I brought in the last of the peppers and tomatoes last week before the heavy frost could permeate through the protective old bedsheets I strew over my plants every fall. Since then I've been busy drying, freezing, pickling and making other foods with the last of the garden.
I must note, the vegetable garden was abundant this year as usual, but our tomatoes and peppers didn't ripen as usual. I believe these fruits require warm summer nights to ripen, and this year our nights were cooler than normal.
Every year is different, and this year we needed recipes featuring green tomatoes and/or under ripe peppers.
I froze diced peppers and whole Roma tomatoes in bags, froze tomato sauce in cartons, dehydrated red paprika peppers for grinding to paprika, red and green poblanos for grinding, and smoked green poblanos to dry for ancho powder.
On the recipe side, I came up with sweet spiced pickled green cherry tomatoes, green tomato vegetarian mincemeat, and green tomato salsa.
All I have left of fresh peppers left are a few beautifully ripe Giant Marconis for the grill, and a half a bag of Fooled You jalapenos for whatever.
Here is my recipe for Green Tomato Salsa that I adapted (quite a bit) from an old Pacific Northwest Extension bulletin. You can make it as hot as you like it by adjusting the peppers. I won't add the canning directions here because I quit canning years ago, and the recipe is not exactly what the Extension did, so the acidity might be different. It's a joy to be able to make something so good from nearly all my own garden. The onions were from the market, but I just imagine if I could only grow my own limes and black pepper...
Green Tomato Salsa
6 cups chopped green tomatoes
4 cups chopped (seeded) green poblano peppers
1/2 cup finely chopped jalapeno peppers
4 cups chopped white onions
6-8 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
a handful cilantro leaves, stems removed
a handful of chopped parsley leaves, stems removed
3 Tbsp crumbled dried oregano leaves
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 cup bottled lime juice
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or so. Cool and ladle into storage containers.
Refrigerate and use, or freeze.
Makes 6-8 pints.
Options: Tomatillos can be substituted for green tomatoes. Lemon juice for lime juice.
Also, commercial salsa is sweeter, usually sugar is in the list of ingredients. I added some sugar/vinegar syrup I had leftover from pickling, which worked well for sweetening for a dipping salsa.