ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

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Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: Part 3. The Salsa


2013-09-14 17.13.42This was the last weekend of major canning for the year. Sam and I made 20 pints of Salsa, following the recipe from the USDA Home Canning Guide.

I’ll have some wrap-up statistics later this week. But, for now, let’s start with the basics:

  • 18 lbs of roma-style tomatoes. 5 lbs with our CSA. 10 lbs @ $1.60/lb (Seconds).  3 lbs at $4/lb (Firsts).
  • 2 lbs tomatillos for $3/lb.
  • 3 lovely anaheim chilies for $0.75/each.
  • 3 bell peppers at $1/ea.
  • 3 yellow onions for $2.

To that we added:

  • 4 jalapinos from our CSA.
  • 1 lb Garlic from our CSA.
  • 1/2 lb red onion from our CSA.
  • 2 cups lemon juice.
  • 3 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 4 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp dried ancho chili powder
  • 4 tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 tbsp minced fresh cilantro

We did most of the pepper, onion and garlic chopping the night before and the WHOLE FRIDGE reeked of onions. I’m not doing that again next year. But it did save us about an hour of chopping.

2013-09-15 10.22.07

The salsa before cooking. I like the color contrast of the red onions.

Going back to the earlier post on when to water bath can vs pressure can, tomato salsa is one of those marginal products that, depending on the ratio of onions/peppers/garlic (low acid vegetables) vs tomatoes (high acid vegetables), the overall acidity may be too low to water bath can. In this recipe I add 2 cups of lemon juice to ensure that, no matter how many peppers and onions I add to the salsa (and I like a LOT of peppers in my salsa) the acidity will certainly be high enough to water bath can my salsa. Good thing too, because pressure canned salsa gets much too over-cooked and is more like a smooth taco sauce than a chunky salsa. In addition to tomatoes, I add tomatillos to my salsa. Tomatillos have more pectin than ripe tomatoes, and so they add thickness and body to the salsa as it cooks.

We ended up with 20 pints of salsa. We water-bath canned 18 pints, then ran out of jars, and put 2 pints (a quart, for those inclined to the backwards English system of measure…) into the fridge for use later this week. We’ll make Chicken Tortilla Soup for dinner one night, and I may split the remainder for Sam and I to take to work to share.

2013-09-15 10.48.28

The salsa after cooking for 30 minutes, just before being canned. Note the rings on the inside of the pot. The salsa reduced about 2 inches during the 30 minutes of vigorous boiling.

2 thoughts on “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: Part 3. The Salsa

  1. I am so inspired. I may just try this recipe and see how mine turns out. I still have tomatoes on the vine but it was 38 degrees this morning so they will not be lasting long. My pantry is full to the brim except for the jam section. I will make that when it gets cooler and I have a free day. Thanks for the water bath info. I didn’t like my last salsa because it cooked too much when I canned it. I will try this maybe today or tomorrow.

    • I love salsa because we can use it for a lot of different things-not just salsa. I think I usually make my chili with canned salsa instead of canned tomatoes. I also use it as a base for curry.

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