Salsas, a great way to use up the last of the crop!
If you are among the gardeners that stripped your pepper and tomato plants of fruit when the word of upcoming hard freezes were approaching a while back, you may have a surplus of peppers and tomatoes. Many of those tomatoes are probably green and many of the peppers may be hot. There may seem to be limited ways to use green tomatoes or hot peppers but there are many recipes that call for them. Sauces and salsas are great way to use both!
Green tomato salsa is a great way to use up many of the tomatoes and hot peppers that are left on the vine when freezing weather sets in. This recipe, adapted from the Ball canning guide, is also a great way to store the tomatoes for the winter. It is a green tomato salsa that is sort of like a Mexican salsa verde made with green tomatoes instead of tomatillos. The recipe makes about 6 (8oz) half pints:
7 cups chopped cored peeled green tomatoes (about 12 medium)
5 to10 jalapeno, habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 cups chopped red onion (about 2 large)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands
1.) Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.) Combine tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and lime juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in cilantro, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
3.) Ladle hot salsa into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
4.) Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
Originally from the Eastern Thai city of Sri Racha, Sriracha sauce has become popular in the U.S. in recent years due to Huy Fong Foods in Orange County, California. Although it has been used for many years in Thailand and Vietnam as a dipping sauce, primarily for seafood, the Huy Fong version has a growing following in this country. Chinese-Vietnamese David Tran began the company in 1983 after arriving in California. Although the commercial variety is popular, you can use your own produce to make a homemade variety. The following recipe is from the LocalKitchen blog which makes 5, 4-oz jars:
2 and 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/2 lb habañero peppers, stemmed & halved (seeded if desired for less heat)
1/2 lb red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
1/4 cup smashed, peeled garlic cloves (about 1 head)
1/4 cup raw sugar (organic turbinado)
1 scant tbsp kosher flake salt (use 2 tsp if using a fine-grained salt)
Day 1. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve. Add peppers & garlic and push under liquid. Cover and allow it to sit overnight (or for several nights; mine sat for about a week).
Day 2 (or 7). Prepare canner, jars and lids.
Strain liquid from pepper-garlic mixture into a medium saucepan. Bring brine to a full boil over high heat; boil, uncovered, until liquid is reduced to 1/4 the original volume, or to a final volume of about 1/2 – 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Add the vegetables, return to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for 5 minutes.
Transfer mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth, or leave slightly chunky, per your preference. Return to the saucepan, bring sauce to a simmer, then fill hot jars to 1/2-inch headspace, wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Originally from Indonesia, sambal is a sauce that is made primarily of chili peppers. There are many types of sambals with many differing ingredients depending on their use and the region of Indonesia that they originated from. Sambal oelek is one type of sambal that is popular in the United States, also due to Huy Fong Foods, and is a spicy sauce made from Raw chili paste. It can be used as the base for making other sambals or as an ingredient for other cuisines. Some types of this variant call for the addition of salt or lime into the red mixture. The term “oelek” or sometimes spelled “ulek” is a stone mortar used to make the paste in Asia. Since sambal oelek is primarily made with the fewest ingredients, it is the easiest to make. This recipe is from the Food Network.
1 lb red chile
5 1/2 ounces garlic, peeled and chopped
5 1/2 ounces tender young ginger, peeled and chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced (white part only)
6 fluid ounces vinegar
8 ounces sugar
salt, to taste
1 tablespoon lime zest, chopped
1.) Blend the chilies, garlic, ginger and lemon grass in a food processor or mortar and pestle.
2.) While processing gradually add the vinegar.
3.) Place the pureed mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
4.) Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
5.) Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
6.) Add the salt and lime zest.
7.) Remove from the heat, cool and bottle in sterilized jars.
All of these recipes will help give you a use for all of the green tomatoes and hot peppers that you may not have any other use for. Canning these salsas is also a great way to store them for the winter.
A good tip if you are trying any of these recipes:
When cutting or seeding hot peppers, wear rubber gloves to prevent hands from being burned.
*After posting this I found a good article by David Rosengarten on Sriracha Sauce: