‘Tis the Season, For Canning

Fall is pretty much upon the garden. The farmers’ market is winding down, many farms have already been hit by frost, and the last of the crops have been harvested. While this time of year can be melancholy, it also provides a needed reprise from the garden and a ramping-up of preserving the harvest for the rest of the year. Our little garden has until this coming weekend, at which time the remaining tomatoes, tomatillos, peanuts, and pumpkins will be harvested, the plants will be pulled-up, compost will be spread, and water turned off for winter. A few of the tomato and pepper plants have already been moved to Phoenix for the winter.

This past weekend my aunt and uncle had a lot of excess vegetables, mostly squash, jalapeno and Anaheim peppers, and green tomatoes. We were the happy recipients of much of that. We got a big bag of jalapeno and Anaheim peppers, which were smoked over the weekend. Some of the jalapenos will be dried and ground into homemade chipotle powder (maybe with a few smoked and dried habanero peppers thrown in for good cause), a few were frozen or given to friends, and a lot of them will be dried (which is happening as I write this but won’t be done for hours) and made into chipotles in adobo. With this many peppers how could I not? These will be future posts when I make them.

The Anaheim peppers were smoked and are also being dried, along with a few I grew but did not smoke, and will eventually become homemade enchilada sauce. I can’t wait to taste smokey enchilada sauce. The other benefit is that I know there will not be any gluten in the sauce. My sister upset my world a few weeks ago when she matter-of-factly informed me my up-to-then favorite purchased enchilada sauce contains gluten – something neither my sister nor I tolerate well. It might be awhile before I make the sauce.

The other item we got a lot of were green tomatoes. When you have a box of great looking green tomatoes the notion they can all be made into fried green tomatoes does not even arise. What does arise, at least for us, is more salsa and chutney. In reading various salsa recipes, including the one we made previously, it appears that tomatillos and green tomatoes are more or less interchangeable in canning recipes. Because we harvested a couple of pounds of our tomatillos and we like the  salsa verde so much and because we can can it, we made a lot of salsa verde, mixing the tomatillos and green tomatoes. We ended up with 14 pints of spicy salsa verde that are now sitting on the dinning room table and will be welcome additions to dishes this winter. I have since written my name on most of them so they do not mysteriously disappear and if they do I can track down the thief. I might have installed a hidden camera also.

We made two green tomato chutneys this year. One is the same as last year. It is from the Aga cookbook. I don’t have the recipe with me but I will bring it back the next time I am by the garden. It tastes like most chutneys and contains green tomatoes, apples, cider vinegar, red pepper, light brown sugar, raisins, onions, and I am sure other things. Then it cooks for hours. The second one is new to us.

The second chutney we made says it is good with Indian food (as in the country). After tasting a little of it I agree. It is quite different to other chutneys we have made. Maybe because of that I expect it to become the favorite. We came across this recipe because we could not initially find the recipe from the Aga book. We had forgotten it was from the Aga cookbook, which stays up by the garden. This green tomato chutney comes from The Slow Cook. The only difference to the recipe I can remember is we processed the jars for 21 minutes because of being at altitude.

I know everyone likes trivia, so here is a little trivia for canning: a 1 pint jar with lid weighs right about 1 pound. The stuff in the jar weighs right about 1 pound. So, every 1 pint jar that is full, at least with our salsa or chutney, weighs 2 pounds. Counting our jars in the photo, the bigger ones are 1 pint and the small ones 1/2 pint, gives us 26 1/2 pints of salsa and chutney, about 26 1/2 pounds of preserved fruit and vegetables. Not a bad weekend.

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One thought on “‘Tis the Season, For Canning

  1. Pingback: Chipotles | Smoketree Cellars

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