September 18, 2007

Harvest Begins

Since I have a little time off before my heavy fall work schedule begins, I decided that now is the time to get my harvesting done and to can or dehydrate as many of my ripe chile pods that I can. According to the weather service, a storm is due to arrive in a few days, so if I'm going to dehydrate chiles outside, it needs to be soon. To this end, I picked what few tomatoes I had in the garden...perhaps five or six...and then purchased supplemental tomatoes at the grocery store. Fortunately, my local grocer carries organically grown tomatoes on the vine which I feel are an acceptable substitute for my homegrown. I also picked some fresh cilantro from my herb garden and a basketful of lemondrop chiles.

I've not processed whole raw tomatoes in quite some time, but the method came back to me easily enough. I dunked the whole tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for a minute or two and then used a knife to peel off their skins. After that, I went to town with squeezing out the seeds and dicing them up. I saved a few cups of the diced tomatoes for salsa and the rest went into my blender to create a puree. The puree is being held in the fridge to be used to make hot sauce.

My salsa recipe is out of the Ball Canning book and features cider vinegar in the recipe. I used what lemondrop chiles I had for the salsa and only had enough to make two pints of salsa. Because of this, I decided to not can them. Instead, the finished salsa is in our fridge awaiting tortilla chips. I'm not sure if I like the cider vinegar in my salsa and the lemondrops are not robust enough in this recipe. Next time, I might just do a standard Pico de Gallo and simply enjoy fresh salsa with lime juice and leave it at that.