So, we had a few tomatoes on our hands. Our plants did really well this year and typically we only get cherry tomatoes. But this year we decided to grow some beefsteaks and romas. It was perfect, they all ripened at very different times, so we didn't have an overload all at once throughout the summer. But by October the frost was getting heavier and the romas still hadn't ripened so we pulled them inside. All of a sudden, they all ripened at once so we knew we had to do something. So salsa was the answer.
Now, I've never canned. My mom hasn't canned in over 20 years, but we decided to give it a go. She pulled out all the jars and rings and such that I never knew she even had and I got the joy of dumping out dust / bugs / and growing things out of jars that had sat in the crawl space for 10 years and in the garage for 10 years after that. It really makes me thankful for the dishwasher, as I know they were properly sanitized before we put any food in them.
That was the easy part though. The salsa was pretty basic to make as well (as long as you have a food processor), it was the actual canning that got interesting. My mom it turns out couldn't remember what to do, so within about 30 minutes we had to phone my Grandma 3 times, because even though she's not a big canner, she does make antipasta with a group of ladies every summer. So, she had a better idea than we did. Anyway, after the 3rd phone call we thought we had it figured out (I know, I could have just looked up online what to do, but I was seriously trying to get the tomato to pepper ratio just right and the canning was supposed to be my mom's job). Not much time after we hung up from the 3rd call, a knock came on the door and my Grandma wanders in. I think she figured it out that we had no idea what we were doing.
In the end, every single one of the 19 jars of salsa sealed, which I count as a success. Plus, the salsa tasted pretty darn good (although it does have a bit of a kick to it). The recipe I'm sharing is what I concluded after about 4 separate batches to be the best tasting ratios of ingredients for heat and consistency. Because I made so many batches I got 19 jars out of it. The recipe below makes about 3 jars, so adjust accordingly for how many tomatoes you have / how many jars you want.
One thing I really liked about this salsa was the depth of the flavours involved. Most salsa has just one flavour. You taste it on first bite and it's the same while swallowing and the aftertaste is the same as well. Well, this salsa is very different. You first taste tomato, then the salt comes in and finally after you swallow you actually taste the spice. Very unique.
I adapted the recipe from Frontera Fiesta.
Makes ~ 3 Cups of Salsa (3 Regular sized jars)
6 Tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and juiced (I used a mix of romas and beefsteaks)
1/4 White Onion
1-2 Cloves Garlic
1 Hot Green Pepper (Serrano or Jalapeno)
1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
1/2 Tsp. Salt
~Blanch tomatoes to help remove the skin. (For instructions on how to do this, see here.)
~Quarter the skinless tomatoes and squeeze juice and seeds out into a bowl. Reserve liquid for later (may need it if salsa is too thick).
~Prepare the onion and garlic, and remove the stem and seeds from the pepper.
~Run the onion, garlic and pepper through the food processor until they are finely minced.
~Add in the tomatoes and pulse 4-6 times or until you've reached the desired consistency.
~Top off with the lime juice and salt and pulse just long enough to mix. If salsa is too thick, you can add in some of the reserved juice.
~Store in the refrigerator or can if it's more than you can eat in a couple of days.