Summer is quickly fading and the cool September air is rolling in. As you start to pull out the final remnants of your summer veggie garden, I want to share a quick recipe that can help you preserve the last flavors of summer.
I don’t know what your garden looks like this time of year, but mine has spindles of cherry tomatoes dying back now that they’ve produced for a solid 4 months. Then, on the other side, the heirloom oxheart tomatoes we planted are swelling, yet still green because they don’t get quite enough sun to ripen (we’re all about pushing the margins in our garden).
Meanwhile, the okra is still bumping and the roselle is starting to set its pods. The basil is long gone (what didn’t get used for pesto bolted and went to seed back in early August), and we have a few peppers that the squirrels were kind enough to leave behind.
But, as we prepare for a fall garden, what do we do with the remainder of veggies in the garden that are either not going to ripen or are quickly fading?
In my house, we make an everything-but-the-fridge hot sauce. Let me show you how:
STEP 1: Gather the goods
I usually go through the garden and pick all of the remaining veggies that I want to clear out for our fall garden. This includes green tomatoes, unripe peppers, okra, carrots, green onions, cherry tomatoes, and radish, but feel free to experiment!
STEP 2: Forage in the fridge
I’ll often also go through the fridge and find anything else that needs to be eaten. That starting-to-shrivel ginger? Throw it in! The last yellow crookneck squash that isn’t a meal on its own. Yep. Onions, garlic (loads of garlic), you name it. And of course, the remaining jalapenos and shishitos from our CSA that we can’t seem to eat fast enough.
STEP 3: Chop it up
Next, chop all your findings into small bits and fill up an appropriately-sized mason jar. Don’t fill the jar too full. You want to leave room for the last step.
STEP 4: Cover with vinegar and let sit
Finally, cover your concoction with white vinegar until all your goodies are submerged, leaving a little headroom at the top. Cover the top of the jar with a cheesecloth or cloth napkin, and secure around the rim with a rubber band. I usually let ours sit out on the counter for a day or two, so a slight fermentation begins, and the flavors start to blend. After a few days, I cover with a lid and store in the fridge.
STEP 5: Enjoy!
To use this flavorful hot sauce, pour off some of the liquid onto our dish, as you would use any hot sauce. Added bonus, though: you can add some of the pickled spicy veggies to your meal for a flavor boost!