Baby tomatoes

Baby tomatoes

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Canning Cookbook- The Salsa Verde Project

Salsa verde. One thing I have often seen in stores but never have had the nerve to try. Is it HOT or mild? Green anything, including tomatillos, are something I just have zero experience with. Green tomatoes, the hallmark of southern cooking, were always something I just did not have a taste for. Last year I pickled green tomatoes, hoping to try something different. But...... I still don't LIKE the taste, and the texture leaves something to be desired.

But in a salsa..... that I could get behind. The texture would be like any regular salsa with chunks of tomato, onions, flecks of herbs....definitely something I could try. I've said year after year I was going to make it and always had the tomatoes ripen before I had a chance to work with them green. But on my agenda for this year was a batch of salsa verde and darnit, I am NOT going to miss out this year!

I already have several recipes to work out using salsa verde, so I HAD TO get with the program and get busy. Vegetables purchased, jars ready, I'm prepared to get going on this project!

Salsa verde was a new cooking experience for me. I've never made it before. I pored over cookbooks and recipes and asked friends and came up with recipe I used today. Not having any experience with green tomatoes or tomatillos, I took my time cooking this salsa- the green tomatoes were very crunchy and did not break down like ripe tomatoes do. I also had that weird phenomenon happen when you have vinegar and garlic together- blue garlic. I wish I had taken a picture- it was a beautiful vibrant turquoise. So weird. Once the garlic was cooked though, it was back to normal.

Salsa Verde, Rockin' the Kitchen Style

10-11 cups chopped green tomatoes (I left the skin on, you CAN peel if desired)
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped pepper (I used a mix of green bell pepper and only 6 jalapenos but you can go as hot as you dare)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
10 garlic cloves, cut up
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup  finely chopped cilantro

Combine everything except cilantro in large pot. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until peppers are just tender. Remove from heat, CAREFULLY transfer small amounts to blender or food processor and blend til fairly smooth. I made my salsa and refrigerated it before the blending, I just ran out of time!! If you are lucky and have an immersion blender that would be great too. I do not have one, sadly....... Since I left the skin on the tomatoes, I thought I'd mention- once it's been cooking and pureed, the skin is undetectable, so it's worth skipping that step.

You're looking for a semi chunky, not quite smooth consistency-  just enough to break up the chunks and make sure no big garlic hunks are hiding in there. 

Return to boil. Add finely chopped cilantro. Pour into prepared jars and:

If you are a canner, fix lids and rings and process in boiling water bath 35 minutes for pints or half pints.

If you are not a canner, you can pour into freezer containers and freeze.

Now.........what to do with salsa verde ?  White chili, pork dishes- some slow roasted pork, pulled, mixed with salsa and made into all kinds of tasty things, chicken dishes such as enchiladas.  I have lots of experimenting to do!!

What have I learned from my first salsa verde? Next batch is definitely going to include some lime. Lime juice, some fresh lime zest. I know when I open these jars to use them I'll be sure and add some lime to punch it up.

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