I was a little green yesterday.  With envy, not with a tummy ache don’t worry.  I was talking with a friend who was raving about all of the wonderful produce that her garden has produced this summer and how she has so much she doesn’t know what to do with it.  Boy, that’s a tough problem to have, isn’t it?  I live in a condo in the city with no outdoor space for a garden, but I can’t wait to someday have tomatoes and herbs growing out of my ears!  I think it must be such a wonderful sense of satisfaction and accomplishment to go out to your garden and pick the ingredients for your meals, come inside and wash them and just enjoy the clean, organic splendor of your own produce.  Someday sweet teeth, someday.

As for now, I love to support our local farmers’ markets.  Last week my mom and I bought all of the ingredients for salsa and spent a few hours of fun in the kitchen.  Again, I love that canning gives you the ability to capture the flavors of a season and enjoy them all year long.  Do you ever get attached to your ingredients or final products as you are baking or cooking?  For example, my imagination went wild while I was treating each tomato for the salsa with care.   In my mind, first, my tomatoes got to enjoy a few minutes in the hot tub (blanching them in hot water), then they were submerged in a refreshing pool (ice bath), then I gave their skin a peel (literally peeling the skin off) and massaged the little babies (crushed them with my hands to break them up).  I hope my tomatoes enjoyed their day at my spa and I think I have officially divulged way to much information about myself to you!!!

Canned Salsa

by Mercedes Porter

Keywords: snack side vegetarian vegan vegetables

Ingredients (6-7 quarts or 12 pints)

  • 13 pounds tomatoes
  • 3 large onions, diced
  • 6 green peppers, diced
  • 5 jalepeños, diced
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of 4 limes
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste
  • Special Equipment: canner, jars, lids, rings, candy thermometer

Instructions

Clean jars with hot water and boil lids before processing.

Fill large stock pot with water and heat to a boil. Place tomatoes into water and blanch until skins begin to split. Remove tomatoes and place into ice bath. Peel, core and remove any blemishes from blanched tomatoes, then crush tomatoes by hand into large pot that salsa will be cooked in.

Add all other ingredients to pot with tomatoes and stir. Place candy thermometer into mixture and heat on medium until temperature reaches 180º. Once mixture reaches 180°, simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, stir and cook another 10 minutes.

Turn off heat and pour salsa into prepared quart or pint jars. Seal with boiled lids and rings and process in boiling water for 15 minutes.

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 blanch tomatoes in boiling water until skins split

place blanched tomatoes into ice bath

peel, core and remove blemishes from tomatoes

dice and mince other vegetables

place all ingredients into large pot

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I hate to say it, but I felt it this weekend.  That chill in the evening air that reminds you that fall is right around the corner.  Not that I don’t look forward to fall, but we all want summer to last as long as possible, right?  Maybe it stems back to when we were school kids and we just wanted summer to last one more week.  There is something very bittersweet about those last summer days no matter how old we get.  On a positive note, one of the best things about the end of summer is that it is the peak time for some of the best summer produce.  Farmers’ market has every type of tomato you could want, family members share their extra zucchini with you, and you just want to squeeze as many fruits and vegetables as you can into each day.

Canning allows us to bring these to-die-for summer flavors onto our kitchen tables all through the fall and winter.  I grew up canning with my mom and grandma and have continued to have more interest in it each year.  My mom was visiting last week and we took advantage of our time together and spent most of it in the kitchen, as usual!  We started by canning some salsa (STAY TUNED!) and then made the most delectable strawberry rhubarb jam.  This jam is the perfect consistency to spread on your morning toast and is also a luscious topping for ice cream.

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Is this not the most beautiful color???

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