Busy August Weekends

Harvest time again, and I’ve been busy!  Last weekend we took advantage of the great open air Detroit Eastern Market, and put up 50 lbs of meat, including some Smokey Mexican Chicken,

 

and 16 pints of diced tomatoes and chilis.
This weekend it was time to get to my peppers, tomatillos and my sad tomatoes.

Maybe it was the drought, maybe it was my new plant source, maybe it was neglect, but I started checking to see if I had any tomatoes that I could bring in, and my harvest made my heart hurt.  I do know it was also critters.image

imageI tended the poor plants and moved on – it was Salsa weekend!  I grew tomatillos for the first time this year, and was excited to finally put my beautiful peppers to work with those babies.  You see my red bells to the left, and the serranos were equally beautiful.

 

Fire roasted Salsa Verde was the primary goal for the weekend. (recipe here)

imageSo Friday night I fired up the grill and started the party, roasting up the tomatillos and serranos with some onion.  As long as I had the grill going, I decided to cut my work down for the week and get a beer can chicken, some chicken breast, and a couple of hamburgers going (we had to eat SOMETHING on Friday). It was a long hot August night with a couple of beers and some good tunes.

And Saturday, we started out with the big cleanup.  Canning day always starts with scrubbing everything down like I’m going to do heart surgery in there.  I started out with some Borax & vinegar, to break down any grease, then followed with Scrubbing Bubbles to identify any spots I may have missed, and Simple Green d Pro 3, which has a virucide and fungicide to pick up the nasty beasties that the others missed.  Everything gets the treatment. Ah….nothing like a clean prep area.

Next I got my jars and lids boiling in the water bath canner, and filled up my sanitary water for keeping everything sterile during the process.  I put about 1/3 c chlorine bleach in about a 1/2 a sink full of water, and change it periodically throughout the day.

Now that all the germy beasties had been dispatched, it was time to get down to business.  First up, Salsa Verde.  I grabbed my roasted goodness from Friday Night and threw that together with some fresh cilantro, granulated garlic, lemon and lime juice and salt and pepper.

After my lids and jars had boiled for 10 minutes, I cleaned off my cooking surface (I have a tiny kitchen, and essentially my only workspace is a butcher-block topped kitchen cart), and set my jars out and filled them with the great concoction.  I wiped the jar rims, lidded and banded them while the pressure cooker was heating up, and processed them in the pressure cooker.  Should be good for a year, but I only made 5 jars, so they won’t last nearly that long!  No worries, there will be another batch when the rest of the tomatillos are ready.image

imageAgain, tiny kitchen, so the whole thing had to be cleaned up after that mess, and the hubby needed some lunch.  While that was all happening, I got a visit from my sweet daughter in law, and she brought along our little granddaughter, so I got a welcome break.

 

 

The afternoon was consumed with the pepper jelly.  My husband won’t eat it, but I love it, and it makes a great gift – it looks so festive, and it’s not something you think of buying.  If you haven’t had it, it’s a little hot, a lot sweet, and goes great over a block of cream cheese served with crackers.  It’s about a 2-1 ratio of sweet to hot peppers, with lots of vinegar and sugar, brought to a roiling boil for 3 minutes, then you cool it for 5 and stir in the pectin (I used Certo Sure Jell).  This was my first time using a recipe from Marin Homestead, and it worked out beautifully.  Recipe here.

Won’t these look lovely as gifts?

This made the whole kitchen a sugary, pectiny mess, and I had two canners, the food processor, 198 kitchen tools and 475 prep bowls to clean up.  Then I ran out and got Chinese carry out, ate and passed out on the couch.

Good day!

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