Every year at Thanksgiving, as we gathered around the table-our family and my cousin’s family together, we would ask each other to share what we were grateful for that year. Kids being kids meant that some of the answers were comical, but in the end, we were grateful for each other and the time together. This year, Darry and I found ourselves on our own, one of the downfalls of relocating. We didn’t let that stop us from having a lovely dinner and yes, it included the traditional trashcan turkey. We also had the pleasure of cooking some vegetables that we grew ourselves.
The weather was unseasonably warm this year and we spent much of the day working in the garden. We pulled out the frost damaged plants, mulched leaves with the lawn mower and layered the beds with straw, coffee grinds, compost and the leaves we had gathered. When we sat down to dinner, we were grateful to have sweet potatoes and greens from our garden on the table. It was also pleasing to know that cabbage, cauliflower, kale and broccoli as well as brussel sprouts and collards are growing in the beds and will be on our dinner table soon as well.
One of the plants we pulled out of the bales and cut up for composting was a cluster of tomatillos; one purple and two yellow. Tomatillos are one of those things that you either love or wonder why anyone would want the stupid things. They are sticky when you peel the husks off and unless you are making salsa or green sauce, they aren’t very appealing. Even so, each year as I plant my garden, I almost always sow a few tomatillo seeds.
A member of the nightshade family, tomatillos are related to tomatoes but at the same time, they are so different that you will wonder if they really are relatives. While tomatoes do not need a companion plant to pollinate them, tomatillos do so if you plant them in your garden, be sure to plant more than one. Tomatillo vines will sprawl so be sure to give them a sturdy structure to lean on. They will also produce over a long season and right up to the first heavy frost which means you can have them throughout the summer and into early fall.
As we gathered all of the fruits, we realized we had enough to make a batch of something and I chose turn them into a sweet jam rather than the typical salsa. My triple batch of jam cooked up quickly and is now sealed in jars ready to be shared with friends and family, a token of our gratitude.
Makes 1 pint and the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled
1 pound tomatillos, washed with the husks removed
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes or 1 small fresh chili, finely diced
juice and zest of one lemon
1 1/4 cup sugar
Cut the tomatillos into quarters and place them in a heavy bottomed sauce pot with the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to prevent sticking. Allow the jam to simmer until the tomatillos soften. Using a hand held masher, press the tomatillos to break them up. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches 210 degrees. Pour the jam into sterilized jars and seal in a water bath or place it into a storage container and keep in the refrigerator.
This post is one of a series that Melissa of Corbin in the Dell and I are publishing simultaneously. To read her post, visit her blog.