So I may or may not wind up making appliance-dried fruit this year. The dehydrator is larger (read: wider at the base) than I was expecting, and our on-going, building-wide Roach Problem has reminded me (again) that creating a warm, moist, sheltered, fruit-filled environment is maaaaaybe not something I want to be doing right there in my food preparation area.
I sure do miss my balcony right now. Ants I can deal with, if they turn up. But this is just not something I want to encourage.
That said, whether I do dried fruit or stick with, say, peach-nectarine butter (which will be its own brand of deliciousness) this summer, I’m going to need to get on it in, oh, the next 24 hours because that fruit is not going to last all that much beyond that.
I think I may have come up with a way to stage the dehydrator that will keep things relatively under control, provided my fruit doesn’t take more than about 12 hours and I can stay int he house during that time (I have a drop-leaf side table that, with the adition of a protective cover – I don’t want to wreck the wood – might serve as an appropriately sized suport, provided I can do some pre-emptive protective work around the base before I turn the thing on.
So that’s the saga with the dehydrator. Now that I’ve (possibly) grossed you all out, I’m going to rapidly change the subject to SALSA.
As-you-know-bob, I’ve been making tomato-peach salsa every year for a while now (well, since Summer 2012, at any rate), and it’s been an Evolving Process. I’ve determined that the best way for me to get the heat-level that I like in my salsa (which I typically use as part of my fish-tacos recipe, or else combine with coconut milk for a fast-and-easy curry-esque dish) is to stick a single dried arbol chili into each 1-cup jar and then toss the salsa mixture in on top of said chili. Beyond that, though, the recipe tends to move around a little bit while staying basically within the same neighbourhood every year.
This year’s recipe is as follows:
Tomato-Peach Salsa 2014
5 C peeled-and-diced roma tomatoes (works out to ~13 large-ish roma tomatoes)
2 C peeled-and-diced peaches (6 peaches)
1 cooking onion, diced
3 garlic scapes, diced
3 large dried New Mexico Chilies (mildly spicy), diced (use scissors)
3 tbsp dried cilantro
1 tbsp dried basil
½ C cider vinegar
1½ tbsp. sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried chili flakes
¼ tsp each: cayenne pepper, ground coriander seed
7 sterilized 1C jars
7 Arbol Chilies (very hot), one per jar
Sterilize your jars (and lids, and rings) in a boiling water bath
Put one dried arbol chili in each jar
Prep the rest of your ingredients. NOTE: Peel the peaches and tomatoes by cutting a small “x” into their skins – try not to cut the flesh as much as you can), and boiling them for about 60 seconds. Then plunge them into a cold-water bath (to stop the cooking). At this point, the peaches/tomatoes should cool down pretty quickly. This will make them way easiler to handle, plus the skins will peel/rub right off. It’s a little messy, but it’s easy.
In a large pot on the stove, combine all the ingredients (taht are not the jas or the arbol chilies). Stew them together until they are not too liquidy – this takes upwards of half an hour, so you may want to drain your peaches and tomatoes a little beforehand (just sit them in a bowl and let the liquid leak out, then pour it off and toss the tomatoes and peaches into your pot as indicated)
Fill your sterilized canning jars with salsa! My recipe made 6.5 cups, so I added an extra tomato or two (up to 13 from “11 or 12”) for the recipe you’re reading right now.
Pop the lids on, and process in a boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes, then remove from their bath and allow to cool. Listen for the “plunk” of the lids as they seal (this is key – if it doesn’t happen, pop them open, reheat the contents, and start the canning part of the process all over again).
And there you have it. Tomato-Peach Salsa 2014. 😀
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 I’ve started using a canning pot (it’s kind of like a double-boiler-style steaming pot, but a heck of a lot bigger, and the “steamer” section takes up most of the depth of the “reservoire” section) for my canning. It can hold 5 one-cup (“half-pint”) jars, ten half-cup jars, or four (although ideally three, because four tends to lead to a lot of splatter) pint jars, and I seam to be getting a better rate of sealing when it comes to the pint jars, so I think I’ll stick with this method in the interests of trying to do home-canned crushed tomatoes again, after all.
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