Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Salsa

Let's make salsa! The tomatoes are piling up so let's can them. I started with this recipe but I don't have THAT many tomatoes,so I cut it in half...roughly.

When canning salsa, or making peach jam for that matter, the first thing you have to do is take the skins off. I know it sounds horribly difficult, but I'm gonna show you the easy way. Ready?

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That is boiling water. And those are tomatoes...in the boiling water. Just put them in there for about 45 seconds...a bit longer if they aren't super ripe. Then, take them out and put them in ice water like so:

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And they will do this:
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Once you slip off the skins, you can rough chop them, or do what I did and stick your thumbs in them to drain out most of the seeds and water, then crush them with your hands. I went and did a touch over four cups worth.

Then you need to cut up your bell pepper and onion. I diced about 2 cups worth of each. Next, you need to cut up your jalapenos. I seed mine first because I don't like hotness that tears the face from the body. So I half them:
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And then scoop out the guts with a spoon:
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I also cut up my cilantro. The best way to cut up cilantro is with a pair of shears or scissors. Trust me. The recipe calls for three garlic cloves, and since I was cutting the recipe in half, I went ahead and used three cloves of garlic, because I could use a clove and a half of garlic, but why would I? Everything tastes better with lots of garlic.

I also measure by eye. people who watch me cook often comment that they wish they could do that. Wanna see how I do it?

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Just like that. Thats about a teaspon. Wanna see it again?

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Boom. Just like that. Go ahead, try it sometime!

Or measure it out. Whatever floats your boat.

And finally, when canning salsa, you are canning ingredients like onion, peppers and spices that aren't acidic...and safe canning relies on acid or sugar to keep the bad stuff at bay. Obviously we won't be adding 10 cups of sugar, so we need to up the acidity of our product to ensure that we don't get salmonella and die. Or wish we were dead. The recipe calls for vinegar, but I'm a rebel so I used lemon juice, and since I didn't have quite enough lemon juice from the sad little lemons that were rolling around in the bottom of the crisper drawer, I topped it off with vinegar. Because recipe's are really nothing more than places to start...right? Just not in canning. You should always follow a tested recipe. Don't let me and my evil ways lead you astray.

So, we have all our pretty ingredients:
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And then you put them in a pot to simmer:
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Yes, those are red onions. No particular reason other than it was in the fridge.

My husband says I dirty every dish in the kitchen when I cook. I have no idea what he's talking about.

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So then you are supposed to simmer this until it's the consistency you want it...I prefer fresh salsa, so I'll wing it for a while.

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Uh. Looks good to me? Add in the tomato paste. It does make it thicker...not sure if I wanted it thicker, but I'll go with it.

Now from here on out, things should start looking suspiciously familiar. The reason for that is that, canning is canning is canning. You put it in the cans, you screw down the lids, you process, you cool...the only thing that varies is the length of time you process different size jars and products.

So put them in your jars, leaving some head space..I left an inch since I am going to pressure can these. I could just do a boiling water bath, but that big beautiful pressure canner sitting there with all its stainless steel convinced me to pressure can it. So fill the jars, put on the lids, (finger tight...remember?) put a couple quarts of water in the canner and put your jars inside.

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Then put on the lid and crank the heat up until steam comes out the top like so:

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See the steam? Let it carry on like that for ten minutes. Then, put on the weight, turn down the heat and let the steam build to 10 pounds if you are below 1000 feet, 15 if you are above 1000 feet. (Altitude...1000 feet altitude) Then keep adjusting your heat to keep it where you need it...if you drop below your pressure, you have to build it back up and start timing all over...so don't do that. We are processing these pint jars of salsa for 15 minutes..because my super Google skillz told me that was the recommended time for pressure canning salsa. It is important that you never leave your canner while processing so you can keep an eye on things. And here I am cooking along at 15 pounds of pressure despite my needing ten pounds because I left the canner.

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I guess my Mai Tai distracted me...oh wait. I'm a Mormon. So I guess it was that potty break I took.

Anyhow, let your cans process along and when the time is up, turn off the heat. Let the canner cool down, don't force it and don't let steam out of the vent, just let it do it's thing. Once the pressure is gone, you can open the canner and take out your cans. Make sure they all seal and you'll have some summer in a jar to enjoy this winter! I admit, we cracked one open tonight (it was only part full) and this stuff is pretty durn good.

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Please ignore my hard water marks.

Thank you.

Now go can something!

1 comment:

Vi 12s said...

Hi- I just came upon your blog while looking up food storage tips/ideas etc... I'm loving it so far and am excited to go and try some of these things! I'm wondering, though, why haven't you been posting since July?? I hope there's more soon because it's really helpful!
-Vi from the east coast!