Monday, August 16, 2010

Salsa for Canning

In the last three days I have picked 30 pounds of tomatoes from our garden (we have 9 plants). While the bounty is thrilling, it is also rather overwhelming. I have been drying the cherry tomatoes and freezing the paste tomatoes, but what to do with the mountain of slicers? It turns out salsa is a great way to use these juicier specimens.

The amount of whole tomatoes you will need for this recipe will vary depending on the variety (or varieties) you use, so I am not giving a set number of pounds to start with. I would make sure you have a good ten pounds or so on hand, though. Just keep chopping and draining until you have about 10 cups. You can also use more peppers than listed here, if you want - up to about 5 cups.

10 cups chopped and drained tomatoes (see instructions below)
3 cups seeded and chopped peppers (sweet and/or hot)
4 medium red onions
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 cup lime juice
1 cup chopped cilantro
Salt to taste

A food processor is the easiest way to deal with all the chopping for this recipe. Don't process to the point of pureeing - just pulse until everything is well chopped. Some chunks are fine.

Core each tomato and peel if it's easy to do so (as is true of some heirloom varieties). Squeeze out some of the liquid and seeds. Chop the tomatoes in a food processor, then dump out into a colander or sieve. Shake/stir/toss until much of the excess liquid has drained out and you have a semi-solid mass. Measure (number of cups) and set aside. Repeat process until you have 10 cups of the semi-solid tomato mass.

Chop the peppers and onions in the food processor as well, then place them in a large pot along with the tomatoes and cumin. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes. Add the lime juice, cilantro, and salt, and turn off the heat.

At this point you can eat or can the salsa.

To can the salsa, ladle it into sterilized pint jars and top with sterilized lids and rings taken directly from hot water. Boil in a hot water bath for 15 minutes, then remove and cool on a rack. (Or use 1/2 pint jars and boil for 10 minutes.) You should hear the ping of each lid as it seals down. If any jar fails to seal, refrigerate and eat in the next week or two.

Yields about 8 pints.

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