Introduction: Garden Fresh Salsa
Salsa is awesome! But do you know what is even more awesome? Homemade salsa, using fresh ingredients you grow yourself! Store bought salsa is great, but it will NEVER compare to the taste of fresh! Tastes great on anything from chips, to tacos. From time to time I have even been known to spoon some over my eggs in the morning for an extra little kick! It's so simple to make. Try it yourself. You will thank me. :)
Step 1: Ingredients
35 to 40 Roma Tomatoes. Avoid any that are bruised, or have any heavy blemishes. and NEVER use any with mold.
6 assorted Bell Peppers. Green, yellow, red, orange, whatever you prefer.
4 large Jalapenos, and 4 or 5 Green Chili's.
2 pounds of Yellow or Sweet Onions. (Sometimes I like to mix them, or even use Vidalia.)
1 Cup of Lemon Juice.
1 bunch of Garlic.
5 Tbsp fresh Cilantro.
3 Tbsp Salt
4 tsp Black Pepper.
(Remember folks, This is meant to be a guide, that is all. Feel free to change it up to create the garden fresh flavor that YOU want. This is just my family favorite!)
Step 2: Equiptment
A pot or kettle for boiling the tomatoes. It really doesn't need to be that deep.
A stock pot, with a wire rack in the bottom, to keep jars elevated off the bottom. Just a simple hot water bath.
A bowl of ice water for cooling the tomatoes.
Canning jars, Lids, and Rings.
A clean towel.
A pair of tongs for removing and adding the jars to the boiling water bath.
And the most important part of salsa making, that is often over looked, a really sharp knife. This little gem pictured here is my personal favorite. Hand crafted, High carbon tool steel blade, super thin, and razor sharp. When you are dicing boiled tomatoes, quality really does matter. For those interested, this one was crafted by Cory Tole, over at Altered Bladeworks. They are REALLY reasonably priced custom one-of-a-kind blades.
Step 3: Getting Started
Get started by filling your water bath half full of water, and begin heating it. In the end it will need to be at a full boil, but that takes a while for a pot that big.
Then start heating your kettle (or deep frying pan) of water for boiling the tomatoes.
You will begin by boiling the tomatoes. They need to boil for 3 to 4 minutes is all. Just until the skins split apart on them.
Once the skin splits, place them in the ice water bath to quickly cool them.
Step 4: Process the Tomatoes
Once they have cooled in the ice water, the skins should peel right off super easy.
Then remove the core end. Nobody wants to bite into that in their salsa.
Dice them up nice and small (or larger if you like REALLY chunky salsa), and drain the excess fluid in a strainer while you process the rest of the veggies. This is the part where you need a super sharp blade. Dicing boiled tomatoes is tricky enough with a sharp blade, no need to ruin the experience for yourself by using a dull knife.
Step 5: Processing the Other Veggies
This stage is relatively self explanatory. Take all the peppers, hot peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro and dice it up nice and small.
Once you are done, mix it all together in a large pot, and add the salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
Thoroughly mix it all together in a large bowl or pot, making sure it is really well mixed so the hot peppers and spices are evenly distributed.
Step 6: Jarring the Salsa
Once it is all mixed, begin filling the canning jars. you will want to fill them up until the last half of an inch.
Clean the rims of the jars, and place the lids on each jar.
Then screw a ring on each jar, until snug, but not TIGHT. Air will still need to escape the jars when you boil them.
Step 7: Canning
Carefully place the jars in the boiling water bath, being sure that the water is around 2 inches over the top of the jars.
Boil them for 16 minutes, on a full boil. This cooks the salsa, as well as preserves it.
When finished, remove them, tighten the rings, and place them on your clean towel to cool, for about 12 hours.
When cooled you will know if they properly sealed by whether or not the lids are sucked down and depressed from the vacuum sealing.
Step 8: Stay Awesome!!
Take pride in the fact that you created something awesome!
You deserve it! You made something fresh, that you, your friends, and your family will enjoy for up to a year!
And the taste... so much better than anything you buy in the store.
Thanks for taking the time to read all this. See you next time!