Homemade Salsa

One thing for certain.  I could get used to having a three-day weekend.  The weather has been amazing and our schedule reminiscent of summer.  Ahhh.

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This poor cat has had lots of JT time.

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God love this cat.  He is beyond tolerant.  She squeezes him and hugs him and pets him and calls him everything BUT George.  Yesterday I made her a snack and walked away.  Ten seconds later, I when I came back, the cat, who is NOT even supposed to be in the house was on the bar sharing her turkey roll up.  So, I guess he figures they are friends with benefits.

Onto the feature presentation!  Homemade salsa is delicious and having a well-stocked salsa supply in the pantry is awesome.  Whether I’m adding it to a big platter of nachos with Western North Carolina Pulled Pork  (linked!), Mrs. Morris’ Homemade Chili Sauce (linked!  And I made it YESTERDAY!!!), or just with chips, for dipping!

My friend, Megan, picked these beautiful tomatoes with a flashlight one steamy evening last week.  Thanks, Megan!  Tomatoes all come on at once and it’s so annoying that they ripen about two weeks after school starts and it is so hard to commit to getting them canned in our limited time after school.  Megan’s family always puts the tomatoes in a 5 gallon bucket, which is about half a bushel.

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You will need about 16 clean pint jars for this amount of salsa.

First, fill a really big pot about half full of water and turn the heat on high for blanching the tomatoes.  Rinse and bleach your sinks, then fill one of the sinks with cold water to soak.  Fresh tomatoes are really dirty, so pick up each one and rub off any mud or debris with your hands under cold running water.  Fill up the other sink with clean water for a cold water bath.

Leave the tomatoes soak while while you dice about 6 large onions and 7 – 8 green peppers.  Add jalapeños (not too many!) too, for extra spice, if you like.  BTW, do you know the best way to chop an onion?  Slice off one edge for a flat surface, then cut the onion horizontally and vertically across the top.  Use the flat edge on the cutting board and slice off the cuts, until you reach the end.  Lay the end down and slice it by itself.  Quick but very teary.  waaaaaaa.

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Once the water is boiling, drop about a dozen tomatoes at a time for a hot bath.  Leave them in for about 3 minutes (or until the skins split) then carefully scoop them out into a bowl or baking sheet.  Stop for a photo op, then plunge them into the cold water.  The skins should peel off easily now.

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Place a big container beside the sink for all of the skins and seeds.  They will not be going into the salsa.  The skins should slip off easily, then cut the bottom off of the tomato.  Give the tomato a gentle squeeze and then stick your finger into each cavity to scrape out most of the seeds.  Chop each tomato into about 5 – 6 chunks and put the white core and stem into the garbage bowl.  If you compost or have chickens, these scraps are perfect.

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The good tomato parts go into a very large pot.  At this point fill your canner about half full of water and turn it on high for the hot water bath.  Jars should already be clean.  Put the seals in a small pot of water on low heat, to soften the rubber.

Dump the onions and peppers into the pot with the tomatoes and add one cup of distilled white vinegar, the juice from one lime and one bag of Mrs. Wage’s medium salsa mix.

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Now cook the salsa on medium or low for about 3o minutes.  Taste, then add 1/2 cup of sugar (to taste – to take out some of the “bite”), about a Tablespoon of salt, a couple teaspoons of pepper, one Tablespoon of chili powder, one Tablespoon of cumin and let the salsa cook about 30 more minutes.  Just before canning, add about a handful of chopped cilantro.

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I use an immersion blender on mine for just a bit, so it is easier to scoop.  This step is unnecessary if your family likes chunky salsa.

Now, scald the clean jars in the hot water bath and place them on a clean, dry dish towel.  Move the pot of salsa close to the jars and fill using a ladle and canning funnel.  Place the jars into a canning rack and lower, carefully, into the hot water bath.  Leave about 1/4 inch or so of headspace.  Process with the lid on for 20 minutes.  Start timing when the water returns to a boil.

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This recipe makes about 16 pints of salsa, so place the salsa back on the burner on low while the first batch processes.  Carefully remove the jars from the canner and repeat the same process as above for the second batch.

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The jars are sealed when the seals are not flexible.  Do not retighten the bands – they can be removed completely and reused if the jars won’t be moved or jostled while in storage.

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A little spice for those long winter nights.

 

Homemade Salsa

By September 7, 2015

Fresh tomatoes come on all at once and have to be preserved for the long, cold winter months that lie ahead.  Add a little spice to those long winter nights with by turning those fresh summer beauties into some homemade salsa.

  • Prep Time : 60 minutes
  • Cook Time : 60 minutes
  • Yield : 16 pints

Ingredients

Instructions

Place a large pot of water on high heat.  Wash tomatoes carefully.  Blanch, peel and deseed tomatoes, rough chop large tomato pieces.

Dice peppers and onions, place tomatoes, onions and peppers in large pot, add vinegar and salsa seasoning into pot and cook for about 30 minutes.  Add spices and other ingredients and cook for 30 minutes more.  Add the chopped cilanto shortly before processing.  Use an immersion blender to remove some of the large chunks, optional!  While the salsa is cooking, bring a canner, about half full of water to a boil.

Scald the empty jars in the canner, then fill with hot salsa, leaving about 1/4 inch or so headspace.  Wipe rims and cover with warm seals and bands.  Tighten.  Place the hot jars into the canning rack and lower into the hot water.  Start timing 20 minutes when the water returns to a boil.  Put the lid on the canner during processing.

Place the salsa back on the burner over low heat.  When processing is done, remove the jars and repeat the process until all jars are filled.  Place the hot jars in a draft free location to cool.  Some of the jars will *ting as they seal.  Refrigerate any jars that do not seal and eat right away!

For safety, keep all pets and small children out of the kitchen while canning.  Everything is hot!!!

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