Use your garden to create zesty, after-school treats

Tuesday, August 13, 2019 | 2:32 PM


August is such a bittersweet time of the year; the mind is still set on the lazy, hazy days of summer, and the heart is preparing for school.

Harvest time is approaching, and after-school treats need to be prepared. One way to feel the accomplishment of harvest time would be to prepare hot pepper mustard. Using hot peppers from the garden or farmers market will make a relish that can be used as an appetizer or included in main dishes. Then, for a quick after-school snack, prepare colorful nachos for that student who has had an early lunch and comes home famished.

Hot Pepper Mustard

40 hot peppers

1 quart yellow mustard

1 quart white vinegar

6 cups sugar

1 teaspoons salt

1 ¼ cup flour

Get some canning jars. Remove the lids and set aside. Place rings and jars in hot soapy water, wash and let air dry.

Clean and chop peppers. Make sure to protect your hands, because peppers can cause burns and eye irritation. Cut stems off peppers and run them through a food processor or chopper (include seeds). Set in bowl and set aside.

In a large pot, mix mustard, vinegar, sugar and salt. Warm on medium heat. Add flour a little at a time while stirring until it is all gone. Add peppers and heat this mixture until it thickens (like gravy).

Fill jars with mustard. In a small pot, place enough water to boil the lids. Place lids in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove lid and place onto the filled jar and then secure it with a ring. After the jar is secure, place them inside a canner or pressure cooker. There should be a few inches of water at the bottom of your canner before the jars are placed inside. Place jars inside the canner. Secure lid and turn heat on medium to high. Once canner is sealed and starts to whistle, let it go for 15 minutes more, then shut off canner, and do not touch anything until the steam pressure has been released.

Once the canner is ready, take off the lid, remove the jars and placed them on a towel on the counter. At this time, as the jars cool, they will seal and sometimes make a little popping sound. After they have cooled completely, if your jar is sealed properly, you will not be able to push down in the middle of the lid. If you are able to make a popping sound in the middle of the lid, it did not seal properly and you will have to place this jar in the fridge until you use it. The number of jars depends on the size of the jar.

Colorful Nachos

30 round tortilla chips

¼ cup canned chopped green chilies, drained

¼ cups Colby-Monterey jack cheese

1/3 cup salsa or your homemade hot pepper mustard

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place tortilla chips on cookie sheet. Sprinkle green chilies over chips. Sprinkle with cheese .

Bake about 4 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Spoon salsa or hot pepper mustard over cheese. Makes 5 servings