You have probably seen green jalapeño peppers in your grocery store. They are quite common around here, but it’s not often, if at all, that I’ve seen red ones. Red simply indicates ripeness. Perhaps growers don’t wait until full ripeness to harvest because they are not as firm, but they sure are pretty.
With my abundance of ripe jalapeño, fresno, and padron peppers, I need to find a way to use them so they don’t go to waste. Yes, you can definitely freeze peppers and use them at a later date for cooking, but I still have a ziplock of hot peppers in my freezer. Last year I made some batches of pickled jalapeño, which is great on sandwiches or nachos. I will likely make more this year because I do enjoy that tangy heat, and we are almost finished my last jar. For something different, I came across a recipe for candied jalapeños, created by Rebecca from Foodie with Family. It looked interesting, though the amount of sugar in the recipe made me cringe a little; however, it is “candied”. I texted the chef that I work with, to run this by him. Actually, my initial question to him was, have you ever candied hot peppers? His response was priceless. “No, you will just end up with a shitty version of Thai chili.”
I dug a little deeper, asking him more questions, and finally sending him Rebecca’s recipe. He suggested a couple of modifications –
- cut the sugar down by one or two cups
- use garlic cloves instead of granulated
- toast black peppercorns and grind it up. Black pepper and sugar are a really nice mix.
He explained to me that the sugar is what kills the heat of the peppers, so I asked if I could add back the heat by adding some slivered habanero before canning. He thought that could be nice. Of course, I forgot to do this!
I took Rebecca’s recipe and cut it in half, despite all the comments on how good this turns out. I need to try it for myself first, to see how sweet it is. I started with 1 pound and 1.1 ounces of peppers. It was a mixture of jalapeño, fresno, and padron peppers. I added a Tbsp of hand-ground toasted black pepper. Using 1 cup of the cider vinegar, instead of 2 cups, I ended up with five 250 mL jars. Water bath is not a requirement if you think you can consume all of this quickly (stored in fridge), but I did it anyway, since I had the canning pot out to sterilize my jars anyway.
So now I wait. In two weeks, I’ll be able to decide whether this was worth my time.