Sunday, October 21, 2018

Cowboy Candy Pepper Relish

Jalapeño peppers on my plant.
I follow the Safe Canning Recipes Facebook page and have been inspired to try new things. On their blog there are tested recipes, including one for something called Cowboy Candy, sweet pickled jalapeño peppers.

Last year I made traditional Cowboy Candy. Then I read a Facebook post about someone who diced her peppers to make it into a relish. This week I gave it a try with the last of my jalapeño and Anaheim chili crop.

Cowboy Candy Pepper Relish


3 pounds jalapeño peppers
2 cups 5% cider vinegar
6 cups white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
3 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


You can use any variety of pepper from mild to hot. Since I was using up my crop, I didn't have 3 pounds. The end result was three half pints rather than nine.

The last of my pepper crop ready to be diced.

Using gloves to protect your hands, slice off and discard the stem ends. To make the relish version, dice the peppers.

Use gloves, it really helps.

Bring the vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Bring syrup to a boil.

Add the diced peppers and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer peppers to clean, hot jars. Fill to 1/4 inch from the rim.

Bring the syrup back to a full boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes. Ladle the boiling syrup into the jars over the diced peppers. Insert a knife to remove any air pockets. Add more syrup if needed to maintain a 1/4 inch headspace.

Spoon the diced peppers into hot jars and boil the syrup.

Wipe the rims with a damp paper towel and cover with two-piece lids to finger tightness. Process half-pints or pints for 10 minutes in a water bath canner. Begin timing after the water reaches a full boil. After the time has expired, turn off the heat and let the jars rest in the canner for 10 minutes.

Remove jars with canning tongs and let them rest undisturbed for 24 hours on a cooling rack. Then check seals, clean the jars with a damp cloth, remove the rings and label.

Three half pints of Cowboy Candy relish and one jar of sauce.

If you like hot condiments, this is the one for you. If you have extra syrup, you can process that as well. It’s good brushed on BBQ meats.

Have you ever made Cowboy Candy? What do you think about making it like a relish? They say it's easier to serve that way with crackers and cream cheese. I can't wait to try mine after a few weeks of letting the flavours mellow. -- Margy

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

October Sailing

Motoring out looking for some wind.
We've had an amazing run of warm sunny days this month. October is usually more erratic, but with a stationary high sitting over the Pacific Northwest we've had some amazing weather.

We decided to take our 19' O'Day Mariner daysailer to town on the weekend rather than our Hewescraft. We knew it would take longer, about four hours if we sailed tacking the whole way (which we didn't), rather than 25 minutes in the powerboat. But the thought of all that warm sunshine helped us make the decision.

The beautiful maples on the hillsides turning to fall yellows and orange were a bonus.

Colourful maples on the south side of Goat Island.

The next day we used our spinnaker to get a push. We made better time and had to motor much less. We got two thirds of the way before the wind shifted. We took the sail down and used the outboard kicker to get us through First Narrows and back to our float cabin home.

Wind in the spinnaker taking us home.

What has your October weather been like? There've been some terrible hurricanes, storms and snow. I hope you didn't had to endure any of those. -- Margy

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Who is for Margy

Starting my cityfolk life.
Wayne and I used to be what he calls "cityfolk" in his books. I was born and raised in Compton, California. You don't get much more cityfolk than that. When my parents were young, it was a small town. Mom's family were farmers and Dad's ran a corner grocery store. They each were the first in their family to go to college, and both became teachers. Now my small hometown has been swallowed by the urban sprawl emanating from Los Angeles. There's nothing rural about it any longer.

Daddy's girl hiking in Lassen National Park.
Because both of my parents were educators, summer vacations were for camping trips, many up the coast to British Columbia. I learned to love the outdoors and fished alongside my dad. Mom, Dad, and I (I'm a spoiled rotten only child) hiked, went to ranger talks, and learned lots about nature. The seeds for my future life were planted.

Principal of Erwin Elementary School.
Following in my parent's footsteps, I went to college and become an educator. I taught kindergarten like Mom and then became a school administrator like Dad. Those were great years.  I met Wayne, and we found we had lots of common interests. That's been one of the strong points in our marriage. He taught me to fly, and we purchased Piper Arrow 997.

997 in her original paint in Baja California.
We traveled far and wide in 997 to places like New York, Cancun, James Bay (the tip of Hudson Bay), and the Arctic Ocean. Many years included camping under the wing of our airplane in British Columbia.  On a trip in 2000, we discovered Powell River, BC. We returned in 2001 and discovered Powell Lake with its unique floating cabins.

That was the moment we started the transition from cityfolk to a new way of life off the grid.

We had to learn new skills for our new off-the-grid lifestyle, and quick. That's where our good friend John comes in.

Our float cabin at Hole in the Wall on Powell Lake.

We bought his Cabin #3 at Hole in the Wall, and we lovingly say "he came with it." John has remained our friend and patient mentor.

After taking early retirement from our careers in education in 2005, Wayne and I wanted to spend more time in all seasons at our float cabin home.

The solution was to become Canadian permanent residents in 2008. That decision evolved into becoming Canadian citizens in August 2018. Dual citizenship has lots of benefits for us in both countries.

Powell River, BC, from the Texada Island ferry.
You never know what life has in store.

Wayne and I never want to go back to our cityfolk roots. The slower pace in a small town like Powell River fits us.

We spent years looking for a place to retire. Like many things in life, the solution found us. Are you looking for a small, safe, forward thinking place to live? Take a look at Powell River.

Here are some links for more information:
If you have any questions, please leave a comment or use the link in my profile to my email address. -- Margy