Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer in a Jar: Can Your Own Salsa!

Monday I worked on a huge batch of salsa...and whooooeee!!
What a HOT batch that one was!!
(I have another big batch to do tomorrow.)

21 quarts and 2 pints were my reward for a whole afternoon's work,
and my husband's fine gardening skills
and of course, God sending along all the right weather to harvest it all.

My salsa's been too mild in the last few years, so I warmed it up a bit and threw a WHOLE LOTTA PEPPERS into this batch!

So...are you ready to put on your apron,
start chopping your veggies and washing and sterilizing your jars, lids and rings?
The jars can be put through the sterilizing cycle on your dishwasher, and kept hot on the drying cycle. Lids and rings should be boiled on the stove, after they've been washed.

Making salsa is not for the feint of heart,
it's for someone willing to work hard,
grow their tomato and pepper and onion crop,
it's rewarding for someone who craves it in winter...
enough to make a huge mess to get it into the jars,
and then...
loves to see it lining the shelves of the pantry.

(Not to mention the health benefits of tomatoes in your diet!)

I used all roma tomatoes for this batch, and it was heavenly to not have to worry about the water content in the salsa kettle.

So...here's my trick for scalding and peeling roma tomatoes:

Wash tomatoes in lukewarm, soapy water.
Rinse well.
Just barely slice the top off the roma.
Drop a batch of topped romas into the large kettle of boiling water for a moment,
Remove from water,
Place hot tomatoes into a colander
(that sits atop a bowl to catch the water from the ice that you top to cool scalded tomatoes).

The roma tomato will then magically pop right out of the skin if you turn it upside down and squeeze.

Here's my recipe.

This recipe is zippy--if you want less zip remove seeds from peppers, remove ribs also.
Medium hot you would leave half the ribs and half the ribs.
Mild flavor you leave very few seeds and ribs.

When working with hot peppers, wear gloves and watch what you touch with the oils from the pepper on your gloves. When all the peppers have been chopped, wash the surfaces you've touched with the peppers and then your hands with hot soapy water. You don't want to burn your eyes, nose, lips or your kids with the hot pepper oils!

You can make this salsa without hot peppers, the dried red pepper.

You can multiply this recipe into a large single batch, my last batch was
54 cups of tomatoes to start before I added all the onions and peppers.

10 c. chopped tomatoes
8 jalapenos
3 c. chopped onions
1 c. chopped green peppers
(*I added banana peppers, too.)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1-1/3 c. red wine vinegar
1 small can tomato paste*
(*or more to your desired consistency)
1 t. cumin
1 T. red pepper flakes*
(*optional; I only use if I don't have hot peppers.)
3 T. pickling salt
3 T. brown sugar

Simmer all ingredients for one hour or more on med-low until thickened to your liking,
stirring often to prevent scalding, if you scald a batch it ruins your hard work.

(I've been known to spray the bottom of the big kettle I cook salsa in with PAM to insure that I don't scald.)

*Stir in 1/3 c. cornstarch diluted in cold water and simmer.
Ladle into hot jars and seal (without processing in canner).
I set mine on a cookie sheet which sits on top of a folded beach towel.
Then I top the batch of jars with folded quilts to hold in the heat.
It's rare that a jar won't seal this way.
I uncover the next day and label the jars and put away.
(*I don't like cornstarch in my salsa....so I NEVER add it.
I thicken with tomato paste until satisfied with the consistency.)

To make salsa-making go quickly,
peppers and onions can be diced or chopped ahead of time
and frozen to throw into the pot.
Since they're cooked anyway,
there's no reason they must be fresh off the vine for salsa.

This will serve our family all winter, as well as become Christmas gifts for friends and relatives, a favorite of the recipients year after year!

You CAN Do It!!


Linda ★ Parker's Paradise said...

Beautiful batch---summer in a jar!

Patty's Stitches said...

Yummo! I have tomatoes, peppers, onions, and was looking for an easy salsa recipe! This looks perfect. It has been years since I have made any salsa and I look forward to trying your recipe. Thanks so much for sharing. I always love the things you share with blogland! ;-)

Cher' Shots said...

this sounds so good, I will have to give it a try ~ love that you don't have to go through the 'canning' process

Mel said...

That looks great, isn't it wonderful to have the ability to harvest and put your own food up for the long months of winter...

I will have to try this recipe, is it possible for you to email it to me, I tried to copy it but did not succeed.

Busy As Can Be said...

I love canning tomatoes! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

I'm sure this will be better than the stuff from the store! Thanks for the recipe.

Mel said...

Thank you, for sending this recipe to me.

I can hardly wait for my tomaters to ripen.....