Home Canned Salsa

SalsaI didn’t even look in the garden before we left for the funeral last week.

In this case – ignorance might have been bliss at the time – but it did leave us with a lot of very ripe tomatoes waiting when we got back!

The really overripe ones went to our red wattle pigs,  Diesel and Ethel. So instead of making spaghetti sauce with them – I guess we made pork. 🙂

The rest we’re working up now.  Next up – another batch of Mendi’s salsa!

I love canning my own salsa!  It costs so little and I can control how much sugar goes into it.

This is the salsa we use to make our very favorite easy black bean soup!

Home Canned Salsa
recipe from my friend Mendi

5 pounds tomatoes
3 cup chopped onions
1 cup jalapeno peppers, diced (this is optional)
1 cup cider vinegar
3-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar (I used even less and nobody noticed!)
1 cup green pepper, chopped
2 teaspoon garlic

Peel and chop the tomatoes into chunks.

Mix all the other ingredients with the tomatoes in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and cook until you get a desired thickness. (If I’m in a hurry – we have a thinner salsa. If I have time, we get a thick rich one.)

Make sure you use a heavy pot and stir often to avoid sticking and burning! (Ask me how I know this!)

Pour into sterilized pint jars, seal and process for 30 minutes  in a boiling water bath.

Remove from the canner and let cool for 24 hours on clean towels on your kitchen counter so that everybody who walks by with be impressed with your homemaking skills!

Enjoy all winter long when garden fresh tomatoes are but a distant memory!

Fresh Salsa Memories

SalsaMy family has it’s share of traditions – some crazy, some fun, and some tasty.

Fresh salsa is one of our most addicting tasty ones.

Every year we gather at my parent’s house Labor Day weekend for an early Christmas.

And since my folks, sisters and I all have gardens, every year we bring whatever happens  to be producing at that time.

Tomatoes and peppers dominate.

So the fresh salsa tradition began. Every morning as the breakfast dishes are cleared, someone starts chopping for that day’s batch.

The recipe is simple – chopped tomatoes, chopped green peppers, chopped onions, chopped garlic. A little vinegar, or lime juice or lemon juice, some cilantro, salt and pepper and you’re done.

The proportions depend on the chef and the produce available. Once the ingredients are mixed, we all grab a chip and sample. A little more cilantro. Too many peppers, add a few more tomatoes.  Maybe a touch more salt.  Several samples later – we declare it perfect!

This tradition – however –  is not without it’s controversies.

Personally – I don’t need any extra sugar in my diet or my salsa- but my sister Sandy does. Whenever I made the salsa – she would always try to slip some sugar in it when I wasn’t looking.  I finally decided that if having sugar in her salsa was that important – she could make it the way she wanted.

She’s been doing a lot chopping ever since! 😉

Then, we discovered this trip that there were <gasp> certain members in the family who didn’t care for the taste of cilantro in their salsa.

I know it’s shocking – but true.

So Sandy made two bowls – one with for those of us with refined and discerning taste buds who appreciate the robust and wonderful taste of cilantro and one for the poor souls who don’t understand what they are  missing.

But the most shocking controversy is that of the missing salsa. One morning a few years back, we had made our daily bowl of salsa, Sandy had slipped her extra sugar in, and we left it on the counter while we “aunts” all headed out to the thrift store with Nana.

When we returned the bowl was empty, save for a stray onion bit floating in a little juice in the bottom!

Horrors! Our daily bowl of salsa was gone! All of  our efforts – the chopping, mixing and tasting were for naught.

The “aunts” were not happy.

All fingers pointed to little Lydia, my three-year-old niece who was sitting at the counter on her daddy’s lap with an empty bowl of salsa in front of them.

Lydia ate that entire large bowl of salsa? How could she – she’s only three years old?!

She had to have had help. There was someone sitting in that room with a bad case of salsa breath and a guilty conscience.

We all have our suspicions on who her accomplice was – but the culprit was never punished for his crime.

While we continue to wait for a full confession – we have learned to never leave our salsa unattended. 🙂

Fresh salsa is just one of those traditions that we take seriously. Very seriously. 😉