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Monday, August 26, 2013

Canning Salsa

Ozarks Gardening
Copyright 2013, Jim Long

 

Canning Salsa

This week I’ve been canning salsa. Like nearly every other gardener I’ve talked to this summer, I’ve had a lot of split and damaged tomatoes from the earlier rains. I don’t want to waste the tomatoes so I cut out the damage and turn the good parts into salsa. Over the years I’ve tried a lot of canned salsa recipes and this one has become my favorite. Using 2 jalapenos gives a mild sauce, 4 makes a medium and for a hotter sauce, use 5-6 jalapenos.

8 cups, peeled and quartered tomatoes
1 large yellow onion, sliced
8-10 cloves garlic, peeled
2-4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Combine the ingredients in a food processor and coarsely chop everything. Pour that into a cooking pot and bring to a simmer, about 10 minutes. Pour hot salsa into hot pint jars, leaving about 1/2 inch headspace. Seal jars with two-piece lids and process in boiling water for 15 minutes. Makes 4-5 pints.



If you want a simple fresh salsa, you might like this one.

Basic Fresh Salsa

3-4 medium sized tomatoes, chopped (about 3 cups)
4-5 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup red or yellow bell pepper, diced
Juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons freshly-chopped cilantro
1/2 (or 1 whole for hotter) jalapeno, seeded and diced fine
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine ingredients and refrigerate for an hour before serving with chips.

Visit my website to see my books which have lots more of my recipes and gardening information. Happy gardening!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Grandma Harper's Sweet Pickles

Ozarks Gardening
Copyright 2013 Jim Long

Grandma Harper's Sweet Pickles

This has been a good cucumber-growing year. I make these pickles every 2 or 3 years, a necessary ingredient in tuna salad, potato salad and deviled eggs. It’s a recipe that’s been in my family at least 4 generations.

8-12 medium-sized cucumbers (about 8 inches long)
Wash cucumbers but don’t cut off the blossom end; if you do it will make the pickles softer.
Don't remove the blossom end, tests prove leaving it on increases crispness.

Place washed cucumbers in a stone jar (or stainless or enamel pan) large enough to hold the cucumbers submerged in water. Bring enough water to cover the cukes, to a boil, and pour that over the cucumbers, covering completely. Put a plate on the cucumbers to weight it down to hold the cucumbers under the water.
Cucumbers, ready for plate to hold them down.

The following day, pour off the water, bring fresh water to boil and cover the cucumbers again, also weighing down to hold them under the water. Repeat this process of drain, rinse and pour boiling water, for 4 successive mornings).
Cut-up cukes, ready for vinegar mixture.

On the 5th day, drain off the water and rinse the cucumbers. Rinse out the container, too. Cut the cucumbers into slices or chunks and put those back into the container. Over that pour the following:

8 cups sugar
4 cups apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons pickling salt (not table salt)
2 tablespoons mixed pickling spices, available at the grocery store

Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Pour this boiling mixture over the cut-up cucumbers in the container, replace the plate to hold the pickles down in the mixture. Leave this for 2 to 4 days before you can them. Process in a boiling water bath. (Consult the Ball Blue Book for processing times based on size of jars you’re using).

Visit my garden blog, as well, for more stories and recipes: http://jimlongsgarden.blogspot.com
The finished sweet pickles, ready for the pantry. They'll keep 3-4 years easily.