Summer Salsa

So this recipe has been around the market for years. It has been printed out and passed around and made by many of our customers. About 20 years after my mom first started sharing it, we are now getting with the times and putting it on the internet!

My mom Tamra is the true Salsa hardcore in the family. She makes about 50 jars of Salsa every summer, and yet still runs out. My mom's Salsa making is an act of love for my dad. He absolutely loves it and can be found many evenings with a bag of nacho chips and a jar of salsa enjoying a late night snack.

Start by assembling all your canning supplies. It is helpful to have a heavy-bottomed pot for making salsa. You need a 10 Litre or bigger pot for this recipe.

We have been peeling the tomatoes for our salsa for many years, which you do by blanching the tomatoes (boiling a big pot of water, adding the tomatoes to the boiling water for just a few minutes and then moving them to cold water).

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A couple years ago I stopped peeling my tomatoes when using them for salsa. The peel separates from the flesh and it leaves little bits of tomato skin in the salsa, but this doesn't bother me a bit, and unless you are looking for them you really can't tell. If you are blanching your tomatoes, you do not need to chop them, they will break up as they cook. If you take my lazy method, and leave the peel on, it is best to chop the tomatoes up so the peel pieces aren't too big. When I am working with a lot of tomatoes or any juicy fruit. I usually place my cutting board inside a rimmed cookie sheet to contain the juices.

Add your tomatoes to the pot and move on to the peppers. Basically you can just chop, chop, chop. Did you know we have pick your own peppers at the farm? They are $1.00/lb, which works out to be pretty stinking cheap. If you do head to the fields you may notice that there is a lot of sunburn this year. This is what sunburn looks like

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In most cases, sun burn on peppers does not cause the pepper to rot. It is completely harmless and can just be cut out. In other words if you are using the peppers for salsa, a little sunburn is completely fine.

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I chop my peppers pretty rough; approximately 1 inch pieces. The colour of the peppers doesn't matter that much. If you don't have 2 cups of red, and you add more yellow that is totally fine. The Green and Yellow show up the best in the cooked salsa, so they are nice to include.

When you are ready to chop the jalapeños, put on some gloves. I didn't have gloves (and never seem to when I am doing hot peppers) so I used sandwich bags on my hands. This is a little clumsy, but it does the job.

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The white membrane inside the pepper is where all the heat comes from. The seeds also contain a lot of heat. If you want your salsa to be milder, cut all that out and throw it away. If you have a tomato huller it works awesome for removing the membrane. If you want to add a little extra punch, include some seeds. If you are really brave, keep all the membrane. Cut all the jalapeño pieces very finely and throw it all into the pot.
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Next chop your garlic. I use the sandwich bag gloves for this too, otherwise I smell garlic on my hands for days and it makes me feel a little crazy.

When it comes to the onion, of course I recommend the onions grown by my brothers. These sweet onions are amazing – they are soo flavourful. Not to mention huge.

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I only used 1 onion and it ended up being more like 8 cups once it was chopped. These are some serious onions!

Add everything else to the pot! The only other ingredient that may require a little instruction is paprika. While it is a very common spice, it is actually a bit confusing because there are all varieties of paprika. Check out this interesting article about the spice for more info.

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My mom-in-law brought me some wonderful paprika from Hungary when she visited there, and so I have both sweet and hot varieties. I used half of each. Of course, either variety can be used but just keep in mind how much total heat you are adding. Spice is nice but it is preferable that people can actually eat the finished product.
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Once you have all the ingredients in the pot, take a moment to appreciate how pretty it looks.

Or just move on. But I like to take a moment. Peppers are so beautiful aren't they?

Turn on the heat and bring the salsa to a simmer. Cooking the salsa will take about an hour, but keep an eye on it because I've had it done in 40 minutes.

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Stir it often, with the sugar in there it will burn if you don't. The Salsa if cooked down enough once it coats a wooden spoon.

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Once the salsa is thick enough, it's time to process.

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Ladle the salsa into sterilized jars. I put my jars in the dishwasher before I started my salsa and they were hot and ready to go just when my salsa was finished. See my recipe for preserving cherries for a quicker way to prep your jars.

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Bring your lids to a boil in a separate pot, then shut off the water and place one lid on each jar.

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Then add the screw bands (also out of the dishwasher) and tighten "fingertip" tight.

Add the jars to a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

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Remember to make sure that the water is not too hot when you add the jars. It is better for the water to heat up WITH the jars. Once the jars are in the water, crank the heat up. Start your timer once the water starts boiling and boil for 20 minutes.

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Once your timer goes, use a jar lifter to take the jars from the canner and leave them on a cutting board on the counter to cool.

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Congratulations, you now have a delicious, locally-grown, homemade snack to enjoy on winter evenings.
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Summer Salsa

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes – 1 hour plus Canning Time

Servings: 8 - 10 jars

Ingredients:

  • 16 cups Tomatoes, (ideally Romas)
  • 8 cups sweet peppers: yellow, orange, and green
  • 2 cups red peppers
  • 6 jalapeños
  • 4 cups vinegar – white or apple cider
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can of tomato paste (12 oz)
  • 4 TBSP white Sugar
  • 2 TBSP Salt
  • 4 TSP Sweet Hungarian Paprika
  • 2 TSP oregano
  • 6 cups of onions

Instructions:

  1. Chop all the sweet peppers. Pieces can be fairly big – up to 1 inch. Add to a large pot.
  2. Put on gloves to chop the Jalapeños. Remove the white membrane and the seeds and discard for less heat, include them for more heat. Chop the Jalapeño very finely. Add to the pot
  3. Add the tomatoes to the pot. If you are peeling them they can just be added whole to the pot. If you are including the skin, chop the tomatoes
  4. Add all remaining ingredients to the pot.
  5. Bring to a simmer and cook for between 40 minutes and 1 hour, stirring often. The salsa is ready when it is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.
  6. Ladle Salsa into Sanitized jars.
  7. Bring lids to a boil in a separate pot. Put the lids on the jars and screw on the bands to fingertip tight.
  8. Process in a boiling waterbath for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove and leave on counter to cool.
  10. Pass the Chips!

 

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