Salsa Verde and Peach-Pepper Relish

Remember when Joe did that guest post a while back about pickling? Well, we've expanded our repertoire even further. Now we're canning. Yes, canning! It's not that weird, really. Actually it's pretty cool. It's what all the hipsters are doing these days.

Home canning is actually really easy. You just need the right equipment. Basically, you just need Ball mason jars of various sizes and a canning kit, which you can buy online (like on Amazon). The kits contain a huge pot that can accommodate a bunch of jars, a funnel for filling the jars, tongs for taking the jars out of the boiling water, and a couple other things. 

Basically, all you do is put stuff in the jars (always use a canning recipe!), submerse the jars completely in boiling water for a specified amount of time, and when you take them out, they've formed a vacuum seal that allows you to store them at room temperature for an indefinite period of time. It's a great way to preserve a lot of stuff at once, because you can just stick the jars on a shelf somewhere, instead of taking up precious refrigerator space.

Today we did two canning projects: salsa verde and peach-pepper relish. The salsa verde is, of course, a tomatillo-based salsa with roasted peppers, onions, lime, and garlic. It's awesome with chips, tacos, or really anything Mexican. The peach-pepper relish is a sweet and spicy condiment that's kind of a Southern thing. I grew up eating it as an appetizer with cream cheese and crackers.

Salsa Verde
From The Joy of Pickling

Makes 3 pints
  • 2 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed, halved
  • 1/2 pound (about 8) roasted, peeled, and seeded Anaheim chile peppers, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pickling salt
In a nonreactive pot over medium-low heat, cook the tomatillos, stirring occasionally at first, until they are tender, about 10 minutes. After they have cooled a bit, blend them briefly in a blender or food processor.

In the pot combine the tomatillo puree and the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and then reduce the heat. Simmer the mixture for 15 minutes.

Ladle the salsa into pint or half-pint mason jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars with two-piece caps and process the jars for 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath.

Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place.

Peach-Pepper Relish
From The Joy of Pickling

Makes 6 half-pint jars
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 6) red bell or pimiento peppers, minced
  • 1/2 pound red hot peppers, such as Fresno or jalapeno, minced
  • 2 pounds (about 6) peaches or nectarines, pitted, peeled, and chopped
  • 3 lemons, halved
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
Put all of the peppers into a nonreactive bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let them stand until they are cool.

Drain the peppers and put them into a nonreactive pot with the chopped peaches or nectarines. Juice the lemons and add both the juice and peels to the pot. Boil the mixture for 15 minutes.

Remove the lemon peels and add the sugar and vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil again. Let it boil, stirring constantly, until it forms a 2-inch thread or reaches 230 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Remove the pot from the heat and immediately ladle the relish into half-pint mason jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Close the jars with two-piece caps and process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.

Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least 2 weeks before eating the relish.