Monday, October 18, 2010

Tigress Can Jam - A compilation of capsicum condiments

This is the last heat dream of summer... There's a whole box of 4oz. jars that will be just right for several small batches with the CanJam ingredient of the month: Thai-style sweet chili sauce, salsa verde, "hot pink" jalapeño jelly, and Awesome Sauce, (which gets it's very own post, two days in the future).
just to get in the mood...

After reading this, about how tomatillos are actually safely acidic for water bath canning, a small batch of salsa verde sounded like just the thing to add a little savor through the cold winter. I adapted the recipe from here, adding a bit of lime juice and a clove of garlic, and only one jalapeño, to suit my own taste.

1# tomatillos
¼ c chopped onion
1 large green jalapeño
¼ c chopped cilantro
1 small clove garlic
1 t salt
2 T lime juice
Remove husks, wash, and simmer tomatillos
till softened and color changes.

Blend them with all the other ingredients,
bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

five 4oz. jars -
½" headspace - process 25 minutes

There is a great sweet chili sauce sold at my local grocery, but it comes in a huge bottle, and the fridge here is, as previously mentioned, only a bit bigger than a shoebox. It seems, though, that it is an absolute doddle to make up, using ingredients easily sourced and requiring virtually no prep work... I used this recipe, scaled down to make a smaller batch.
2 T minced garlic
¾ t salt
2 T red pepper flakes

1½ c cider vinegar
1½ c sugar

Set aside garlic, pepper flakes and salt.

In a non-reactive pan, bring the vinegar to a boil,
add the sugar. When dissolved, simmer 5 minutes.

Remove from heat,
stir in the garlic/pepper/salt mixture

five 4oz. jars - ½" headspace - process 15 minutes

Several friends had mentioned jalapeno jelly, and when this recipe turned up, I couldn't resist. Using apples and cranberries for pectin and color seemed ideal. Again, scaled down for a smaller batch, and using just a little less sugar.
1# tart apples
2 red jalapeños
¼ c cranberries
¾ c water
¾ c vinegar

¾c sugar
per c of juice
Wash apples, remove stems,
cut into rough chunks (including peel and core).
Slice jalapeños in half lengthwise,
remove seeds and ribs,
(or not, if you like really hot jelly)

Put everything except the sugar in a pan,
bring to a boil, simmer till softened.

Strain through cloth to get clear red juice.
(I usually let it sit overnight)
Add the appropriate amount of sugar.
Heat gently, then bring to a boil,
boil until setting point is reached

three 4oz. jars - ¼" headspace - process 10 minutes
I'm still having a bit of trouble gauging when the set point is reached - sometimes the result is syrup instead of jelly, and this time the set was very strong; almost as soon as the pan was off the heat, it set. Getting the jelly into the jars was a bit dicey, but in the end doable. It is an incredible shade of hot pink, almost cerise. The jelly is sweet, with a nice pepper aftertaste; if making it again, more of the seeds and ribs would definitely increase the heat, as my initial trial was aiming for gentle rather than painful warmth. This would make interesting thumbprint cookies, maybe white chocolate with the hot pink jelly.

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