We are a drop site for the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program that we belong to. It’s wonderful, because all summer and autumn long we get a box of produce, just picked that day, delivered to our doorstep. Have you had corn that was just picked? What about melon? I’m pretty sure the cantaloupe that we got last week was the best melon I’ve ever eaten.
Another perk, which doesn’t happen very often, is that if someone else doesn’t pick up their box, we get to keep it!
That happened last week. Double the tomatoes, double the carrots…and double the jalapenos.
I always get enough produce each summer/fall to put some up for winter. I do small batches — freezing, dehydrating or canning a few jars or bags at a time.
I was not sure, however, what I was going to do with the large number of jalapenos that were on my counter.
I’ve sliced and pickled them in the past. But we just don’t use them that way very much. I also have finely chopped the peppers, flash frozen them, and stored them in a freezer safe dish to use year round. I wanted to try something new, though.
What Did I Do With My Jalapenos?
Spicy Strawberry Jam
I love the easy appetizer I’ve had in which you pour a jar of spicy fruit preserves over a block of cream cheese and use it as a cracker spread. Spicy, sweet, creamy, crunchy.
It has been a lot of years, though, since I’ve made jam. This is the recipe I found and followed. I used the ingredients list as a guide, as I only had about 6 cups of strawberries in my fridge. But since it’s essentially however many berries you have, with half as much sugar, and some lemon juice…it was easy to improvise.
I added between 1 1/2 and 2 finely chopped jalapenos to the jam while it was cooking. (Update Note: I opened one of the jars to taste, and while totally yummy, here are a couple of things I would do differently next time: First, it was really thick, like solid… I think I cooked it too long. Second, it wasn’t as spicy as I’d like. The peppers must mellow out, so next time I’ll add more. I’ll give this recipe one more try and address any changes I need to make or tell you if we just need to find a new recipe in my upcoming jam post. Watch for it!)
This is the laziest salsa ever. And although it’s delicious, you can learn from my mistakes.
I don’t measure. I throw ingredients into a blender and whiz it until there are no chunks. Tomatoes, onion, garlic, green peppers and cilantro (if I’ve got them), a jalapeno or 2 (you know I had them!), a squeeze of lime juice, and a pinch of salt.
Just be sure to half your tomatoes and squeeze out the pulpy juice and seeds inside, or your salsa will be really watery. It’ll still be loose, though. This is not a thick and chunky salsa. It’s draw is its freshness.
I make this frequently in the summer. It’s a fresh and tasty raw salsa. I’ve even frozen it before, with great success.
Because I had my hot water bath canner out (for the jam). I decided that it would be a good idea to make and process 5 jars of this salsa, putting them in to process before reading online about exactly how to do it.
I’ll just hop online after I put the jars in and check how long they’ll need to process. Easy Peasy.
Uh, not so much.
All of my reading told me that processing raw salsa was not safe, and I just wasn’t willing to take the chance with 5 jars of it. So I stuck 2 in the fridge and the other 3 in the freezer. So much for saving freezer space. Sigh.
We cracked open one of the jars tonight at dinner along with this next recipe.
Cheesy Stuffed Jalapenos
Have you had jalapeno poppers? These are sorta kinda like those, except fresher, smokier, and maybe even better. They are SO easy, too! I am sure this would work in a very hot oven, as well, if you don’t have a grill available. You can check out the recipe below, but here’s the basic process.
Cut off the stem end of each jalapeno and slice it lengthwise into halves. Remove seeds and ribs (I used my fingers and just washed my hands well, they say you should use gloves). Lay the halves into a pan (I use a cheap foil pan from the Dollar Store).
Mix together a softened block of cream cheese, some shredded cheese, pinch of salt and garlic. Spoon a scoop into each jalapeno half. Top with chopped, cooked bacon if you have it. (Equally yummy without the bacon, I just happened to have some cooked from a “Breakfast for Dinner” night last week).
Grill until cheese is melty and jalapenos are slightly charred.
The grilling takes some of the edge off of the peppers, but I got a few bites with a bit of a kick. They come out hot and smoky, gooey and melty.
We had them as a side with our grilled chicken fajitas. They really hit the spot!
You can get the recipe below.
What would you make with a slew of jalapenos?