The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 08.20.05


I know what you did last summer…

You planted garlic didn't you? Now, just when it would be time to reap your bounty you may have come up empty handed.

Chances are you noticed that it has been a terrible year for growing the stinking rose and we can thank Mother Nature for providing up-down and all around poor garlic growing conditions. Ideally, if you planted some late last autumn you would have a bumper crop by now.

Volumes of early spring freezing rain and flooded garden beds destroyed those hopes long ago and unless you had raised beds you'll have to focus on reaping a harvest of produce that has thrived in the heat that we have enjoyed the rest of the season.

It has been an excellent year for growing peppers of all kinds. Baskets of them come in and sit idly on the counter waiting on your next move. You've eaten the hot ones to teary -eyed abandon and frozen so many you now wonder what to do with the daily new arrivals. Now is the time to put some up as a pickle or salsa for later use. of course. A salsa makes good use of tomatoes that are coming in rapidly. If you are a chip- dipper you will save lots of party money.

I should mention that homemade pickles and salsas make perfect little gifts for the upcoming gift-giving season. E-mail any column ideas and tips to

Pickled Jalapenos

20 fresh jalapeno peppers
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
2 or 3 sprigs fresh basil or oregano (opal basil is prettiest)
1 3/4 to 3 cups distilled vinegar

Wash peppers and cut off stems leaving the cap at the top intact. Pierce each pepper with a paring knife to allow vinegar to enter the flesh. Place garlic and bay leaf in a hot sterilized quart-canning jar, then pack peppers tip down into jar as tightly and uniformly as possible. Add basil or oregano sprigs when jar is half full. Bring vinegar just to a boil and pour over. Let sit 2 minutes then tap jar to release air bubbles and top off jar with vinegar to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe rim, seal, and immerse jar 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. Let rest for a few days to blend flavors before opening jars and serving. Refrigerate after opening. Makes 1 quart.

Salsa for Canning

1 lb onions, chopped
2lbs fresh hot peppers (Jalapeno, Serrano, Thai or what have you)-chopped
5 lbs tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (canned allowed but drained)
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 cup lemon juice or vinegar

Bring salsa to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Pack in hot, sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. Process in a boiling hot water bath for 10 minutes. Make sure all jars are sealed. Makes 6 pts