Ryan Quintal Photo

Last week was a lesson in learning to go with the flow and remember to allow what needs to happen, happen.
Here’s a recap.
Because my tomatoes were a bust this year, I bought a case of deliciously sweet Emery Farms tomatoes at Berry Fruit Farm in Livermore Falls to be soon made into a feisty chunky hot salsa.
You may remember that earlier in the summer, Grandpa Groundhog ate the tops on my green peppers. I saved most of them by babying each plant with soothing words of encouragement, sunshine, and nutrients. With a little supplementation from the market, I grew enough peppers, including garden-fresh red chili peppers, to make a spicy-sweet batch of relish.
The salsa and relish making excursions finished on Sunday without incident, leaving only chopped tomatoes for spaghetti sauce sitting in a bowl to be processed. Monday morning, I arose to get my coffee. Before I could make it, I careened into a chair, causing a fracture to my sweet baby toe and its neighbor. Proof positive that I function better with coffee than without.
The chunked sauce tomatoes were frozen for some time in the future.
Next step (so to speak), I canceled all hiking, biking, and travel plans for the weekend.
I needed to bake bread over the weekend but didn’t get to it. My mother always said, “Lillian sees what needs doing and gets it done,” first said when in the middle of winter, I pulled our eight-month-old puppy out of a septic tank. So I’m sure that as she looks down from Heaven, she is not surprised to see that with my foot elevated, I made bread while reclining in bed. They say pride comes before a fall. This time, by falling first, I had the cart before the horse. (At least my sense of humor is still intact!)
Today I say farewell to the gardening season by sharing my sweet and spicy pepper relish recipe. If you don’t have fresh ingredients from your garden, the main ingredients can often be bought at a market, store, or shared by friends. It’s perfect on burgers, hotdogs, the meatloaf recipe I shared last week, in a dip, or with cheese and crackers.
Colorful Sweet and Spicy Pepper Relish
20 assorted green, red, yellow, and orange medium-sized peppers, or an equivalent assortment of sizes
½ pound red chili peppers
1 ½ lbs white onions
¼ cup Kosher salt
4 cups Thrive Market or Trader Joe’s organic cider vinegar
4.5 cups organic granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon ground mustard powder
1 teaspoon spicy paprika
Tools: large bowl, large non-reactive pot, food grinder (preferably) or food processor, paring knife, cutting board, measuring cup and spoons, 8-pint jars, fine-mesh strainer, and a bath towel.

Wash the peppers and, using a paring knife and wearing gloves, remove stems and seeds.

You should render about 6.5 pounds prepared peppers. Using gloves is important with hot peppers! Keep your hands AWAY from your eyes! Peel and chop onions. Grind all onions and peppers into a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Add salt. Cover and allow to sit overnight to allow the salt to pull out any bitterness.
Using a strainer, drain the mixture. Add to pot with vinegar, sugar, mustard, and paprika. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for about an hour, stirring occasionally. It will thicken slightly.
Fill a canning kettle about 2/3 thirds full with water and bring to a boil. Fill pint jars with the relish. Wipe the rims, add the seals and screw the cover on “fingertip” tight. Add filled jars to a canning rack and lower them into boiling water. Bring back to a boil for 10 minutes. Remove jars carefully and place them on a bath towel. Wrap a towel around them, so they cool gently.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: