Still Makin’ Salsa

Merry Meet
Well, not just salsa, but also fire roasted tomatoes, and totally fire roasted Salsa, everything was roasted and skinned: tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, tomatillas….mmm mmm mmm !!! That was yesterday.

Today… marinated peppers, two kinds. First was Romanian Rainbow belll peppers in an oil-vinegar marinade with oregano, and the second batch was banana peppers and 2 jars of pimiento peppers, with oregano and thyme (oh yeah, and 1 dried hot pepper in the jar with the ‘nanas).
About canning with oil… according to USDA literature (did I mention that I was a certified Master Food Preserver), there are only a couple of recommended recipes for making oil-vinegar marinated vegetables. One type is peppers, another is mushrooms, and the third is 3-bean salad. Here is the recipe I used for the peppers. This recipe assumes you know how to can using a water bath canner.

Marinated Peppers yield: about 9 half-pints
4 lbs. firm peppers (you can use hot or mild, or a mixture of both)
1 cup bottled lemon juice (this is so the acidity is precise)
2 cups white vinegar 5% (actually I used a mixture of white and apple cider vinegar, both 5%)
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 cup olive oil or salad oil (I used a mixture of both)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, quartered – optional (I chopped it up and added it to the brine)
1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish- optional (I did not use this)
Select your favorite pepper. If you use hot peppers, you might want to wear gloves. Peppers may be left whole, cut in halves, quarters, or however they will fit in the jar. Blister the skin off the hot peppers over a flame or in the broiler, or in the case of mild peppers, blanch 3 minutes after cutting up, and drain.
(To blister, place a wire grate directly over the burner, turn the heat up to high – along with the exhaust fan – and place peppers directly over the flame, turning occasionally until skin blackens all over. Place each pepper into a heat-proof bowl and cover while you do the other peppers. Once they’re all blistered, take a paring knife and gently scrape off the skin. you can leave the stems in if they’re small, otherwise cut them off. Continue with the recipe.)
Now, add 1/4 teaspoon plain sea salt to each half-pint. (This assumes you have prepped your jars, rings, and lids by now, and that you know what you’re doing.) Mix lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, oil, onions, and garlic into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Fill jars with peppers, and add hot, well-mixed oil and vinegar solution over the peppers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process.
0-1000 ft. above sea level — 15 minutes
1001-3000 ft. — 20 minutes
3001-6000 ft. — 20 minutes
Above 6000 ft. — 25 minutes
I have never made these before, so I really don’t know what to expect. However, as with any pickled veggie, I would let this rest at least a month before tasting it so it mellows and the flavors blend nicely.
Okay, so if you don’t know how to can, what should you do? I would go to your county extension agency and pick up all the booklets and recipes you can from them, usually at a nominal cost, then ask them to have a Master Food Preserver give you a call. Perhaps you can get together and have her (or him) show you what to do. It’s a lot of fun. It can also be a lot of tedious work, such as in canning pears, where you have to peel each pear by hand (the apple peeler won’t work on the irregular shaped pears). However, food is worth more than money, and when you see those beautiful jars lined up on your pantry shelf, you will feel very wealthy.
Speaking of pantries, how is yours doing? Are you ready for winter? Are you ready for these strange economic times? Repeat after me: FOOD IS WORTH MORE THAN MONEY, and you’d better believe it.
Well, before I get on too much of a rant, I’d better get back to the kitchen. There are boxes and boxes of blushing tomatoes, green tomatoes, golden tomatoes in the slow-cooker, cayennes drying in a box, and I had to go to town yesterday to buy more jars (which you can use over and over again). I made a wish earlier in the season that I’d fill each canning jar I had (probably about a dozen cases)… well, be careful what you wish for, so the saying goes… We are food-fat, and lovin’ it.
Till next time, Merry Part
Peace, Doreen
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Busy Day making salsa, Cheese Bannocks

Merry Meet

tomatoes everywhere

I was up to my elbows this morning blanching and peeling tomatoes, roasting ripe jalapenos (yes! ripe! in northern Idaho!), chopping chiles (cayenne, banana and poblano, i.e. what was ripe and available) and onions, and making a lovely salsa. Will can it tomorrow. Pressure canner, so I don’t have to add vast amounts of vinegar or lemon juice. I have learned that you can make whatever combination of veggies you want as long as you process the batch according to the veggie that takes the longest amount of time… in this case, onions. It’s gonna be good.

As promised, here is the recipe for Oatmeal Cheese Bannocks, which are comforting, fragrant, biscuit-like, and welcome any time, especially during the cool days of Autumn.

Oatmeal Cheese Bannocks
2 cups rolled oats, ground in the blender to make some fine, some coarse
plus a little extra for kneading
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (half a stick) cold butter
1 cup (about 4 ounces) grated sharp cheddar
1/2 cup warm water
Heat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease a baking sheet. Stir the ground oatmeal and salt together in a bowl. Grate the butter into the meal, stir it up a bit, then stir in the cheese. Add water and mix, kneading by hand when dough is too stiff to stir. Divide into two parts, then roll eash part into a circle about 1/2-inch thick. I find it helpful to roll out the dough between two sheets of waxed paper, dusting with the extra meal if necessary. Place douch circles on prepared baking sheet and carefully cut each circle into ix wedges or “farls” as they are called. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly golden. While they are delightful warm from the oven, the cheddar flavor is stronger once they’re cooled.
rolled oats

Just in case you were wondering, rolled oats are good medicine on the outside of the body too. You can take a muslin bag or even a washcloth and tie up a handful of oats and put this into the bath. This becomes soothing and cleansing, easing the discomfort of skin ailments such as eczema or chicken pox. In fact, you can add chamomile flowers, calendula petals or even lemon balm leaves to the oats for a sweet extra; this is especially useful in the children’s bath. Don’t be surprised if the kid falls asleep as soon as they’re out of the tub!

Oatmeal also makes a good facial cleanser. Simply grind up some rolled oats in the blender, add some warm water to make a paste, and wash away — you might want to do this in the shower. You can even add honey or yogurt to the mix, although the temptation to try and lick it off your own face may be strong. Perhaps a good friend could help…!!!

Well, that’s it for now. I will let you know how the salsa turns out. Earlier this week I made what I call Golden Cha Cha Sauce, made with Ida Gold tomatoes and Bulgarian Carrot Chiles, with the addition of a bit of onion and some chopped apple and applesauce. Hot-cha-cha-cha!

Merry part…
Peace, Doreen

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