Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Peck of Peppers

It was a nice cold, wet, windy day, perfect to spend in the kitchen, so I finally got the bag of peppers my son picked out of the refrigerator. I used some of them in a large batch of salsa we were also making (I had to use up most of a case of tomatoes before they went bad, too), and threw out the bad ones, but that still left me with more peppers than I ever knew I wanted. Now what?

I pureed a bunch of the odder ones (who knows how hot?), along with pickled ginger and the vinegar that it was pickled in, some garlic, and a little salt. It was very hot, very tasty; the ginger was subtle but effective. I froze several small jars and plan to send a small one to my college son.

Most of the rest I sliced very thin and put in a jar with enough vinegar to cover; I topped it with a thin layer of olive oil to seal it. One batch is of the little tiny peppers, in green, red, and orange; one is jalapenos, and one is green habaneros. These will be sitting on my counter for a couple days before going in the refrigerator; I'm not sure how I will use them yet. That left some dark-green Anaheims (or something similar) and some green chilis, which I sliced and froze.

To make the salsa, we cored tomatoes, threw them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes, then transferred them to ice water; this made their skins slip right off. Then we chopped them and put them in a large bowl. We added minced peppers, minced garlic, chopped onion, a few rogue tomatillos that had hidden in the pepper bag, some salt, and lemon juice. We spooned it into jars with a slotted spoon and stuck them in the freezer; I would swear I canned it last time, several years ago, but I can't find any indication of how I did that safely, so we are going with freezing this time. At the bottom of the bowl, we had soup with a few onions in it. I strained some of the juice to use for breakfast, and my daughter claimed the rest as a cold, gazpacho-style soup.

It feels good to have those vegetables out of the refrigerator, and I don't have to feel guilty about letting them spoil.

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