This weekend I made salsa. I bought a huge box of tomatoes and peppers at an Amish road-side stand, and gathered the rest of the ingredients at the grocery store. This was my first time canning all by myself, and I was nervous. The hardest part for me was blanching, peeling, and seeding/chopping all of those tomatoes. I recommend having a nice glass of wine or beer around, and blaring some tunes while you work those tomatoes.
The recipe comes from my mother-in-law, Gail. She showed me how to can, and also gave me my first canning supplies for Christmas a couple of years ago.
I first had this salsa, actually, on the day that I met Rick's family. We had driven to Philly to his sister's house for her birthday, and I remember Gail putting out this salsa and everyone being excited about it. She usually brings a jar of this when they visit, and we gobble it up quickly. I'm glad I now have the means to make a good supply of it myself!
I usually prefer fresh/uncooked salsa over the stuff you buy in a jar, but this is way more amazing than any salsa you'll find in a jar on the grocery store shelves. You can taste so many flavors in every bite. I prefer it over fresh salsa, and that's saying something.
Salsa (Picante Sauce)
for water bath canning
- 5 lbs tomatoes, about 15 medium, or 20 plum tomatoes (I used a little more than this)
- 4 mild green chiles or 1 can green chiles drained (I use the canned)
- 2-6 hot chiles (fresh or dried) (I used 3 hot skinny peppers, I don't even know what kind they were)
- 1 large Spanish onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 large green pepper, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 medium red pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped (about 2 tsp)
- 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
- 3/4 cup white vinegar
- 3 T. sugar
- 1 T. pickling salt (you can use any salt that is not iodized)
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 3 T. finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Blanch tomatoes in boiling water; rinse in cold water. Peel, seed and coarsely chop tomatoes. Place tomatoes in a heavy saucepan.
- Remove cores from mild chiles. Chop chiles. Scrape most of seeds from cores. Add chopped chiles and seeds to tomatoes or just add in a can.
- Pierce hot chiles with a toothpick and add to tomatoes. If using hot pepper, just take out seeds and chop pepper.
- Add remaining ingredients except cilantro and mix well. Stirring occasionally, bring to boil over medium heat. Simmer uncovered 1 hour.
- Add cilantro and continue cooking 15 to 30 minutes until desired consistency is reached. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Taste and remove hot chiles (with toothpicks) if using, or put one chile in each jar if additional heat is desired.
- Place lids in boiling water, boil 5 minutes to activate sealing compound.
- Ladle salsa into a sterilized mason jar (I run mine through the dishwasher to sterilize), filling to within 1/2 inch of top.
- Use spatula to remove bubbles. Wipe jar rim, removing any stickiness. Center lid on jar and apply screw band until fingertip tight.
- Process in boiling water bath 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts.
- Remove and cool.
Makes 9 to 10 cups. I ended up tripling this recipe because I had so many tomatoes. I think I will continue to do that, because this stuff is so good that it won't last long! I did all 3 batches at once, using a big soup pot to cook it in.
Recipe via Gail Sollman