a home cook with notions & an appetite
My first canning project of the season went to a relish this year (last year, it was strawberries, but the supply just wasn’t there this year). This was well worth the wait.
We’ve had these wonderful green tomatoes at the farmer’s market the last few weeks and my CSA included a wonderful head of garlic that was dying to be used. In the home garden, jalapenos have already been picked. What to do?
The answer came from the Farmgirl Fare blog and Farmgirl Susan’s No Sugar Green Tomato Relish recipe. Simple and straightforward and the kind of thing that I could do by using ingredients not only from the market but my garden? Awesomesauce.
Having the ingredients all bunched together makes it seem a lot more daunting than it was:
2 lb. green tomatoes
1 lb. onions
3/4 lb. red peppers
1/2 lb. Granny Smith apples
6 garlic cloves
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs kosher salt
4 jalapeno peppers
2 Tbs cilantro
1 tsp cumin
Between everything, I only had to pick up red peppers, an apple and after surveying the herb garden, found I actually needed to get cilantro (!). The prep is really a lot of chopping and coring, but you don’t have to be super-precise on all of it, as you’ll be using either a blender or immersion blender to pulverize your cooked-down mixture later. Mine looked like this:
The garlic is chopped up fairly well because I’ve found that doesn’t blitz so well unless you’re planning on making a true puree. You might notice no jalapeno, cilantro or cumin. This does not get added for at least an hour. Everything else is in my stockpot (this is all explained on Farmgirl’s site). I’m also boiling water for canning and making sure my canning supplies are sterilized.
After an hour, not only does it smell wonderful, but it’s ready for the final seasoning and punch. It already tastes pretty wonderful. Not to say that this doesn’t add an even better flavor to the mix. It only cooks for about 10 minutes. Enough time to remember that this entire batch won’t fit in the VitaMix at once, nor should you try to force it unless you want puree. I believe I did this in about 8 small batches of carefully done pulses so that I ended up with nice small chunks.
Here you can see two pieces of my ultra-spendy canning kit. I believe it was $10. Funnel, tongs, jar holder, lid tightner and magnet for pulling lids out of the boiling water. Well worth the money at triple the price.
As promised, the recipe made three pints. Lid and collar on (not too tight) and it was time for a water bath.
See how exciting the water bath is? Very. Okay, I stepped out after this and let it do its thing for 20 minutes or so (the “or so” is “up to 30, depending on what I was doing and how interesting it is”). After pulling the jars out of the water (using the tool from my kit!), it was just a matter of listening for the magic *POP* sound that is the jars sealing once and for all. For the half cup of relish that was left over, we enjoyed snacking on the tart and spicy treat with chips knowing that we have jars of the stuff that will be fabulous on pork and chicken well into winter.