Tag Archives: canning

Salsa Slave

9 Nov

Last week was a busy one, trying to get the frost-induced harvest processed before my house was overtaken with fruit flies.  Fruit flies seem to love ripening tomatoes and tomatillos as much as I do!  Anyway, with the basil and parsley turned into nice neat little bags of pesto, it was time to make tomatillo salsa.

We have had an abundance of tomatillos in recent years, and because we love-love-love the pasta sauce (future blog entry!) we make from tomatoes, green tomatillo salsa is the only salsa we make now.  Tomatillos have a citrusy sweetness to them that blends nicely with heat…at least I think so.  Dear Husband likes his salsa without the sweet–more on that in a minute!  Tomatillos form inside little lantern-like husks that must be removed before using them.  Then they are sticky, so they must be washed.  We like this salsa to be sort of smooth, so all ingredients are run through the food processor.  The usual “recipe” includes: tomatillos, green tomatoes, green peppers, chili peppers, cilantro, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and vinegar.  Everything gets combined into a large stockpot (or two) and then cooked down to concentrate flavors and create a nice thick consistancy.

Ingredient amounts get adjusted according to how you want the salsa to taste….so, to accommodate both my and DH’s tastes, this year we split the salsa into two batches.  Mine we left a bit sweet; his got extra vinegar, red pepper flakes and extra jalapenos, along with (according to our friend Kellie, the source of these–“evil”) Thai peppers called Lemon Drop.  Our friend Nello named our usual tomatillo salsa a couple of years ago: “Verily Verde.”  The hotter variety needed a name as well…what to call it?  I posted the question on Facebook and got the answer from Linda D: Vaya con Verde!  Perfect!

So….it took 2 DAYS to get the flavors right and the consistency we were looking for.  Thankfully since it’s cold,  the salsa could be “refrigerated” in the garage overnight!  THEN, it still needed to be canned–involving cleaning and sterilizing jars, rings and lids, filling jars and then water-bath processing them.  I ended up with 25 pints and 3 quarts–4 canner loads.  I used two canners to speed up the process. 

I  felt like the salsa ran my whole life for those two days, finishing the canning late into the night of the second day.  Being retired makes being a salsa slave not as bad as it would be if I had to get up and go to work the day after….like it always has been up til now.  So, I should stop whining and just have a second cuppa….or maybe some chips and salsa!

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Yes I Can!

8 Aug

It’s official!  The start of canning season.  The “Sumter” cukes have been very, very happy and have showered us with short, squatty, mildly flavored cucumbers.  Yesterday morning I went out to the garden to get green onions for breakfast and found a “moby-cuke” that had been hiding under its thicket of leaves; I knew it was pickle time!  Here’s the stack of 28–after moby joined the others from the week…way too many to just peel and eat:

After picking dill and jalepenos, peeling garlic cloves, making a brine, washing jars and cukes, cutting the ends off the cukes and slicing them into spears and packing jars with the cukes, dill, garlic and brine, placing lids and processing for 20 minutes each batch–whew–I ended up with 10 quarts of kosher dills! 

The garden has been LOVING the last two weeks of “monsoonal moisure” and has been really bringin’ it on!  The tomato plants are now over 6 feet tall.  One of them produced this amazing Belgian Giant heirloom tomato:

It was just so huge, I had to take it into the house and weigh it–13 ounces!

We sliced it onto hamburgers along with a red onion from the garden.  Nom nom nom!!!   Zucchinis have been doing what zucchinis do, resulting in 2 loaves of zucchini bread this weekend too.  It’s like living with a farmer’s market right outside the back door!