Green Tomato Salsa And Chili Pepper Wisdom

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I love spicy food of many kinds and enjoy experimenting with new salsas. Here are some lovely ones that help use up extra green tomatoes in a hurry (and leave people asking for more!).

Roasted Green Tomato Salsa

2 pounds green tomatoes, halved (6-7)
1 red bell pepper, cut in 8 pieces
*1-2 jalapeno peppers, whole
1 head garlic, cloves divided but not peeled
1 white or yellow onion, quartered but unpeeled
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1 organic lime, juiced, rind grated
1/4 cup cilantro, stemmed
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Rub tomatoes, bell pepper, *jalapenos, garlic cloves, and onion pieces with olive oil and place in single layers, cut sides down, in two rimmed baking sheets, partnering tomatoes with bell pepper and jalapenos and garlic with onion. Bake at 300 degrees F. until soft and lightly caramelized. Jalapenos will be done in 20-25 minutes, tomatoes and bell peppers in 35-40 minutes, and onions and garlic in 60-75 minutes. When cool, peel and coarsely chop tomatoes, bell pepper, onion and garlic. *Using gloves, trim and seed jalapenos, then mince. In a food processor, process garlic and onion for 5-10 seconds, then add bell pepper and tomatoes and chop to desired consistency. Season to taste with jalapenos, lime rind and juice, and salt and serve, garnished with cilantro. Refrigerate leftovers for up to a week.

Fresh Green Tomato Salsa

4 cups green tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 red or sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 *jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
kernels trimmed from 1 ear sweet corn
2 tablespoons fruity virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice or plain rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup cilantro, stemmed

Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl and let stand for 30 minutes before serving. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

Chili Pepper Wisdom Is Hard-Earned

*About Those Pepper Seeds

Few people realize that hot pepper heat comes not from the seeds but from the white membrane that holds seeds in place. However, all parts of hot peppers should be handled with respect. I recently had a sizzling experience with a red hot pepper. For many years, I have harvested, canned, sliced, diced, and seeded chili peppers without a problem. One fine day I used fresh chilies in a stir fry and a salad dressing, then made a bean dish with another chili from the same batch which tasted hotter than usual. As we ate, I noticed that my hand felt like it was burning. I assumed I had touched a hot dish without paying attention. As the evening wore on, my hand felt worse. I tried every burn remedy in the house without relief. Finally I noticed that my hand was not tender, as it would have been with a real burn. Yes, my friends, I had handled that chili pepper without gloves. Shame on me.

Ice water helped, but not much. In desperation, I went online and learned that many people do this same dumb thing. Some folks were in pain for 8-12 hours or more. Many offered pain-stopping suggestions, but most sounded silly or even unsafe. However, one gal had called poison control and learned that the intense pain of chili “burn” is an allergic reaction. Sure enough, the over-the-counter allergy remedy I often use took the burning feeling away quickly and it did not return. Just the same, I bought waterproof non-latex gloves for kitchen use. I don’t want to repeat that experience and hope you never have to!

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2 Responses to Green Tomato Salsa And Chili Pepper Wisdom

  1. Marla says:

    Great recipes for using green tomatoes! I have never used them in salsa but will after seeing these recipes. Also, thanks for the info on hot pepper heat!

    • Ann Lovejoy says:

      Thanks! I love roasting peppers but I really disliked the “burning” feeling in my hand, so I’m happy to help others enjoy the first without the second!


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