Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.
Man...I have been in a funk...an “I don’t want to see or talk to anyone” kind of funk...the when-you-are-really-busy-but-do-not-seem-to-get-anything-done type of funk. I have not posted anything since November, not because I do not have anything to write about rather because I have just been in a funk. Then it hit me, November...what happened in November? While there were a few minor disasters over the Holidays, they were not significant enough to cause this funk. Aaaahh, I am suffering from PESD, Post-Election Stress Disorder. It is apparently a real thing that broke up families over the holidays. While I did not have a severe case of it, I was suffering from some sort of post-election malaise…a funk, if you will. I needed to get my groove back.
I was feeling better in early April as we prepared to celebrate my birthday and my wife’s birthday when, BAM, my dad had a stroke and a dear friend that had been ill for a long time passed away. I could feel the funk coming back. My dad should make a full recovery and my dear friend, a second mom to me, always enjoyed seeing the pictures of our garden on Facebook. She was never in a funk even as she died. So it was time to put this funk behind me and get moving.
As it turns out, good food can help you out of a funk, and good food made from stuff in your garden is even better funk-busting medicine.
One early afternoon after a long morning of working in the garden, I took a break and wanted a snack. One of my favorite things to do is make a dip by mixing salsa with yogurt and dig in with some chips. In our vast collection of canned goods, I came across a pint of tomatillo salsa I had made last summer. The tomatillo was one of last year’s gardening experiments. It looks like a green tomato covered with a papery husk and is a mainstay of Mexican cooking, and the key component to the classic salsa verde (if you use green tomatoes, you are just a poser). While readily available in the Mexican markets in town, I wanted to try growing it in our garden. I ended up with about three pounds of golf ball sized, beautiful green, tart fruit from a containerized plant that later succumbed to the mid-summer heat as it sat on the back porch.
I used a recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving as a template for this Funk-Busting Salsa Verde.
Funk-Busting Salsa Verde
Since everything will go into a food processor, the ingredients only need to be roughly chopped. And if you don’t have Shishito peppers (which are a mild pepper that I heard about and started growing last year), use any milder pepper, or just add one more jalapeno.
• 4 cups tomatillos, husk removed and the sticky film washed off, roughly chopped
• ½ large red onion, roughly chopped
• 2 red jalapeno peppers, roughly chopped
• 4 Shishito peppers, roughly chopped
• 5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
• 4 tbsp fresh lime juice
• ½ cup white vinegar
• 5 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
1. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blitz until it is the texture you want.
2. Transfer to a pot and bring to a boil on medium-high heat.
3. Once boiling reduce heat and gently boil for 10 minutes.
4. Appropriately fill sanitized jars and seal with sanitized lids and rings.
5. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes or get a bag of chips and chow down.
Yield: 2 pints.
After canning and sitting for 8 months, the flavors had melded perfectly resulting in a tangy, spicy sweet salsa with a hint of smokiness from an unknown source. So, I think that letting this sit for at least a few hours will only improve the flavor. Once mixed with the yogurt, it was a Texas mid-day snack worthy of a blog post and suitable for any time of the day or for a party.
This treat, put up last summer, and eaten with homemade corn tortilla chips helped me with my funk. It got me excited to get back out in the garden, try growing some new things, try some new techniques and enjoy the fruits and vegetables of our labor. So if you find yourself feeling blue or in a bit of a funk, scrounge up a few tomatillos, or cheat with a few green tomatoes, and whip up a batch of Funk Busting Salsa Verde. Vive la France!
Resource: Kingry, Judi, and Lauren Devine. The Ball Complete Book Of Home Preserving. Toronto: Robert Rose, Inc, 2006.
Photos by Jennifer Hudson
Ed Hudson is a biochemist for NASA in Houston. His free time is filled with gardening and an ongoing list of Food Preservation Projects with his lovely wife, Jennifer. You can read more MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts from Ed here and contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is always looking for comments, new ideas and suggestions.
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