Pickling: Cowboy Candy and Refrigerator Dills

By Terri Rozema

Here we are in the heat of July; vegetables are beginning to multiply and our green thumbs are beginning to enjoy the fruits of our labor. But what is one to do when there are too many veggies and fruits? Preserve them!

No garden? Don’t fret. Visit a local farmers market, farm stand, or grocer, ‘cause it’s pickle time.

Traditionally, when we think of pickles, dill cucumbers come to mind. But all kinds of fruits and vegetables can be pickled, from peaches, cantaloupes, and watermelon rinds to onions, beans, asparagus, and more.

I’ve just picked the first of my peppers, and I love me some Cowboy Candy (a sweetened hot pepper mix that is perfect on pizza and hot dogs, for example), so let’s make some of that. We’ll also go water bath-free with our Refrigerator Dills.


You will need: 

A water-bath canner, canning jar lifter, wide-mouth funnel, lid lifter, and canning bubble popper.

Preparing the Canner (for water bath preservation):

  1. Fill the canner and rack two thirds full with water, and add 2 Tbsp of white vinegar (this helps to inhibit hard water residue).
  2. Place the water-filled canner and rack (covered) on the stove at med-high heat; bring to a boil; keep at a simmer.


Sterilizing the Jars and Lids

  1. Sterilize jars, minus lids, by placing them on a protected sheet pan; I use a Silpat. 
  2. Place in an oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
  3. Sterilize the lids by heating them in barely simmering water for 5 minutes.

Cowboy Candy

Yields approximately 7 pints


Perfectly pairs with Dr. Cowan's Garden Leek Powder and Dr. Cowan’s Garden Threefold Blend Powder (Savory). 


Caution: When handling hot peppers, use gloves. Do not touch your eyes.


You will need:

  • 7 sterilized Ball pint canning jars
  • 2 pounds organic mild banana or pepperoncini peppers
  • 1 1/2 pounds organic medium-hot green peppers (jalapeño or Hungarian wax)
  • 1/2 pound organic hot red pepper (Serrano, Tabasco, or hotter, if you dare)
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped or smashed
  • 4 1/4 cups white vinegar with at least 5% acidity
  • 4 1/4 cups organic apple cider vinegar with at least 5% acidity
  • 16 cups organic granulated sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp organic turmeric
  • 3 Tbsp organic ground ginger



  1. Prepare canner, jars, and lids as directed above.
  2. In a large stainless steel pot, combine liquids, sugar and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and boil uncovered for about 20 minutes.
  3. While the liquid is boiling, cut peppers into rings and combine with garlic.
  4. Pack peppers and garlic into jars, leaving 1-inch of headspace.
  5. Pour/Ladle hot liquid over peppers and garlic, covering completely. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace.
  6. Remove bubbles.
  7. Wipe the jar rim. Center lid on the jar and screw the band down until resistance is met. Then increase to fingertip tight.
  8. Place jars in a canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes, remove the canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars. Cool and store.


If you have liquid leftover, freeze it. It makes great jerky brine.

Cowboy Candy Complements:

  • Pulled pork
  • Tacos
  • Cream cheese and crackers
  • Burgers
  • Cornbread
  • Pizza
  • Hot dogs
  • Breakfast burrito or omelette

  • Refrigerator Dills

    Yields approximately 7 pints


    You will need:

    • 7 sterilized wide-mouth Ball pint canning jars
    • 11 1/2 cups trimmed pickling cucumbers (sliced or cut into spears)
    • 5 garlic cloves, quartered
    • 3 cups white vinegar with at least 5% acidity
    • 3 cups water
    • 8 1/2 Tbsp pickling salt
    • 3 Tbsp pickling spice
    • 3 1/2 Tbsp dill seeds
    • 1/3 cup plus 2 tsp granulated sugar
    • 7 tsp mustard seeds
    • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns



    1. Sterilize jars, as directed above. Wash lids in soapy water; no need to sterilize.
    2. Prepare cucumbers and place them in a large heat-resistant bowl.
    3. In a stainless steel saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cucumbers. Bring to a boil, gently stirring, then reduce heat and boil for roughly 10 minutes, covered.
    4. Carefully pour the liquid over the cucumbers, cover, and let stand at room temperature for an hour.
    5. Gently add the cucumbers to your jars, trying not to bruise them, leaving at least 1-inch of headspace at the top of the jar.
    6. Pour/ladle the liquid over the cucumbers, completely covering them and leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
    7. Secure lids and refrigerate.



    • Pickles can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 months, but taste the best after marinating for roughly 2 weeks, so be patient and wait. It’s worth it.


    Try This!

    Pickle Wraps: Smooth cream cheese over a slice of deli meat, top with pickle(s), sprinkle with Dr. Cowan's Garden Leek Powder, roll up, and enjoy.




    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.