Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's Salsa Wonderful

Who doesn’t love a jar of homemade salsa made from fresh picked tomatoes?  Another favorite hobby of mine is canning.  Living on 9 acres provides plenty of room for a garden and about 6 years ago I decided to give preserving a try.
Of course, being somewhat OCD, I became hooked.  Suddenly I was canning pretty much anything I could get my hands on.  It's like an art form!
I love making something to feed my family that hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals and preservatives.  Plus, I can control the amount of sodium or spices.  Since we like a lot of flavor in our food, I pre-make yummy spaghetti sauces and soups for those days when I can’t think of what to cook.  Throw together some pasta sauce, ground turkey and a box of whole wheat pasta (a friend got me hooked on Dreamfields pasta, it's great and low carb) and voila, a quick delicious healthy meal.
Want to give home canning a try?  Here is the perfect starter book:
Preserved goodies are terrific last minute gifts.  Grab a cute basket, put in a jar of canned salsa, an interesting pottery bowl and a nice card with the recipe.  You'll have a memorable housewarming present they will use often! 

Or bake some frozen croissants and take them to a sick neighbor with a jar of your homemade strawberry preserves.  Trust me, they'll appreciate it more than flowers.
Here’s a favorite salsa of mine that is usually on several of my friend’s wish list for Christmas.  It's easy to make and doesn't take a lot of ingredients.  

Take a jar to work with a bag of tortilla chips and shredded cheese for quick nachos in the microwave.  It has a wonderful flavor.  I canned about 70 jars this past weekend:

Devil’s Delight Salsa:
8 Quarts of cored, peeled & diced tomatoes (you can drain them but don't have to) quick note: I have made this salsa smooth (no chunks), by running a hand blender in the pot while it's cooking, but I usually leave it chunky.  It's really a matter of preference, it tastes the same.
2 Large green peppers (seeded)
3 Chili Releno peppers (leave the seeds in if you want to crank up the heat)
6 Cups of chopped onion (I prefer the red, but use any you have on hand)
8 Jalapenos (leave the seeds if you want it hotter)
10 cloves garlic, peeled & finely diced
12 - 6oz. cans of tomato paste (yes, it really is 12 cans-it makes the sauce rich)
4 CUPS lemon juice (in caps because it's not a typo- it's one of the unusual ingredients that brings out the flavor of the peppers)
3 Tbs cumin
4 Tsp brown Sugar
14-16 crushed cracked peppercorns
4 Tsp salt (It's important to use Canning/Preserving Salt).

Add all the ingredients into a large pot, bring to a simmer.  Simmer 30 minutes and then put into sterilized pint jars.  Yields about 25 pints.
Leave 1/2 inch of head space (from the top edge of the jar) and process in a Boiling Water Bath for 15 minutes.
Since I make so much of this salsa I put mine in quart jars and process for 25 minutes.
If you try it, please let me know how you like it, I'd love to hear.

Do you have a great canned salsa recipe?  Be sure to share!

No comments: