Green Tomato Relish

I didn’t weigh or count these, so we’ll just say for recipe purposes “about yea many”.Along with the green tomatoes, I added two big sweet onions, and four bell peppers, two green and two red.  Coarse chop all of that then spin it in a food processor to get the final mince on.  Stir in two tablespoons of kosher salt and let drain in a colander for a while, then add to a big pot.  I added yellow and black mustard seed, whole coriander seeds, a dollop of Dijon mustard, black pepper, many cloves of garlic, minced, some ground cumin, granulated garlic, granulated onion, 1 cup of sweetener, and one cup of vinegar.
Bring to a simmer and let it bubble for 20 minutes or so.  I managed to cram everything into 5 wide mouth pint jars.  Process in a water bath for 20-30 minutes.

Tidbits

We brought in some more tomatoes and promptly turned them into stewed tomatoes with lots of peppers and onions.We canned most of it but saved out enough to make our favorite sauce.The tomatoes and peppers with chicken broth and a pound each of Italian sausage and hamburger.  The usual herbs and spices went in: granulated onion and garlic, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, basil, black pepper and salt.Which we had with rice because its’s good that way.  The recipe was modified from a stuffed pepper soup recipe and the rice was a part of that.  It’s great on pasta.So we used the rest of that batch to make another lasagna,  We used ricotta in this one and that turned it into maybe the best lasagna I’ve ever made.  This one cooked at 350 for an hour, the mozz on the top browned up nicely.We said goodbye to a humongous corkscrew willow.  We planted it soon after we moved in, maybe 25+ years ago.  It grew fast and started to lose big branches, we worried they would take out infrastructure.Honey bees were attracted to the sap oozing from the fresh cuts.  We are leaving the big ol’ stump right where it is for now.Random sammich – we kept a tomato or three out of the pot just for one of these.  That’s a lucky double yolk on that egg!

Tidbits

Mrs J says these are the last of the tomatoes by which she means these are the last she is going to pick.  They have pulled out of their doldrums and have really come on.  Might have been the heat.I skinned them all, crushed them, added green peppers and onions, and boiled them down just a little…ending up with 15-1/2 quarts total in quart and pint jars.  Took the best part of a day – peeling the skins was the hardest part.  It didn’t take all that long to cook them, nothing like as long as it takes to cook the juice down when making soup.  It did take three pressure cooker loads to finish them, with the ramp up to pressure and the cool-down included it took over an hour per load.I hoisted down the big enameled cast iron pot from its usual spot atop one of the cabinets for cabbage and sausages.  (And carrots, potatoes, and onions.)Made enough for lunch the next day.  The sausages were particularly good – some were ordered up from Louisiana through the Cajun Grocer, and there were a couple left over from the package that I broke open for breakfast the other day.Sous vide is the killer app for steaks.  These were cooked to 138 degrees for half the day and were as tender as you would expect.Chili dogs!  Yay!  I keep cans of chili in the cupboard for those days when I’m just about covered up with other chores (canning tomatoes).I’ll wind up this one with Gabe keeping watch over the back yard.  There is often something to bark at and he doesn’t want to miss out.  Homer is keeping him company though his vigil.

Is It Soup Yet?

Mrs J brought in a 5-gallon bucket full of tomatoes and then went back out for another half-bucket.  I put the juicer to work and filled a 12 quart pot.  I watched it closely while it simmered because a boil over was likely.  It finally reduced enough to start adding onions and spices and chicken base.  My calculations told me that when the juice was reduced to 3-1/2 inches it would amount to 6 quarts of soup.Ta-Da!  It’s not much compared to the math those ladies did for the Apollo program but it sure impressed the kitteh boys…… not that they’ll admit it.

Tomatillo Sauce with Onions

DSC_4039 [1600x1060]Spent the day yesterday mowing and cooking tomato juice down to can as sauce so the tomatillos we gathered sat in the sink overnight.  I got to them this morning and chopped the lot.  I added several chopped onions, a head’s worth of garlic, a good sprinkle of ground cumin, a little black pepper, and salt.  I simmered the mixture in a big stock pot and canned the result in 5 quart jars,  We will be using them, a quart at a time, as sauce for chicken and whatever else sounds good.  Mrs J mentioned pork chops.  I bet I can make a case for braising a pork shoulder in it.DSC_4041 [1600x1060]

Pepper Relish

DSC_6594 [1600x1060]My container grown peppers are doing well and I was casting about for a way to use them before it was too late when I ran across this recipe for canning pepper relish.  I used the mix of peppers that I had, there are both red and green jalapenos, green and not quite red Anaheims, and several sweet mini peppers in red and orange and yellow.  I tossed in a couple of orange habaneros to liven the relish with a bit more heat.DSC_6595 [1600x1060]I ended with six pints which was a little behind the quantity mentioned in the recipe but I wasn’t counting the peppers and my have used fewer than it called for.  I made the vinegar/sugar mixture per the directions and had plenty leftover that I just dumped.  I’ll give the peppers a chance to age a little before I crack the first jar.  I’m thinking a little hot dog pr0n will be in order.

Canning Season

My sister-in-law Tracie sent along some pictures of her and my brother Paul’s latest canning adventures. While I was out they canned a batch of pickles and it was clear their small garden was going to continue to give them an abundance of produce as witnessed by yesterday’s haul:

 

What to do, what to do? Let’s think while we scald and peel:

 

When life hands you tomatoes, peppers and onions, why not make salsa?

 

Last year when it became clear they were going to do a whole lot of canning, they came up with a wonderful solution that allows them to use a larger pan and keep the house cool. They adapted their turkey fryer equipment for double duty:

 

I may have to make another trip home just to pick up some canned goods. Yum!

Thanks to my little bro and SIL for the great photos. xo

Ripe jalapenos

My patio container jalapenos are doing well this year.  The individual peppers are quite large.  I prefer the ripe ones to the green, myself, so I let these go unpicked until today, when I noticed that a few of them were starting to shrivel.I used a few of them right away in a burrito dish.And sliced the rest for pickling.The recipe was pretty simple, there isn’t anything extra in the jars this time.  It’s common to include onions and carrots, cloves of garlic and olive oil but these are plain.  Brine is 3 cups white vinegar, one cup water, 2 tbsp each of sugar and pickling salt.  I did smash 2 cloves of garlic to simmer with the brine but discarded those before pouring the hot liquid over the raw slices.  Boil in a water bath for 10 minutes.