salsa verde

There are two types of salsa verde in the world, the Italian variety that combines oil, parsley, and garlic, and the Mexican type that uses chilis and tomatillos. In our casa, it is all Mexican all the time.

Somehow, I did not put up salsa verde last year, did I have some left from the previous year? A couple months ago when I was hankering for enchiladas I had to purchase a pouch of the green stuff. And while Rick Bayless Frontera makes a very nice salsa verde, I do not like buying things I can make myself.

Following is the recipe I have used for years. It is perfect and needs no tinkering. The recipe comes from Put ‘Em Up by Sheri Brooks Vinton (a very useful canning book) and is a crowd pleaser.

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Salsa Verde

4 pounds tomatillos, husks removed

1 tablespoon lightly flavored oil

1 cup distilled white vinegar or bottled lime juice (I use vinegar)

1 pound yellow onions, chopped

1/2 pound chili peppers, stems and seeds removed (I use jalapenos)

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the broiler. Wash and dry the tomatillos. Lightly brush half of the tomatillos with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet, stem side down. Broil until blackened in spots. Remove and cool to room temperature.

2. Puree the remaining raw tomatillos with the vinegar in a blender or food processor and remove to a large nonreactive saucepan. (I use a food processor)  Puree cooked tomatillos, onions, chilis and garlic. Add to pan.

4. Bring to a boil, simmer 10 minutes, to thicken and reduce.

5. Remove pan from heat and stir in cilantro and salt.

Fill your jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

The original recipes states that it makes 8 cups. I find it makes more than that, every time, so prep a couple extra jars.

a little bit of currant jam

Walking through the produce section of the grocery store yesterday I came across currants. It is so unusual to see currants in the store, I scooped up a couple little containers as fast as I could. After lunch I turned those little beauties into jam. I love currant jam, one of my very favorites, and one that is not always on the shelf because currants are not always available here. It was a treat to be able to add the jam to my larder.

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Currant Jam

2 1/2 cups of currants, I used a combination of black and red, but any combination is fine, separate the fruit from the stems

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons cassis, this is optional, if you have some use it, if not, it is fine

In a stainless or enamel pan, bring currants and water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes to soften the fruit.

Add sugar, lemon juice, and cassis to the pan, bring to a boil, and continue boiling until set, about 10 minutes.

Fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Do not forget to label the jars, dark jams all look alike a few months later.

one jar of pickled radishes

When talking to folks new to canning, one of the things that is most difficult for them to wrap their heads around is that canning does not have to be an all day/all night affair. Many of us have memories of our grandmothers standing in the kitchen for days putting up food from the garden. Piles of produce, towers of jars, lots of steam, and a fair amount of swearing. As more and more of us live in cities, in spaces without room for a garden or jar storage, that kind of production is not useful.

Instead, think about how your family really eats. Do you go through a jar of jam in a month? Then all you need to get you through the year are twelve little jars of jam, in an assortment of the flavors you love most. That means that you will probably only be putting up two or three jars of jam at a time. An hours work. No need to bring home a flat of berries when a pint or two will do the trick. Easy Peasy.

There was a time when I did do production canning. The house contained four kids and an army of friends. I could not keep enough jars of pickles, applesauce, or raspberry jam in the house. Now, there is just one left at home and he is not here much, so when I think about jars, it is often one or two of something. A treat for the middle of winter, or a way to make cocktails a little more special.

As I walked through the yard this morning (a small city lot) I noticed that the radishes had really taken off over the past week. So I picked a couple of handfuls and headed to the kitchen.

The first thing to do is to get a pot of water on to boil. A pot big enough to hold as many jars as you think you will need. This morning I had enough radishes for one jar and used my favorite Fourth Burner Pot.

While the water is heating, I prep my produce. Once that is done I turn my attention to heating the liquid that will be used, or I cook the food I have just prepped, depending on what I am making. There is a good chance that the pot of boiling water, and what is going to go into the jars will be done about the same time. If not, make the bed, empty the dishwasher, check Instagram…the goal is to fit canning around your life, not have it take it over.

Ta Da. A little jar that is going to make an ordinary martini, a thing of greatness.

You can find my original post about pickled radishes and the recipe here. Are you ready to try extreme small batch canning?