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Candied Capsicums - Page 2 PDF Print E-mail
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Candied Capsicums
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Let's Get Started

Day #1

1. Preparing the Peppers

Like with all preserving techniques, only the freshest, spotless chiles should be used. These are rinsed and patted dry.

Chilies, ready to get candied



Peppers ready for Candying



To ease syrup penetration, it is recommended to cut the pods in half. You should also deseed them. Just cutting the pods in half works well for thin-walled varieties like Habanero, Cayenne or Thai. Fleshier chiles like Jalapeño are better cut into strips. See also our Tips Section below.

2. Cooking the Syrup

In a large saucepan, combine 1 quart (1 liter) water and 2 lbs (1 kilogram) sugar. Using the wooden spoon, mix well, then bring to a rolling boil. Keep boiling and stirring until the mixture takes on a syrupy consistency, but still stays clear and colorless. This takes about 30 Minutes. If you are using a ceramics stovetop, watch out not to spill any sugar or sirup on it, as this stuff burns in fast.

Put the cut chiles into the Mason jar or other glass container, pour with boiling-hot syrup (caution - don't burn yourself). Leave enough room to put a small bowl as a weight on top to keep the peppers down, all covered with in the liquid. Close the container,  keep remaining syrup in marmalade jar(s).

Pouring the syrup



Pouring the Syrup



Let chiles sit in the closed container for 24 hours.

Chiles in syrup



Don't they look beautiful?
Chiles Candying in the Syrup



Notes:

  • To minimize spill cleanup, put a newspaper underneath your jars. It is also recommended to rinse and clean all cooking utensils right after work.

  • Various candying instructions recommend to start the pouring with syrup that has cooled down first. We found pouring the piping hot liquid helps avoiding spoilage of peppers by fermentation while sitting in the liquid for days. Of course we could have boiled the pods quickly first, but that might have made them soft and mushy, losing their shape. Feel free to experiment here.

 

Day #2

Drain chiles in a strainer, letting the syrup flow into your saucepan. Put chiles back into the glass container.

Straining the chiles



Straining the Chiles



Bring the syrup to a boil and stir in an additional 50 g (1.75 oz.) of sugar. Add also the syrup you saved in marmalade jars, keep boiling and stirring with your wooden spoon for about 10 minutes at high heat. Pour the hot syrup over the chiles again, put on the weight to keep them all covered in liquid. Also, save the remaining syrup again, let chiles sit in their closed container for another 24 hours.

Day #3 to Day #5

Repeat the second day's procedure, including the addition of 50 g (1.75 oz.) more sugar every day. Both the sugar addition and the reduction by cooking will cause the syrup to become thicker and thicker. And it's getting hotter, too, as some of the capsaicin dissolves from the peppers into the liquid. After Day #5, let sit for 48 hours and have a rest on Day #6.


Day #7

Pour syrup and chilis into saucepan and bring to a brief boil, for just one minute, then take off the heat.

Drain chiles through strainer, catch the syrup in jars - you'll see we have great uses for the sticky spicy liquid as well.

Dripping Rack



Draining the Syrup off the Chiles



Arrange the chiles on a cookie cooling grid or a grid from your baking oven. Be sure to put parchment paper or a newspaper underneath, as we put the peppers there to let them drip off excess syrup. Count for two hours.

As the pieces will still be sticky, we finish them off in the baking oven or dehydrator. Since I kept my good old trusty El Cheapo "Mr. Coffee" dehydrator from our time living in Florida, I used that one, and the chiles were nice and dry after just four hours. When using a baking oven, dying should take about 15 minutes at  210F (100°C) to 300F (150°C) with a door lightly open. If available, turn on the ovens's air, too. Check after 10 minutes, drying should be finished no later than another 10-15 minutes. (To keep the peppers as they are, we prefer the airflow and lower temperature offered by a dehydrator, which is a  great device for drying peppers in general).

Fishing off in the dehydrator



Finishing in the Dehydrator



Either way you should let the chiles cool to room temperature, then store them in an airtight container. Flat containers like Tupperware or Gladware allow to place the pieces side by side, rather than stacking them, and potentially have them stick together.

Airtight Storage



Airtight Storage



That's because it can be possible that the chiles are still a little sticky. If that's the case, you can coat them with powdered sugar (also called confectioners' sugar). The French confectioners glaze their fancy fruits with a thin sugar coating after candying to keep them soft and moist by preventing drying out more than desired. But since we aimed at producing crunchy chiles to begin with, we don't need to do that. Our candied chiles didn't stick after weeks of storage, and they wonderfully kept shape, color, heat and aroma. I think the pictures speak for themselves!

To retain the candied fruits' colors, commercial production sometimes involves the addition of sulphur dioxide, a legal additive. Store your candied chiles at a dar place, they should keep their colors nicely without any additives. Especially the colors of mature pods survice syrup treatment and cooking really well. In fact, they seem to come out even more vibrant on the translucent pods. Just the green color of immature pods tends to darken to a brownish tint during candying.

Note: We found it to be very important to get rid of all humidity and to store the candied peppers tightly closed at a cool place, preferably in the refrigerator. Especially fleshy peppers can get moldy after a coiple of months if not dried well and/or sored too warm. Since the thin-fleshed varieties are getting dry more easily, we found small hot red peppers as well as c.chinense varieties like Habanero, Tropical Red, etc. best suited for candying.

Now let's see what we can do with our beautiful candied chiles - and with the hot syrup!

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