers outside as much as possible. The 4x4s under the burner are not so much a safety consideration but rather to help keep me from bending over quite so far.
Teal did the cooking and filling of the jars. She had 2 kettles going: one with the syrup for cooking the peppers and a second with the cooked down concentrate for filling the jars.
Final tally was 36 half pints and 7 pints. We “should” be set for another 2 years. However, as the word spreads of this special taste treat, the stash of jars goes down ever more quickly. For the recipe see: https://bronkalla.com/blog/2017/10/01/candied-jalapenos-cowboy-candy/