Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fresh or Canned Salsa

I've given the recipe for Garden Salsa before, but this is a more typical salsa. We love it, and our family (okay, it's mostly just John and I) can easily go through almost a full quart in one night.

When it's fresh, we eat it from a spoon, but we prefer it on chips if it's cooked and canned. (These pictures are of pre-canned, fresh salsa in wan, electric light.)


About 12 cups chopped ripe tomatoes (I used a mixture of red and sweet yellow)
About 1 and 1/2 cups finely chopped bell peppers
3 large onions, chopped
about 1/3 pound jalapeno peppers (remove seeds) finely chopped -- Use rubber gloves to avoid burning your hands (Use more or less depending on your tastes and the heat of the peppers. Heat can vary from pepper to pepper, so you might want to add these, to taste.)
about 8 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup white vinegar
fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste (I probably used about 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro)
1 and 1/2 tablespoons salt (I used coarse ground)
About 1 and 1/2 - 2 tsp. cumin powder
A few hearty shakes chili powder
*additional cayenne powder, to taste
two 8 oz. cans tomato paste, to thicken salsa

If eating as fresh salsa, John and I like less cumin than we like for the cooked. Let your taste buds guide you. (I sound like a culinary Yoda.)

If eating as fresh salsa, which John and I could eat all the livelong day, just make sure the peppers and onions are finely chopped into very small pieces. We used a food processor for this part to make it easier. Also, chop the tomatoes first and let them sit by themselves for several minutes in a large bowl. Then drain off all the extra fluid. I did this several times to avoid a really soupy salsa. If you want to can the salsa, first drain the tomatoes in the same way, and then combine all the ingredients in a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn heat to low. Simmer for ten minutes before ladling into hot jars. Leave 1/4 inch head space at the top, adjust caps, and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. The jars should be covered with water by about an inch, if possible.

Yield: about 7 pint jars

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