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Relish the end of summer harvest

As the warm summer weather transitions to cooler fall temperatures, green tomatoes are sure to abound. Chow-Chow is a great use for those green orbs. (Pamela J. Sirianni | Corvallis Gazette-Times)

As the summer harvest season winds down, this seems like the perfect time to pass along a great use for green tomatoes. We’ll all have a hearty bounty of them thanks to the cooling trend of the past few weeks.

So consider my Zesty Green Tomato and Apple chutney and classic Chow-Chow. Also, for those of you who couldn’t get enough of my Damn Good Dills, here’s a Damn Good Dill Relish to play around with. It incorporates those end-of-season large pickling cukes (you can use the small ones if you’ve got ’em, but most of us don’t). I think you’ll like it.

And finally, as my official salute to autumn, I’m passing along a recipe for pumpkin butter. Just like apple butter, there’s no butter involved, just copious amounts of sugar and a whole lot of cooking time on the burner, resulting in a richly flavored, sweet, thick and pumpkiny preserve. A wonderful offering to pass along to friends during the holiday season.

We’re not through enjoying the harvest just yet, of course. But in this more leisurely state of being there’s time to reflect on the high points of the summer bounty and appreciate your sparkling pantry and freezer, filled with all sorts of wonderful creations. So at a time when my own pantry is a delightful clutter of garden-grown treats, the next few months will be spent in a state of delectable enjoyment. And anticipation. After all, the fresh and true taste of an Oregon strawberry isn’t as distant as you may think.

Chow-Chow

Yields 6 to 8 pints

A great use of those lingering back-yard tomatoes that won’t ripen before the first frost hits town!

16 medium green tomatoes

1 medium head of cabbage

6 red sweet peppers

4 green sweet peppers

5 medium onions

2 cups sweet corn kernels

1/4 cup pickling salt

6 cups distilled white vinegar, 5 percent acidity

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

2 tablespoons mustard seeds

1 tablespoon celery seeds

1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices (tied in a cheesecloth bag)

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

11/2 teaspoons turmeric

Core and chop all of the vegetables. Combine the vegetables with the salt and let stand in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. Drain, discarding the liquid.

Wash 8 pint jars. Keep hot until needed. Prepare lids as manufacturer directs.

In a non-aluminum pot, combine the drained vegetables with the vinegar, sugar, mustard, mustard seeds, celery seeds, pickling spices, ginger and turmeric. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are softened and the relish has thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove the cheesecloth spicebag (be sure and squeeze it thoroughly to add a final dose of spice to the relish).

Ladle the hot chow chow into 1 hot jar at a time, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Wipe jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Attach lid. Fill and close the remaining jars. Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes (20 minutes at 1,001 to 6,000 feet; 25 minutes above 6,000 feet).

Source: Recipe adapted from “Pickles & Relishes,” by Andrea Chesman.

Jan’s Damn Good Relish

Yields 7 to 8 half-pints

I combined the delectable brine from my favorite refrigerator pickle, Jan’s Damn Good Garlic Dills, with my favorite end-of-season vegetables.

It’s more tangy than your traditional sweet relish, and boasts quite a garlic kick. In other words, I love it. But after all of the ingredients have simmered, and before spooning it into jars, if it’s just too darn zesty for you, feel free to create a slightly sweeter version by adding 1 more cup of brown sugar and giving the relish a few more minutes on the burner to dissolve the sugar.

Brine

1 quart cider vinegar

1/4 cup pickling spices

2 tablespoons pickling or other non-iodized salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup chopped fresh pickling dill

16 peeled and chopped garlic cloves

4 cups coarsely chopped peeled and seeded tomatoes (about 6 large)

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Vegetables

4 cups chopped unpeeled firm cucumbers (“pickling cukes” are preferred; do not use waxed cucumbers)

11/2 cups chopped cored and seeded sweet green peppers

2 cups fresh corn kernels

(4 to 5 average-sized ears)

1 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup finely minced celery

1 tablespoon yellow mustard seed

1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

Wash 8 half-pint jars. Keep hot until needed. Prepare lids as manufacturer directs.

Combine the vinegar with the pickling spices, salt, 2 tablespoons of sugar, fresh dill and chopped garlic in a non-aluminum pan. Bring the vinegar to boiling, adjust the heat and simmer it, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let the vinegar cool to room temperature (to allow the flavors to develop).

Strain the vinegar through a sieve into a larger non-aluminum pot, discarding the loose ingredients. Add the tomatoes to the vinegar brine, bring the mixture to a boil, then adjust the heat and simmer, partly covered, until it begins to resemble a puree, about 20 minutes.

Add the brown sugar, cucumbers, green peppers, corn kernels, onion, celery, mustard seed, and red pepper flakes, then return the relish to a full boil, stirring frequently, and cook it, uncovered, over medium-high to high heat, until the vegetables are thoroughly heated and the mixture has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove the relish from the heat.

Ladle the hot relish into 1 hot jar at a time, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe rim with a clean damp cloth. Attach lid. Fill and close remaining jars. Process jars in a boiling water bath 10 minutes (15 minutes at 1,000 to 6,000 feet; 20 minutes above 6,000 feet).

Zesty Green Tomato & Apple Chutney with Jalapenos

Yields about 4 pints or 8 half-pints

3 pounds completely green tomatoes (12 to 18 medium tomatoes)

2 pounds firm, tart apples (5 to 6 medium apples)

1 pound pears (2 to 3 medium pears)

2 cups raisins, either dark or golden

11/2 cups diced yellow onions

3 cups packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon pickling or other non-iodized salt

21/2 cups cider vinegar

3 to 4 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoons mustard seed

• Up to 1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (use less or more, depending on desired spiciness)

1/4 cup pickling spice (one containing chili peppers, if possible)

Wash 4 pint or 8 half-pint jars. Keep hot until needed. Prepare lids as manufacturer directs.

Rinse and drain the tomatoes; core, remove any blemishes, then cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch chunks to measure about 8 cups. Place tomatoes in a large non-aluminum pot.

Peel, core, and cut the apples and pears into 1/2-inch chunks and add to tomatoes. Add the raisins, onion, brown sugar, salt, vinegar, fresh ginger, mustard seed and jalapeno pepper. Spoon the pickling spice onto a double thickness of cheesecloth, tie into a pouch, and add to the pot.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer over medium to medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring often, until thickened to the point where the chutney holds a mounded shape when lifted in a spoon, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove spice bag, squeeze thoroughly against side of pan to remove all of the spicy juices, then adjust seasonings, adding more salt, vinegar or sugar as needed.

Ladle hot chutney into 1 hot jar at a time, leaving 1/4-inch head space.

Wipe jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Attach lid. Fill and close remaining jars. Process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (15 minutes at 1,000 to 6,000 feet; 20 minutes above 6,000 feet).

Early American Pumpkin Butter

Makes 5 pints

This recipe makes a lot of preserves and for good reason; it serves as the perfect gift during the holiday season. The traditional spicing and hint of maple sweetness will enhance old-fashioned holiday meals. For food safety reasons, do not reduce the amount of sugar or syrup unless you plan to store the results in the refrigerator.

6 cups cooked pumpkin puree (see below; or two 29-ounce cans of commercial pureed pumpkin.)

2 cups pure maple syrup (see note)

2 cups light corn syrup (see note)

2 cups packed brown sugar (see note)

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon each: ground cloves, ground mace

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the puree in a large, heavy-bottomed non-aluminum pot; stir in the maple syrup and corn syrup. When these are thoroughly combined, add the remaining ingredients. Set the pot over medium-high heat. When it begins to boil, partially cover it; the mixture will splash profusely. Cook the puree at a slow boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until it thickens and turns a darker color — about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash 5 pint jars. Keep hot until needed. Prepare lids as manufacturer directs.

Ladle the hot butter into 1 hot jar at a time, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Wipe jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Attach lid. Fill and close remaining jars. Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes (20 minutes at 1,00 to 6,000 feet; 25 minutes above 6,000 feet).

NOTE ON SYRUPS AND BROWN SUGAR: This might seem like a lot of syrup and sugar — and you may be tempted to cut back — but from a food safety stand-point, you cannot do that. Pumpkin is a low-acid food and needs this amount of sugar to make it safe to can by the boiling canner method.

TO MAKE PUMPKIN PUREE: Either bake the pumpkin or boil it. To bake pumpkins, put them in the oven whole, on a cookie sheet, at 350 degrees until softened and collapsed. (Be sure to poke holes in them first, or they will explode in the oven.) Scoop the pulp away from the peel. Puree the pulp in a blender or food processor. Or boil peeled chunks of fresh pumpkin until softened. Then puree the cooked pulp.

Source: Recipe adapted from “The Art of Accompaniment,” by Jeffree Sapp Brooks.

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Jan Roberts-Dominguez is a Corvallis food writer, artist, and author of “Oregon Hazelnut Country, the Food, the Drink, the Spirit,” and four other cookbooks. Readers can contact her by email at janrd@proaxis.com, or obtain additional recipes and food tips on her blog at www.janrd.com.

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