It is corn season! I have put up two large bags of sweet corn from a farm ten minutes from here. My neighbor came over on her lunch break for some coffee and I put her to work. She had never shucked corn before but as we sipped our coffee she laughed as we removed corn worms and pieces of corn silk fell on her nicely pressed clothes. Many hands make light work. The more folks learn that those activities of old that take more time actually create a sense of peace of mind and calm that cannot be duplicated on social media, the more our generations will begin picking up a sewing needle, canning, and calling friends over to make soap.
I put up ten pints of basic corn, ten pints of cinnamon sugar corn, and seven half-pints of Southwestern chow-chow. “What is that?” you ask. I have no idea, I made it up. You see, I was going to make Amish chow-chow, apparently also a southern favorite, and went to following a recipe (not my strong point). I had green peppers. Then it called for red peppers, except my peppers haven’t turned red yet, but I did have a poblano and an Anaheim green chili in the garden. So those went in instead. I don’t love a lot of onion so I cut that amount down sharply. No garlic? Now, now, we must have garlic. Three cloves. By the time I was done I had a corn relish indeed, and it smelled heavenly, but it was made from a southwestern garden and it shows!
Southwestern Relish (Chow-chow)
4 cups of corn
2 large green peppers, diced
2 poblano or green chili peppers, diced
1/8-1/4 cup of red onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp smoked salt (optional)
1 Tbsp mustard powder
1 ts celery salt
1/2 ts of turmeric
2 cups of apple cider vinegar
Put everything but the corn in a good sized pan and boil for 5 minutes. Add the corn and boil another 5 minutes. Pour into 1/2 pints or pint jars leaving 3/4 inch headspace. Clean rims, replace warm lids. Water bath boil (in any old pot with water covering jars) for 15 minutes plus 1 minute per 1000 ft above sea level (I live at 4500 ft so I just round up to an extra 5 minutes.) Makes 8 pints.
Now we have a pile of corn cobs sky high on the counter. The chickens love them but there is more to do to them before the chickies get ’em. I already made several pints of plain, good, clear corn broth for soups and cooking throughout the winter but I want something in the root cellar with a little spunk. So, I made several quarts of red chile corn broth. And it is simple enough.
Red Chile Corn Broth- Just pile up a large stew pot with corn cobs, onion, celery, a head of garlic, an onion, and a good helping of dried chili (red or green). Add a bit of salt and pepper (you’ll add more seasoning as you cook with it so you don’t need much). Fill it with water and simmer it for 2 hours. Then ladle it into clean, warm quart jars leaving 1 inch headspace. Clean the rim and replace the lid. Pressure can for 25 minutes. (10 pounds of pressure for most folks, all the weights for us high altituders.)
Mama mia! This is when I need an army of friends to help me clean up this kitchen!