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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Open A Jar Of Summer Sunshine — In The Dead Of Winter

Amina Shabani (left) and Stephanie Solomon (right) enjoy catching up with each other while chopping tomatoes at the processing station (Kayte Young/WFIU).

I have the wonderful opportunity to work with the jalapenos, which is why I’m wearing these blue surgical gloves, so that I don’t end up with hot jalapeno on my face all day. — Jean Haley

You might remember this story from last fall, about a collective salsa making adventure. A group of women get together every year around this time and crank out batch after batch of salsa from local summer produce. They put it all up in jars, to enjoy throughout the winter.
It sounds like a lot of work, but they manage to make it fun.

In traditional farming communities, several households might get together to put up the season’s green beans, or get the peaches canned in quart jars with a light syrup, or maybe make enough blackberry jam to last three families through the winter. The phrase “many hands make light work” really comes into play when you’re talking about food preservation. Collective cooking has the added benefit of building community.  Here’s a story of those food traditions revived, and a group of friends making good use of another brilliant farmsteading practice–the outdoor kitchen, or summer kitchen.

Just a small portion of the finished jars of salsa, fresh from the canner. The lids seal (and pop) once they are removed from the boiling water, and begin to cool (Kayte Young/WFIU)

Marcia Veldman has the perfect set up at her farm, Meadowlark, in Brown County, Indiana. Many of the vegetables for the salsa are grown on her farm, with the help of some of the very same women preparing the salsa. Her back patio is converted into a spacious and shady summer kitchen, ideal for all those simmering sauce pots and large, enamel canners full of boiling of water.

Whether you are new to canning or a seasoned veteran, be sure to consult a trusted canning recipe before preparing and putting up your own batch of salsa. Tomatoes are acidic enough to can using a boiling water bath method, but once you add the peppers, onions and garlic you need to either pressure can your salsa, or acidify it with vinegar or lemon juice. Don’t guess at how much you need to add, consult a trusted canning recipe to make sure your ratio is correct, and your delicious salsa is safe to eat when you pop it open in the dead of winter.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation, from the University of Georgia, provides research-based recipes and methods for all your food preservation projects. You will always can a safe product if you follow their instructions.

And if you’re wanting to make salsa with the bounty from your own garden, but aren’t up for a canning adventure, check out Chef Daniel Orr’s Salsa Verde recipe, or Barbara Brosher’s tomato-based Roasted Garden Salsa.


Also on the show this week Alex chambers has some fresh news stories for us, and we have a new autumnal salad recipe from Chef Daniel Orr, featuring freekeh, apples and homegrown tomatoes

Music on this episode:

Not Drunk by The Joy Drops from the Free Music Archive

The Fireside by Yo La Tengo

The Gardens of Sampson & Beasley by Pink Martini

Hang on Little Tomato by Pink Martini

Periodically Double or Triple by Yo La Tengo

The Work of Our Hands by Carrie Newcomer

The Earth Eats’ theme music is composed by Erin Tobey and performed by Erin and Matt Tobey.

Stories On This Episode

Chef D’s Freekeh Salad With Apples and Cheddar

This salad can serve as a complete meal. Enjoy it with aged cheddar, or make it vegan by substituting an almond cheddar.

Study Finds New Pesticides As Harmful To Bees As Neonicotinoids

A study found that sulfoximine-based insecticides - an alternative to neonicotinoid-based pesticides - have similar impacts on bee colony growth and reproduction.

Immigrants Turn Down Food Aid Amid Trump Crackdown

States have seen a sharp drop in the number of immigrants accepting federal nutrition help for their children due to fears about White House immigration policies.

Kayte Young

Kayte Young discovered her passion for growing, cooking, foraging and preserving fresh food when she moved to Bloomington in 2007. With a background in construction, architecture, nutrition education and writing, she brings curiosity and a love of storytelling to a show about all things edible. Kayte raises bees, a small family and a yard full of food in Bloomington’s McDoel Gardens neighborhood.

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