Sunday, September 27, 2009

Peaches, Salsa, and Chili Sauce...Oh, My!

I've been trying to get peaches for about a month of farmer's markets, but every time I get in line, they run out of peaches before I can get any! The farmer only has apples left.

Of course, last Saturday when I went to the farmer's market for Gala apples, they were out of apples and only had peaches! Mildly disappointed that apparently Gala season is over, I bought a bag of peaches and let them ripen for a few days on the counter. Then I peeled and sliced them, added a small amount of sugar, and froze them. Hubby and I ate some of them tonight over pound cake, and they were delicious! Canned peaches (from the store) have nothing on these peaches...a little bit of heaven!

I also made another batch of salsa, ending up with 5 1/2 pints. I have enough salsa now, so I'll have to turn my tomatoes to other endeavors. Like tonight's chili sauce.

I don't know why I thought of making chili sauce, but when it crossed my mind, I knew I was going to make it, no matter how much trouble it was.

For a while--I don't know whether it was one season or more than that--Mom was into canning. I remember her making dill pickles, canned green beans, maybe some other things. Mostly, though, I remember the delicious chili sauce she canned from our garden tomatoes. We used to eat the chili sauce on hot dogs primarily, and I would always spoon it on the hot dog liberally. I don't eat hot dogs today, but I bet it would taste good with bratwurst!

Unfortunately, I don't have her recipe, so I went hunting online for a freezer recipe. I found one on a site that claimed to be from The Joy of Cooking. I own that recipe book, but never looked to see if it is indeed the same recipe. I followed the online recipe, but cut it down to a more manageable size. The original recipe called for 20 pounds of tomatoes, but since I do not yet have a food scale, that wasn't going to work. Plus, I was pretty sure I didn't have 20 pounds of tomatoes. I cut it down to 8 cups of tomatoes (that's after they are cored, skinned, and diced, mind you), and it made a reasonable amount: 4 pints.

As I was reading through the recipe, alarm bells went off. When I think of chili sauce, I think of a slightly warm, tomato-y mixture with perhaps some onions and green peppers in it. This recipe called for those ingredients and other ingredients one would expect. But then it called for a whole host of weird ingredients--at least they seemed weird to put into chili sauce: brown sugar, allspice, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I looked at a couple of other chili sauce recipes, and these ingredients showed up there, too. So I thought what the heck, I'll give it a try. The worst that could happen is the batch turns out nasty and I dump it out and have wasted some produce and 4 hours of my time.

Once the concoction started cooking, though, I was back in my childhood, savoring those chili-sauce smothered hot dogs. And when the batch was finished, it was delicious! So, I share that recipe with you here.


8 cups tomatoes (after coring, skinning, and dicing)
1 1/2 green peppers, seeded
3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 large white onions (I used sweet walla walla onions I had previously chopped and frozen)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup cider vinegar
2 1/4 tsp. coarse salt (I don't know what this means, so I used my salt grinder salt)
3/4 tsp. black pepper (ground that, too, since I was using grinder salt-lol)
3/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1. Core, peel, and dice tomatoes.
2. Dump tomatoes into a nonstick or enamel-coated pan (you don't want the tomatoes to react with metal).
3. Add the remaining ingredients.
4. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer on low, stirring occasionally to keep from burning on the bottom.
5. Continue simmering until mixture is thick, about 3 hours.
6. Place the pan in a bowl of ice water to cool the mixture quickly.
7. When cool, transfer to freezer-safe containers (I prefer freezer-safe canning jars) and freeze.

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