Saturday, September 27, 2008

Scrumptious Salsa

Here's our favorite salsa recipe. We got it from a friend. I don't know the origin beyond that.


12 c. tomatoes, peeled & chopped (Roma are best)
3 c. celery, chopped
3 c. onion, chopped
1 c. sugar (the recipe says "use less if not Roma tomatoes")
1 c. vinegar
1/4 c. salt (I use canning salt)
2 T. mustard seed
2 T. red pepper (recipe says "can use ceyenne"...I use red pepper flakes)

Put the above ingredients in a big pot. Simmer. Bring to a boil. Add:

2 c. chopped green bell pepper
4-5 jalapeno peppers, diced (recipe says 1-2 for mild...I find it varies depending on strength of pepper)
2, 12 oz. cans tomato paste

Bring to boil again. Put into pint jars. Water bath 20 minutes. Makes 8-9 pints.

That's what the recipe says. However, since the recipe was passed through friends, I wasn't sure about the safety of the time/heat. So I called our local extension office for advice.

They listened to the ingredients and said that I need to pressure cook based on the time that would be used for the low-acid foods on the list. They advised 35 mins. at 10 lbs pressure. I've done that ever since and always had success. Not sure how much nutritional value is left after it's cooked that long, but it sure tastes good. ;) This year I canned it in quart jars since we go through it so fast. I made one double batch; my husband assures me that he and the kids could easily down another double batch in a year.

Couple of additional tips:

I like to chop/dice everything on one day and then can it the next. I use a food processor and just put one ingredient through after another. I end with the jalapenos. I take the tops off the jalapenos and then throw the entire jalapeno into the food processor and dice to smithereens. I transfer the jalapeno to a container using a spatula and never have to touch it.

I learned the hard way about jalapeno pain. I'd always heard that the oils in jalapeno can hurt, but I'd made salsa for years and never had a problem, so I got careless. One year we had an abundance of jalapenos so I diced them to freeze for chili, etc... I touched them. That night, my hands were on FIRE! It was so bad that I couldn't sleep. Nothing helped...not hand washing, not lotion. It was horrible. For at least a day afterward I could feel a burning sensation in my hands. I respect jalapenos more these days.


Jennifer said...

Hey. Thanks for this. I'm about to process tomatoes and collecting my recipe options. Your timing is perfect. Thanks for the details on canning too.....

Vonnie said...

Best salsa around. I also pressure can mine although I know people that still just boil bath it. I will chop the onions and celery on a day when I don't have much to do and put them in bags with the correct amount for one batch. I do the same with the green peppers and jalapenos. Those bags go in the freezer and as my tomatoes ripen I just have to quickly chop them and add the stuff in the bags. Sometimes I even dump it in frozen. It takes a little longer to boil but it thaws really fast. I also buy tomato paste in a gallon can and use my kitchen scales to measure out blobs. I put a piece of saran wrap on the scales and then wrap up the paste. This also gets put in the freezer until I need it. I mark the amount on the outside since my pizza sauce recipe takes 30 oz.

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