Monday, October 5, 2009

Feeling Hot!Hot!Hot! Salsa

My husband's co-worker gifted us with 2 grocery bags of tomatoes. Beautiful heirloom and Bushel Boy tomatoes. What do you do when life hands you lemons? Make lemonade, of course! But how about when life hands you 15 pounds of tomatoes? Make salsa!

My beautiful pot of salsa bubbling away on the stove top!

And that's what I did. I decided I'd want to make cooked salsa that could be canned and saved, as opposed to fresh. I love fresh salsa, but I couldn't really imagine eating and giving away 20 jars or so of salsa to be eaten ASAP. I thought canned would be better. My best friend (I have two; both give me amazing recipes. In fact, at least half of what I cook comes from one of them, or their mothers) gave me a recipe for cooked salsa that she'd made before with fantastic results. I thought I'd give it a whirl!

Skimming the top of the salsa and trying not to eat too much whilst cooking it...!

Making the recipe wasn't terribly difficult and only took about 3 1/2 hours from start to finish, but the recipe was tripled, so I was chopping tomatoes for a LONG time. Also, I made the recipe with my mom and highly recommend executing this salsa as a TEAM of two or more players. She peeled the tomatoes and I chopped them, etc. Also, salsa connoisseurs may frown on this, but I used a food processor to chop the onions and the jalapenos. I chopped the tomatoes and the green peppers by hand.

Lids and rings taking a little "hot tub" to get sanitized!

Being the dork I am, I had to design labels and print them for my jars. I imagined myself as Diane Keaton's character from "Baby Boom" with her applesauce business. See? So dorky! Does anyone remember that classic movie? I do want to try applesauce next, so, who knows?! I could become the next gourmet canning goddess. Probably not, though. Digressing again.

Waiting for the lids to "pop"! A lovely sound!

Anyway, the salsa results were fantastic and SO delicious. I had some before it was done simmering and could barely put down the tortilla chips. I hope you'll try it with a friend soon.

Feeling Hot!Hot!Hot! Salsa
adapted slightly from My Best Friend's Recipe

8 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped finely (may remove ribs and seeds if desired)
1 poblano pepper, chopped finely (may remove ribs and seeds if desired)
3 medium onions, chopped
2 green peppers
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
1 TB black pepper
1 TB garlic, minced (again, I'm a loser who uses the minced garlic in a jar!Shh! Don't tell)
1 TB kosher salt
1 - 12 oz. can tomato paste

To peel the tomatoes, heat a large pot of water to a bare simmer and prepare another pot or large bowl with cold water. Add whole tomatoes a few at a time for 30 seconds to a minute or so. The red tomatoes will change color slightly when ready to pull and skin will look stretched or split. Immediately remove to bowl of cold water. Remove skins and cut out any yellow, hard or overly soft spots and cut into chunks. Take care to remove seeds and membranes. This step is best tackled assembly line fashion with one person peeling and another chopping.

Place chopped tomatoes in a large pot. Add all other ingredients and heat until boiling. Simmer one hour or more, periodically skimming bubbles off the top until salsa is thickened.

While salsa is simmering, run your canning jars on the hottest setting of the dishwasher. Set lids and jar rings in a pan of boiling water.

Fill jars 95% full (using a funnel like this makes for quick and easy work of filling). Wipe edge of jar lip inside and out with a paper towel dipped in very hot water. Replace paper towel often to keep edges of jars clean and sanitized. Place lid on top of the jar and screw the lid on as tightly as possible. Set aside in a warm, draft-free place without moving or touching them at all. Wait patiently for the lids to pop---it takes anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Such a gratifying sound!

Try your best to have a little bit of salsa left over that doesn't fit into your jars. Then eat it immediately! Delish.

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