Roasted Corn Salsa

Intro: Roasted Corn Salsa

So you had a corn boil and about half of that last dozen didn't get eaten? Strip the corn from those cobs, gather some other produce of the season from your garden or farmers' market, a can of black beans, and make this salsa!

(You can cook the corn fresh too, if you want to. No need to use leftovers!)

Making 5 to 6 pints when canned, this hearty salsa can warm a few winter meals!

Step 1: The Tools You Need

1. The pan to roast your corn in. I used a carbon steel wok. A cast iron skillet or heavy-duty stainless steel fry pan will also work.

2. A large spoon to stir the roasting corn with and also to blend the full salsa.

3. A good chopping knife for cutting up tomatoes and peppers.

4. Paring knife for peeling the garlic, halving cherry tomatoes (if you are using), and cutting corn from cobs.

5. Garlic press to produce crushed garlic. If you don't have one, you can use your chopping knife on the flat to crush peeled garlic and then finely mince it.

6. Measuring spoons and cups.

7. Water-process canning equipment: kettle, rack, jar lifter, jars, lids. This Instructable will not teach you how to can, but it does set up the recipe to can this salsa. Here is one of several Instructables that will teach you home canning basics.

Step 2: Gather Your Ingredients

1. 6 cups cut corn. Cook the corn via your preferred method If you roast the corn on the BBQ, you can skip the pan-roasting step. To cut the corn, hold a cooled cob upright in a low dish or plate and slice the kernals off close to the cob from top to bottom with a paring knife. There will be slabs of kernals, but you will break them up while pan-roasting the corn and mixing the salsa. Measure and put them aside in a bowl or other container if pan-roasting; otherwise into the salsa pan they go!.

2. 6 cups diced tomatoes. You can be as bland as all Romas, or mix in some heritage varieties. I used some blueberry tomatoes (a prolific dark-skinned cherry tomato) along with some Romas. Combine whatever you have, but meaty tomatoes will work better than slicers.The little tomatoes I cut in half and the Romas I cut in half-inch dice. Put them in the salsa pan when prepared.

3. 1 cup mixed green peppers, in quarter-inch dice. The more sweet green pepper you use, the milder the salsa heat. Poblanos and a few jalapeños definitely take it up a notch. Put them in the salsa when chopped. Keep some of your really hot peppers in reserve to adjust heat upwards before you can the salsa. I threw a small brown (the color just before red as they ripen) cayenne in this batch at the end because I knew hubby would want it hotter!

4. 1 tablespoon crushed garlic.-- or more. I went with more since I had a decent garlic harvest this year -- and I like garlic. Put it in the salsa pan when prepared.

5. 2 cups cooked black beans (or a 19 oz can). If using canned, rinse them fore adding to the salsa pan. Why black? Flavour! Colour! They're of a nice size for chip scooping too.

6. 4 teaspoons olive oil for the pan-roasting.

7. 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste.

8. 4 cups white vinegar (5%). The quantity and the acidity rating are both important for safe canning of this salsa.

9. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional). I had some on hand and wanted to mute the harshness of the white vinegar a bit.

Step 3: Pan-roasting the Corn

If you roasted your corn on the BBQ and are happy with its color, you can skip this step.

Do this 3 cups at a time for good control of the process.

Put 2 teaspoons of olive oil in your pan. Turn on the heat under it and add 3 cups of corn. Lower the heat to medium to medium-high. Stir the corn until it just starts to carmelize. You will smell a deeper corn smell and see some kernels getting touches of brown (see second photo above). If there is no excess moisture with the corn, the process should complete in about five minutes..

Put the corn into the salsa pot. Clean the roasting pan, add 2 more teaspoons of olive oil, be sure the second three cups of corn are drained (corn juice may have gathered in the bottom of your bowl), add to the pan and roast as above.

Step 4: Using Fresh

Maybe you don't want to can this? Maybe you're having a "day-after-corn-boil" party? You can use it fresh -- after it's had some time in the fridge to blend flavors, particularly of the peppers and garlic.

If you are preparing this for a large group, such as family or a gathering of hot-heads, you can add enough lime juice (at least a cup) to capture and blend the ingredient flavors and salt to taste. Make it in the morning. Serve it in the late afternoon or evening. May you and the crowd enjoy!

Step 5: Prep the Salsa for Canning

Stir the salsa pot to blend the ingredients. This salsa is a very low-acid foodstuff and its acidity must be raised so it can be safely canned using the water-bath process.

Add 4 cups of white vinegar. You can also use apple cider vinegar, but it must contain 5% acetic acid (all types of vinegar fermentation produce acetic acid); commercial brands usually do. Since I used white vinegar, I added a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar for some additional flavor notes.

Stir again to blend and let sit covered while you prep your jars and canner.

Step 6: Preserve Salsa by Canning

You cannot safely do this unless you have used the full 4 cups of 5% acetic acid vinegar!

Wash and sterilize your jars. I usually put my jars in my canner with the lids off and filled with water and water around them and bring it all to a boil. Then the water and the jars are ready at the same time.

Bring your salsa to a boil. Cut the heat. Sample the "broth". Hot (as in spicy) enough for you? If not, add the pepper you held in reserve. Add salt to taste now as well. Cook until the peppers turn a darker green, about 5 minutes.

Pour hot water over your jar lids to warm them. Fill your hot jars to 3/4 inch of the top of the jar., then be sure the salsa solids are covered with liquid and there are no air gaps within the salsa in the jar. But be careful to leave a half inch gap between the salsa and jar lid.

Put on the jar lids and put in the water bath. There should be at least an inch of water over the jar tops. The jars need to be fully immersed all during the water process. Cover and bring to boil. Once the boil is achieved, lower your heat to keep a gentle boil going for 15 minutes. Keeping canner covered minimizes boil off (and additional moist heat going into your kitchen!). Once your timer dings, turn off the heat and remove the cover. Let sit for five minutes. Then remove jars from the water bath to a surface away from drafts (a cold draft can shock jars into breaking).

With standard metal lids, you should hear a pop when the lid snaps down in a vacuum seal. You should be able to feel the down dimple in a sealed lid with your finger. If any jars do not seal, they should be put in the refrigerator and used from there. Sealed jars can be stored in a dark, cool pantry or cellar.

Step 7: Salsa Uses

... with tortilla chips, like any salsa. Or how about in tacos, tostados, or quesadillas? Then there's nachos: this salsa combines will with shredded chicken and cheese, or omit the chicken for a vegetarian version. Don't forget the guac! I've also used it in chilis and soups.

Enjoy!

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