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Friday, August 26, 2011

Salsa V.

Despite looking like paper-covered green tomatoes, tomatillos are related to gooseberries, which probably still doesn't tell you much about them. Underneath the inedible papery husk, they are a bit sweet and tart all at once, rather like an unripe berry. They have the "green" flavor of a green tomato, but with a fruit-like acid tinge. And I caught my 18-month-old chomping on peeled tomatillos today like they were apples...there, does that help? 

I grow tomatillos in my garden for the express purpose of making salsa v.  One or two plants should do you, unless you REALLY like salsa v.  They tend to come in all at once (at least here in Zone 5B) which makes them ideal for this type of "putting up".  Rake in your whole harvest, make salsa and process...bing, bang, boom.  Any stragglers can go into late-summer fresh salsas.  This recipe scales up or down by the pound/pint, so you can make as little or as much as you want...the basic proportion for 1 pint of salsa v. is 1 lb. tomatillos, 1 jalapeno, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 onion, 1/2 tsp salt, 2-3 tbsp herbs.

Roasting the tomatillos before turning them into salsa gives a dimension of flavor not present with unroasted fruit.  You can sear them over a grill, under the broiler or on a cast-iron pan...or not at all, your choice.  Toss the dehusked fruits with a bit of oil, and give them a good 10-20 minutes of high direct  heat, until the skins are brown and the fruits are popping open.

To store this, you can freeze it, fridge it or can it, depending on your preferences and batch size.  For canning, you can water-bath can or pressure-cooker can.  Tomatillos are naturally acidic and are safe to can via water-bath provided the mixture is more than 50% tomatillos (vs. onions, garlic, peppers, etc.)  See the intro here for an overview of water-bath canning.  If you choose to use chicken broth in this recipe, however, you'll need to use a pressure cooker or fridge/freeze.  See your pressure cooker instructions for particulars about steam evacuation time and cooldown times.

To use salsa verde, consider Slow Cooker Tacos, mixing with cream cheese for dip, a marinade for baked chicken, in place of red sauce in enchiladas, or posole.

Salsa Verde
Makes 5 pints

5 lbs. husked, washed, roasted tomatillos
5 jalapenos, halved and seeded
5 garlic cloves
2-3 small onions, peeled and quartered
2 1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, cinnamon basil, savory, oregano, mint)
water or chicken stock

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive pot.  Add water or chicken stock just to cover.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  Let cool briefly, then blend with an immersion blender.  Ladle quickly into storage containers and fridge/freeze, process in boiling water bath for 25 minutes (only if you used water in the salsa), or process in a pressure cooker (if you used chicken broth) at 10 lbs pressure for 5 minutes for pints and 10 minutes for quarts (plus appropriate times for steam evacuation and cooldown). Pin It

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