Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Making Hot Pepper Relish

All summer long I nurtured my very first pepper plants. In the first few months, they didn't seem to be growing very much and we thought maybe it was because the planters were too shallow, or maybe because I tried to be too fancy and planted some flowers alongside them. But they grew slowly, and as one turned bright red and became loose from the stem, others started to sprout. I removed each one when it was time and placed them in the freezer in a ziplock bag. At this point, I have more than 25 peppers, and three or four are still growing outside. This past weekend was the first I'd been home in about 5 weeks, so I trucked up to the Farmer's Market early Saturday morning and bought onions, bell peppers, and tomatillos so that I could make my relish on Sunday.

I began by using a food processor, but I found that it made the peppers too mushy so I switched to my Cuisinart Chopper. I chopped about 7 medium sized onions; 4 large bell peppers (2 green, 1 red, and 1 yellow); 2 Italian sweet peppers; 8 small tomatillos; and about 8 of my little hot red peppers and placed them in a large kettle on the stove. I added some Kosher salt, and poured boiling water over the mixture and let it sit for 10 minutes. I drained the liquid and returned the pepper mixture to the stove. Then I added sugar and cider vinegar, and simmered the mixture for about 20 minutes. Then I ladeled the relish into about 16 little jelly jars and waited to hear them pop. Such a gratifying sound. I can't wait to make omelets with the relish this coming weekend; and give the rest out as gifts!

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