Sunday, October 14, 2012

So here it is, my pantry.  Don calls our pantry the vault.  It is a good description, because we have a lot invested in it.  Besides the investment in food that will cost me the same to serve six months from now, as it did the day I grew it or canned it, we have a large investment in time.  Time to provide for ourselves healthy nutritious food with no preservatives or added salt, and time to preserve the traditions that made the homesteader's and pioneers thrive!  It is a proud tradition, and I am proud of the vault.  I have canned more than I ever have in my life this year, and have learned so many new things!
Here is the rest of it.  The dry goods things are stored in another cabinet.  We will have to replace the shelving in the first picture this year.  It isn't big enough for what I want to do, so we will be exploring storage options to get the most use of our small space.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Making Tomatillo Apple Salsa

I am still cannning like a madwoman trying to get the garden all put by.  Counting down the crops until they are all either in the freezer, or the new dehydrator, or in jars in my pantry.  So here is the process for tomatillo salsa.  Tomatillos are a gooseberry relative, and makes it's contribution to the culinary world mainly as salsa and a sauce called salsa verde that is used in green chile, posole and other Mexican food delights.
I am making both tomatillo salsa and salsa verde today.  The tomatillo salsa is a water bath canning method recipe, and the salsa verde requires a pressure canner, because it contains chicken stock.
When we harvested the four tomatillo plants, we came up with three flats of tomatillos.  To use them, the papery husk must be removed.  Here is a photo of the tomatillos in the sink full of cold water.  Besides being enclosed in a husk, they are sticky little buggers, so water is a must.
 So here they are,  Some of them are dinky, and some didn't fill out their little papery husks, but trust me, they will all be delicious! It takes a little time to get them all ready for using, but they are worth it.  We buy canned tomatillos, and use them for posole mostly.  It is a delicious pork stew with hominy and green chiles.  The tomatillos make a wonderful tangy broth to simmer the meat in.
After you are all done de-husking, you should rinse the fruits in cold water again.  Like I said before, these little buggers are sticky.
For my canning today, I used the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens' book You Can Can.  It interested me because it added apples to the tomatillo salsa, and I had lots of apples that needed used.  The recipe called for a Granny Smith apple, but I used MacIntosh, because that's what we had on hand.  Here is what they look like when you get them all cleaned.

Pretty huh?   So I used my food processor to pulse/chop the tomatillos.  Also the onions, the jalapenos, and the peppers.  It is just easier, and my chopping thumb is still sore from the tomatoes I canned diced last week!  I am cooking my salsa in the oven in my huge roaster pan.  I am a notorious scorcher, so I am taking no chances of ruining all my hard work. The salsa will come to a boil and simmer in the oven before I can it in the water bath canner.  I have about eighteen pints of salsa in the roaster.  Here's what it looks like, and may I just say, it tastes delicious.