Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Preserved Peppers

I have mentioned that no matter how many tacos we make, we cannot possibly use all the Anaheim and Jalapeño peppers that our two plants were producing.

I used this picture to illustrate my point…

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And put all those peppers in the fridge to wait until the next batch was ready and figure out how to preserve all of them.

Well….

I think we won’t be planting these types of peppers next year.  Because we will have enough in the freezer to kick out the ice cream and popsicles.

This was just the second batch…pepper preserving

pepper preserving

pepper preserving

Since I don’t have a pressure cooker to can them….freezing was my main option.

I used a couple of approaches.

First the easy way….wash them , dry them and stick in a marked plastic bag before throwing it in the freezer.

pepper preserving

Rocket science. 

But I have to admit this was my favorite way.

The most time intensive method included de-seeding and slicing them up before putting them into the cuisinart.  Then chop them into itty bitty bits.

And spread into an ice cube tray.

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After a day in the freezer these cute pepper cubes popped right out.

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In my mind, I will use my pepper cubes more frequently in recipes and stir fry's because all the work is already done.  At least that is what I was trying to convince myself of after chopping and deseeding for an hour.

And if I am being totally honest the bag of whole peppers going into the freezer got more friends in there as the chopping time marched on.

But the important thing is, they are all safely tucked in the freezer for our enjoyment…for a long time.

Actually the most important thing is that you wear gloves while you are chopping jalapeños.  I did.  And even then some of the hotness snuck in and the skin next to my fingernails was burning for a week.   Which was really difficult when I wanted to wear contacts. 

A random tip?  Know how you are supposed to drink milk when your mouth is on fire?  Well my fingers were burning so bad that a stuck them in  a bowl  of milk.  And it worked.  Not long term, but it provided relief for an hour or so before I dinked them again.

So be careful with the gloves.  Because that is a little weird to do when you are at work. 

Not that I know.

Round Two

Our garden needed a little pick up.  The tomatoes were pretty much done and looking sick at that.  And weeds were starting to creep in.  But I finally did break down and added chicken wire on one bed to keep the bunnies from eating everything.

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And now that fall is approaching, cool season crops can be reintroduced.  I had really good intentions of a) having a second crop to go in the garden this year and not just call it quits after the heat of summer passed b)start the second crop from seed.

Well I was successful on one and a half counts.

I started seed for lettuce and snap peas in pots on the deck.  And they looked great for a while.  But then the wind knocked down the pot with lettuce.  And the bunnies got the peas.

So we bought the second round at the store.

And now lettuce, onions are starting again.

Garden '10 round 2

Garden '10 round 2

The bed looks so much cleaner and the peppers are still thriving on the end.

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Yeah about the peppers…..Mexican night every night this week.

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Zesty Salsa

One of my garden resolutions this year was to have a better preservation plan so when we have piles of perishable produce (say that 5 times fast) that it would not go to waste.

So when the tomato plant started producing, I was ready with some salsa making activities.  Kim at Newly Woodwards almost convinced to start with pizza sauce with pictures of her canning yumminess, but since I also had tons of peppers, we decided salsa was the best bet.

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I went to the library and checked out some great canning books.  I find my salsa recipe in this one.

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Actually it had tons a great recipes (salsa and otherwise) and I picked out Zesty Salsa to start with.  No particular reason besides it sounded good and honestly it was the one that utilized the most of the types of pepper we had in the garden.

Here what went into it-

10 cups chopped cored peeled tomatoes

5 cups chopped seeded bell peppers

5 cups chopped onions

2 1/2 cups chopped seeded chili peppers (we used jalapeno)

1 1/4 cups cidar vinegar

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Everything came from our garden except garlic, cidar vinegar, and cilantro that met an early end this year.

For the first round of salsa, the tomatoes were just beginning to ripen so I made a half batch which yielded 5 pint jars. IMG_2678

Well this picture shows 4 and a half but that was just because it was so good that we had to sample some.  Trust me there were five.

And being lazy I decided not to can them and just stick them in the freezer.  I had bought freezer safe glass jars and I figured that we could eat it by the time 6 months had passed.

Well  it was amazing, because three days later only two jars remained in the freezer.  But before you think we are total salsa pigs, let me tell you that I did give a jar to our neighbors.

Luckily we had a lot more tomatoes (and a random cantaloupe but ignore that part)….

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And plenty more peppers so we made a second full batch this time.  And since Derek was helping the jalapeno has a bit more kick. 

So we now have 9 pint jars in the freezer and giant tupperware of yumminess in the fridge.  Hopefully that will last much longer this time, because the next round of tomatoes is destined for pizza sauce.  But just writing this post has me crazing some more and heading to the fridge so that might still be up in the air……

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