Jul 12, 2010
How to make 9 lbs of harvest disappear in 2 hours...
did you guess?
Most of you are well aware of the usefulness of this particular condiment as a way to "get rid of" almost anything! It's delicious, nutritious, keeps well, and is always beautiful, whether fresh or cooked and preserved. Of course you can't ask for a recipe, since it's different every time depending on what I have harvested, but here's a short tutorial for putting some salsa away for another day! Beginners are often very leery of canning their harvests, and rightly so, it can be a time consuming operation and food safety is always paramount, so here is another way, just freeze it! I know many of you are well versed in this, but there are always beginning gardeners that just don't know where to start - we were all there once! Canning has its advantages, like shelf life and not having to rely on uninterrupted electricity for your freezer, but for stress free stocking up, freezing is the way to go! I figure I will be stressing over the canner soon enough in September when the backyard is nothing but a tomato jungle, so tonight is all about keeping it simple.
Looking again at today's harvest - Red Norland Potatoes, Quadrato Rossi Bell Peppers, oodles of Heirloom Jalapenos, Heirloom Yellow Sweet Bell Peppers, Heirloom Fish Hot Peppers, 4th of July Hybrid Tomatoes, one more big UFO Tomato, 2 little Cucumbers, and a bunch of Cilantro
We won't worry about potatoes, never a problem using those up, and the 2 tiny cukes will be eaten with a salad for lunch tomorrow.
I will add to this another 7 4th of July tomatoes, 1 UFO, 4 Orange Wellington tomatoes that were harvested over the weekend, and some garlic, shallots, and onions from my stash.
Here we go!
Assemble your ingredients. Use as much or as little of each as you want! Taste whatever hot peppers you have first to give yourself an idea of the heat. I have had jalapenos that ranged from almost sweet to habanero-ish towards the end of summer!
In my case:
1 bowl of all of the above tomatoes, chopped
1 bowl containing 6 small yellow bell peppers & 3 large green bell peppers
1 plate containing 10 chopped Fish Hot Peppers and 8 chopped jalapenos (they were med-hot today)
1 plate containing 2 chopped onions, 1 whole head of garlic chopped, 4 chopped shallots, and a bunch of cilantro
Lime or Lemon Juice (just a half to one will suffice usually, start with 1/2 and taste)
Use whatever fresh herbs you want! If you have coriander, basil, rosemary, whatever, it's all good!
Step One: Heat up olive oil and add onions, garlic, sweet & hot peppers, cook over med-high heat for 5 minutes
(at this point you may want to remove some and save for later - you can always add more hot peppers, but it's hard to take them out LOL)
Step Two: add your tomatoes and toss
Step Three: add your seasonings and herbs, cover and cook over low heat 20 minutes
Step Four: Let cool a bit, then ladle into containers, label with date and contents, freeze!
When you are ready to enjoy, simply take out of the freezer and let thaw in the fridge. Suitable containers include plastic, glass mason jars with lids (remember to leave 1/2 inch headspace for frozen expansion), even baggies sealed and laid flat on a cookie sheet while they are freezing will enable you to stack them using less space.
4 pints of Salsa for the freezer, a half pint for using now in the fridge, 2 quart bags of frozen bell pepper strips
(note to newbies: you don't even have to blanch peppers before freezing, they are super easy to preserve for a garden fresh stir fry in winter!)
I love salsa on eggs, omelets, quiche, whatever... we're gonna' need alot of eggs since this is only the first day of the peppers!
Produce has disappeared! (of course it helped that I saw my next door neighbor have a friend over - fresh meat! I promply brought over 2 lbs of those jalapenos, she obviously hadn't got the memo yet)... only these few remain! But what am I going to do tomorrow LOL?
Last year I planted 9 jalapeno plants, waaaayyyyy too many! I still have 7 jars of pickled leftover from last year, and I use 1-2 jars a month! This year I cut it down to 6 plants and there still appears to be a problem, like 2-3 lbs a week! Either they really like producing in Southeastern VA or there is a conspiracy. I am a closet survivalist/prepper, so I will always go with the conspiracy theory! Some people have zucchini problems, I have jalapeno problems! Stay tuned for more exciting ways to dispose of jalapenos!