Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tomato Salsa

When I think fresh tomatoes, I always find myself thinking of salsa! Spicy, tangy and delicious served beside grilled chicken or beef, as a dip with tortilla chips, on top of tacos and more. 

In fact I think just about everyone is a Salsa connoisseur, having at least one Salsa they particularly enjoy. This simple tomato salsa is easy to do with garden-fresh veggies from your local farm or farmer's market.

This salsa involves cooking the tomatoes, onions and peppers down, then blending them in a blender or food processor, and adding some reserved diced tomatoes, onions and jalapeno peppers just before you ladle it into the canning jars. The end result is more of a smooth, thick restaurant-style salsa with a few chunks of tomato, onion and jalapeno peppers.

5 lbs of tomatoes 
3 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup lemon juice
2 tsp dried oregano or cilantro (optional)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. course-ground black pepper
1-2 tsp sugar (to taste)
1 - 6-oz. can tomato paste (adds body)

Preheat oven to 400. Cut tomatoes in half, place in a roasting pan and cook until skins have darkened and blistered. Cool slightly and slip off skins, then coarsely chop tomatoes and place in large pot.

Reserve 1 jalapeno chopped and place it in a colander set over a bowl with 2 tomatoes chopped and 1/2 cup of the diced onion to drain excess liquid.

Place remaining jalapeno pepper slices and chopped onion in large pot with the diced tomatoes; add spices and lemon juice.

Cook over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and process in a blender. Return to large pot and stir in tomato paste. Bring back to a simmer and stir in reserved tomatoes, onions and jalapeno peppers.

Ladle hot salsa in to canning jars (regular pint or wide-mouth pint), cover with seals and rings and process in a boiling water bath or steam canner for 15 minutes.

Place jars on a kitchen towel on your countertop and let sit undisturbed 24 hours. Jars are sealed when the button on the top of the lid is fully depressed and won't flex up or down.

Store jars in pantry up to one year.

Yield:  5-6 pint jars

Please Note: The only change you can safely make in this salsa recipe is to change the amount of spices and herbs. Do not alter the proportions of vegetables to acid and tomatoes because it might make the salsa unsafe.  Since tomatoes are a borderline acid / low acid fruit - adding lemon juice helps processing according to the specified times (determined by the USDA) in the boiling water bath.
  • Do not substitute vinegar for lemon juice; lemon juice is more acidic.
  • Do not reduce the amount of lemon juice or tomatoes.
  • Do not add extra peppers, onion, or garlic. You can reduce the amount of peppers, onion, or garlic.
  • You can substitute one type of pepper for another. For example bell peppers, yellow peppers, banana peppers, chili peppers may all be substituted 1 for 1.
  • The key is not increasing the amount of low acid ingredients in relation to the amount of high acid ingredients



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