I never knew you could grow cilantro in Utah! Cilantro is ubiquitous in hot weather cuisines, yet (as I just found out) it does not like to grow above 75 degrees F. Yesterday it was 70 degrees F and sunny, perfect for cilantro that loves to grow in the spring. The cilantro is not going to be happy now. It’s nearly whiteout conditions and snowing. I love living in the mountains. I love the unexpected. Most important discoveries occur when the unexpected happens. These accidental discoveries happen all the time. It doesn’t take a brilliant scientist to make life changing discoveries, but a curious person that keeps an open mind and lets life surprise them once in a while.
I was motivated by today’s #foodfeed and made roasted tomatillo salsa (AKA salsa verde). I had a ton of cilantro in my refrigerator that needed to be used. It’ll be great to have lots of fresh salsa for the summer. Back in November when we were learning about canning, one of the first things we tried was tomatillo salsa. We were inundated with fresh cilantro from our La Nay Ferme CSA. Most of the time I have no idea what to do with it. You can only make so much Indian and Mexican food and even then we never get rid of all the cilantro. Most herbs I just freeze and use as I need later: sage, thyme, oregano, dill, rosemary, etc. Other herbs like basil and cilantro don’t freeze very well. In the end, we made tomatillo salsa, which used up all of our cilantro. Now going to a regular grocery store, you probably won’t find a huge choice of tomatillos. Walk into a Mexican market and you’ll be able to buy all the tomatillos you want at a great price. The first time we went to get our stash of tomatillos, there were other people at the market engaging in the same shenanigans. We got some awesome and helpful tips from people who’ve clearly been making tomatillo salsa for years and probably from recipes passed down from their great-great-grandmothers.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)
- 6 pounds tomatillos
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 – 4 jalapeños, seeded and roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup lime juice, fresh or bottled, or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
- 2 bunches cilantro, stems removed and chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degree F.
- Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse to remove their natural sticky residue. They do not need to be peeled or seeded.
- Cut the tomatillos in half and place them face-down on a rimmed roasting pan. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until they release their liquid and the tops are developing light brown spots.
- While the tomatillos are roasting, prepare water bath canner, jars, and lids. Don’t forgot to add ½ cup vinegar to canner water to keep your bottles looking nice.
- Add the roasted tomatillos and their juice into a blender, along with the onions, garlic, jalapeños, lime juice, sugar, salt, and cilantro.
- Blend at a moderate speed until the tomatillos are broken down and the other ingredients are just integrated. You should still be able to see small specks of green cilantro.
- Pour the salsa into a large pot and simmer for 10 – 20 minutes, untill it has thickened a little and is well seasoned.
- Bring the salsa up to a boil and then ladle it into clean, hot half pint (or pint) jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed.
- Wipe rims and place hot lid on jar, screwing band down until fingertip-tight.
- Place jars in canner and return to a boil. Process for 15 minutes (0 – 1,000 feet elevation), 20 minutes (1,001 – 6,000 feet elevation), or 25 minutes (above 6,000 feet elevation).
- Turn off heat, remove canner lid and let jars sit in the hot water for another 5 minutes.
- Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let stand for 24 hours.
- Check lids and refrigerate any jars that are not sealed.