9.22.2007

I relish the thought....

As I mentioned before, I have been busy converting garden surplus and farmer market goodies into tasty treats for the home team. Yeah it's a pain in the keister. I think it's worth it though. There is something really satisfying about making all this stuff to put by. It makes me happy to be working on something so basic as food preservation. No, I don't think it for everyone. I think most people would not find the sweet spot in peeling 25 pounds of tomatoes. It's there - it right there above cleaning grout with a toothbrush. And there are those of you reading this who know exactly what I am talking about...

So this past week, I have done the following:

Slow-roasted Roma tomatoes for the freezer

Lightly cooked and froze tomatoes for sauces

Canned Tomato Preserves

Canned Apple Butter (Check out the one by Annie halfway down the page.)

Froze Apple Sauce

Froze Homemade noodles

Froze Thai Red Curry Paste

And lastly -

Canned Chow-chow



Yes - I decided that I could not live without this relish. It is very close to the one my mom made when I was little. Not quite the same though. I do not have my mother's recipe. It was not in her collection. I have a feeling it was up in her head like so many other things she made regularly. (I still get cravings for her liver and onions - the gravy was to die for. No recipe for that either. Dammit, Mom!!)

I have kinda put off making chow chow though - I just remember my mom grinding away at the various ingredients. Food processor? Oh hell no... She had one of the old hand crank models. I used to tell her I would "help" her. Every parent here knows how much "help" I was - 5 or 10 cranks later...I was no where to be found. But I was more than ready to help tuck into a newly opened jar of the relish.

I am not a stickler for that type of authenticity however. I borrowed Gail's grinder attachment for our Kitchenaid mixers. I may be nostalgic - but I ain't stupid. Take a look at the recipe I came up with:

10 pounds green tomatoes

12 medium green bell peppers

12 medium red bell peppers

6 yellow onions

2 small heads cabbage

2 large or 3 medium cucumbers

4 jalapeno peppers

1 medium head garlic

That's a lot of grinding folks. Even with the miracle of modern technology - it still took me about an hour to get everything through the grinder. The smaller you can cut materials before you put it through the grinder the better. I used a pretty course grind - here is the veggies as they come through the shoot. Doesn't look too good does it?

After you get everything ground and put into a non-reactive container (like a crock or stainless steel stockpot), you are ready to start the actual process of cooking the relish.

Here is the recipe in its entirety:

10 pounds green tomatoes

12 medium green bell peppers

12 medium red bell peppers

6 yellow onions

2 small heads cabbage

2 large or 3 medium cucumbers

4 jalapeno peppers

1 medium head garlic

8 cups sugar

8 cups cider vinegar

1/2 cup canning salt

3 tablespoons pickling spice

  1. Rinse the vegetables, peel onions, carrots and garlic. Remove the seeds from the peppers and scrape the inside to remove the ribs. Cucumbers can be peeled and seeded if you like. Grind all the vegetables and place in a large container. Add salt, cover with water and allow to stand for 1 hour.
  2. While the vegetables are soaking, in a large pot, add the sugar, vinegar and pickling spice tied in a cheesecloth bag. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.
  3. Drain and rinse and drain the vegetables again, making sure as much moisture as possible is out of the vegetables. (I actually put them in several layers of cheesecloth and squeezed them dry.) Add to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Relish can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple weeks or canned for longer preservation.
  5. Makes about 12 pints of relish

To can the relish, I recommend going to The National Center for Home Food Preservation. Run by the USDA,they always have the latest and greatest info on home canning. This is one of the good things that gets done with your tax dollars (a rare event!) so take full advantage of it...

Ok - that's it for now. I drank way to much caffeine this morning and need to start scrubbing down the house or I'll explode...Where the hell is my toothbrush?

3 comments:

CT Foodie said...

The pics of the relish are like eye candy. Thanks for the link to Food Preservation. I so envy those who are so good at canning.

CT Foodie said...

I just started blogging about food - can I link to your site? I love this stuff- and I can't wait to go to KC to try those ribs!

Rosie said...

Hi CT!

You are very welcome. I will tell you, canning is not as hard as you think...you should check out Tigers and Strawberries for her comprehensive tutorial on canning. It is very good.

And yes - you can link to my blog!

Rosie