Thursday, September 20, 2012

Homemade Salsa

Our neighbor Mrs. H gave us a ton of ripe tomatoes earlier this week, and I needed to do something with them quickly. The solution: Make and can some homemade salsa. After reading several recipes online and not really liking any of them, I decided to come up with my own. Every thing I read recommended peeling the tomatoes, and I wasn’t looking forward to putting an “X” in the bottom of each tomato, placing each one in a pot of boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, and then pulling the peel off. However, my serrated vegetable peeler saved me from this time-consuming job. The peeler is great for peeling peaches, so it made sense that it would work on tomatoes as well—and it did. The serrated edge is key; a regular peeler wouldn’t work. The other thing I learned is that 20 tomatoes yield 6 half-pints. My second foray into canning was a success (here’s my first), so I’ll definitely try it again.

Homemade Salsa
20 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 jalapeño peppers, minced
Juice from 6 limes
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 to 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
6 half-pint jars
6 rings and lids

1. Place jars in a large stock pot; add in water to cover, and bring to a boil. In another pan, place rings and lids in water to cover, and bring to a boil. Once the water for the jars boils, carefully, using a jar lifter or heavy-duty tongs, drain water from jars back into stock pot, and place jars on a towel-lined baking sheet. Once jars are removed, continue to maintain boil of water. Remove the rings and lids from the small pot, and drain on towel.
2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large pot; season with salt and pepper. Stir in cilantro. Heat salsa over medium-low heat until thoroughly heated.
3. Use a wide-mouth funnel and a ladle to fill hot jars with hot salsa mixture. Fill just below the screw bands on each jar. Run a knife around inside of jar to remove any air bubbles. Place lids on top, and screw on bands.
4. Place jars in boiling water in stock pot. Make sure water covers the top of the jars by 1 inch. Boil 20 minutes. Turn off heat, and let stand in stock pot 5 minutes. Using jar lifter to carefully remove jars from stock pot onto a towel-lined baking sheet. As the jars sit, you will hear a popping noise as the seals set. Let jars stand for 24 hours on a towel without moving them. Tap the tops to make sure seals have set, and store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.

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