Monday, September 26, 2011

Canning bonanza

I experienced a veritable canning bonanza this weekend, and my food processor got to flex some muscle, too!

Two types of salsa verde

Picture the sound of dueling banjos. Now imagine that the banjoists are wearing sombreros and offering you a big plate of enchiladas. Then they hug you. That is what it was like to make these salsas simultaneously.

You have to de-husk the tomatillos and wash them, which makes them less sticky but makes your hands incredibly sticky. I had about 2.5 lb. from the farmers' market, so I was motivated to use them up.

First, we have contender 1: salsa verde. Most of the ingredients get put into the food processor raw: tomatillos, garlic, onions, cilantro, salt, vegetable oil, jalapeno, and lime juice. Only a few poblano peppers get roasted, at which point you remove the skins and then place them in the food processor also. I think I've gotten pretty good at roasting and de-skinning peppers at this point!

Then we have contender 2: roasted tomatillo salsa. This is an Epicurious recipe passed to me in last year's CSA newsletter. You roast the tomatillos, serrano peppers, and garlic, then put into the food processor with cilantro, onion, and salt.

What's nice about making two batches of similar things at once is that I didn't even really wash the food processor bowl - I just gave it a little rinse. Here are the results:

The one on the left is #2, roasted tomatillo salsa; the one on the right is salsa verde. You can tell that the one on the right is much more chunky, probably because nothing except for the poblanos were roasted. We've been at the salsa verde for a few days now; I put it on confetti corn, omelettes, and into guacamole. This stuff is awesome. Definitely spicier than salsa verde I'm used to from Mexican restaurants.

I didn't process these in a water bath; I just put them in quart jars (each recipe makes about a quart) and put them into the fridge. I'm not sure if these are acidic enough to process, but it is going fast, so I don't imagine it'll be a problem to store them in the fridge.

Two types of chutney

These are both from my preserving cookbook.

Plum chutney

For this chutney, you first quarter and de-pit the plums, then peel, core, and dice some apples. Add to a preserving pan with some thinly sliced red onions. Then add your apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, spices, and salt. Boil until it starts to look like a sticky chutney! This is about the time it starts to want to stick to the bottom of the pan.

I'm discovering that plums have a very particular texture when you make chutney out of them. The apples pretty much disintegrated, but I'm guessing that helps release the pectin and set the chutney. I'm thinking this is going to be pretty amazing on holiday ham or turkey.

Mediterranean vegetable chutney

This chutney has an amalgam of vegetables, all of which I obtained through my CSA or local farmers' market. It starts with 1 eggplant, 3 red peppers, 2 tomatoes, and 1 squash (I used pattypan). Then you add vinegar (I used a mixture of cider and white wine), brown sugar, salt, and spices.

Boil until it gets sticky and most of the vinegar is dissolved.

I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with this, but I'm sure it would be awesome as a spread on crackers, or maybe over some chicken or pasta. The chunks hold up really well, as you can see from these gorgeous, glistening jars. I bet I will open these in January and it will taste just like summer.

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