As August comes to a close, our tomato month would not be complete without a post about salsa. Sunday, our day of rest included canning 21 quarts of the stuff! Have you ever tried to stir over 50 cups of veggies in a pot? You will discover muscles in the nether regions of your arms; and this is just the first batch. We often give gifts from our kitchen, and salsa is a favorite. My nephew Ian in-particularly loves getting jars of this zesty concoction. Maybe its the garlic, or the ripe tomatoes, or maybe its the roasted poblano peppers; but this stuff gets rave reviews.
I don’t know why I like putting up food so much. When I consider that we planted these tomatoes in our greenhouse in April, transplanted them to pots in May, then put them in the ground in June, it’s no wonder that translating them into a finished product is so satisfying. This land teaches us the meaning of abundance, through stewardship and hard work. When we open each jar during the colder months, we will be warmed by thoughts of summer.
There are many approaches to salsa. We like ours zesty, but not blazing. There is plenty of garlic, onions, jalapeno and cilantro, but one of the key ingredients is roasted poblano peppers. We blister them on the grill, then put them in paper bags to steam. Once cooled, the skins and seeds are removed, then they are chopped and added to the pot.
If fact, we found spending the day putting up salsa, to be a little romantic. We felt homey, surrounded by smells of the season, each other and the cool breezes off the lake.
Kim’s Garden Salsa:
- 16 heaping cups (approx one peck) of paste tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
- 2 cups yellow onions, chopped
- 2 cups red onions, chopped
- 1 cup roasted poblano peppers, skinned, seeded and chopped
- 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded, membranes removed and minced
- 2 heads garlic, cloves sliced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste, plus one can water (I like Contadina)
- Place all ingredients in large kettle on medium-low. Stir frequently until tomatoes start to weep and release their juices. It is important to heat this slowly or you will scorch your tomatoes.
- While you are heating your ingredients, have all your canning jars assembled and your water bath heating. (I won’t go into detail about water bath canning, but directions are easily found on the internet or in a good basic cookbook)
- Bring your salsa to a simmer, but not rapid boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste and adjust seasoning (ie: more salt, cumin, jalapeno)
- Ladle salsa into hot prepared quart or pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space and process for 20 minutes.
Salsa is an expression of your personality. Be sure to adjust to your own preferences. Add more jalapeno or whatever suits you. Tone down or crank up the heat, but above all, share the abundance!