This last week has been a lesson in learning to go with the flow and remember to allow what needs to happen, happen.
Everything has its timing.
The week started OK. The tomatoes I tried to grow this summer were a bust. They got a blight that took out most of them. So off I went to buy a case of Emery Farms tomatoes at Berry Fruit Farm in Livermore Falls, Maine.
The tomatoes were deliciously sweet and promptly became feisty, chunky hot salsa.
You may remember from an earlier post that our resident Grandpa Groundhog ate all of the tops on my green peppers. I saved most of them by babying each plant with soothing words of encouragement, sunshine, and nutrients.
I’m pleased to report I had enough, plus garden-fresh chili peppers, to make a spicy-sweet batch of relish.
Gardening teaches patience.
It’s said success is where preparation and opportunity meet. I agree. This is the year I will remember to wear gloves when preparing hot chili peppers.
The first year I used them I burned my ungloved hands from the hot oils emanating from the peppers. It was not a fun time. I wound up wrapping my hands in gauze with soothing aloe and lidocaine gel. Thankfully, I was smart enough not to touch my eyes!
Technically, this pepper relish is both a condiment and a relish. A relish is usually a small serving to enhance a hot dog or hamburger and involves vinegar in the ingredients. A condiment is usually considered a side serving to be eating in larger quantities. It really doesn’t make much difference to me. I just know my family loves this relish and can literally eat it by the spoonful!
It kind of looks like Christmas, doesn’t it?
These two canning excursions, sprinkled with blogging and other creativity, finished on Sunday. Yay! Right?
Monday morning, I arose to get my coffee and soon after careened into a chair, offending my foot with a fracture. You now have proof positive that I function better with coffee first. Crutches are not conducive to cooking or baking. However! My mother always said, “Lillian sees what needs doing and gets it done” first said when in the middle of winter, I pulled our eight-month-old puppy out of a septic tank. So I am sure that as she looks down from Heaven, she is not surprised to see I made bread today while reclining in bed with my foot elevated. You can’t beat homemade bread. They say pride comes before a fall. I’d say this time; I had the cart before the horse by falling first. (At least my sense of humor is still intact!)
I’m saying goodbye to this year’s gardening effort. So today, I’m sharing my sweet and spicy pepper relish recipe. It’s an excellent recipe for the end-of-the-season odds and ends of onions and peppers. If you don’t have fresh ingredients from your garden, the main ingredients can often be bought at a produce market, store, or shared by friends. I hope you love it. It’s perfect on burgers, hotdogs, and the meatloaf recipe I shared last week! OR be adventurous and add a dollop to top off cheese and crackers.
Honestly, I’m betting you will try this relish and “relish” adding it to numerous gastronomical options!
Colorful Sweet and Spicy Pepper Relish
- Canning kettle
- Large non-reactive pot
- Bath towel X2
- Paring knife
- Large bowl
- Food grinder or food processor
- Large mixing spoon
- Cutting board
- measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- 8 pint jars
- Fine mesh strainer
- 20 med Peppers or equivalent - multiple colors
- 1.5 lbs Yellow onions
- 1/4 Cup Kosher salt
- 4.5 cups White granulated sugar
- 4 cups Trader Joe's Cider Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Mustard powder
- 1 tsp Spicy paprika
- Prepare jars and lids by them washing in hot water. Allow to drain dry.
- Wash the peppers.
- Wearing gloves, and using a paring knife, remove stems and seeds from peppers. This should render about 6.5 lbs. Using gloves is important with hot peppers! Keep your hands AWAY from your eyes.
- Peel and chop onions and peppers into pieces that will fit your food processor or food grinder. Grind onions and peppers into a large bowl. Mix thoroughly (it will look like Christmas in a bowl!) Add salt. Cover and allow to sit overnight or for 3 hours to allow the salt to pull out any bitterness.
- Using the fine mesh strainer, drain the mixture. Add to the pot the vinegar, sugar, mustard, and paprika. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about an hour, stirring occasionally. It will thicken slightly.
- While the relish is cooking, fill a canning kettle about 2/3 full with hot water. Bring to a boil. Fill clean jars with prepared relish.
- Wipe the rims, add the lids, and screw on the covers "fingertip" tight.
- Add filled jars to a canning rack and gently lower into canning kettle and bring back to a boil for 12 mins. Remove jars carefully and place them on a bath towel. Wrap with a second towel to allow them to cool gently.