Canning and Preserving · Salsa · Stocking Up · Tomatoes

Jalapeño Salsa

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This recipe comes from Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving.  The book says you'll get about six 8-ounce jars or three pints.  I got five 8-ounce jars plus a little (maybe a quarter cup) left over, which was nice because I got to taste it.  The rest of the jars will sit for at least 3 more weeks, as the book recommends letting the salsa mature "to mellow and round out the outstanding flavor."

Here are the ingredients (and some pictures and my commentary):

3 cups chopped cored peeled tomatoes

3 cups chopped seeded jalapeño peppers

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup cider vinegar

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

2 tsp dried oregano (I used two tablespoons of finely chopped fresh instead)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin

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I used a variety of tomatoes, including this White Tomasol.  This is the first year we've grown them, and I'm so glad we did.  It's got a mild flavor, and I love the unusual color.

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Gorgeous jalapenos from our garden.

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I hate chopping peppers and having the seeds fly all over the place.  So this is how I chop them.

I didn't have quite enough for the recipe with those jalapenos, so I also used a couple of other types of pepper from the garden.  This "Red Rocket" is a sweeter hot pepper that we planted to provide additional red color when we're making Red Curry Paste.

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One of the nice things, besides the sweet/hot flavor, about this pepper is that it's got lots of flesh and relatively few seeds.

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Pretty.

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Next, the onion…

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I try to be tough, but onions always make my eyes water.  I try forcing my eyes to STAY open, so that my eyes will water a lot and flush away the onion gas more quickly.

It works, but then I can’t see….
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Now the cider vinegar…

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And garlic – from our garden.  I love our gardens.

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And, finally, the cilantro, salt, oregano and cumin.

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1.  Prepare canner, jars and lids.

This means you check the jars for chips or cracks, then wash them in hot, soapy water.  Same with the lids.  Always use new lids when you are canning – the seal is probably compromised in used lids.  Wash and rinse the other items you’ll be using, too.  Set the tools and bands (the part you tighten around the lid) aside on a clean surface.  Place the lids in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer, then drop the heat and keep them warm while you prepare your food.  The jars go into a pot.  Fill them with water to the rim if they’re smaller (4 or 8 oz jars) and cover with about an inch of water if they’re larger jars.  Bring the water to a simmer, then drop the heat down and keep these warm until use.

Place the rack in the bottom of your canning pot, add water, and start to slowly warm that water.  You’ll be placing hot, filled jars in it, and you don’t want to lower the temperature of those jars; you want to heat them more.  If the water is already warm, it’ll finish heating more quickly.

NOW you’re ready to go.

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2.  In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, onions, vinegar, garlic, cilantro, oregano, salt and cumin. 

IMG_5853 Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. 

IMG_5856 Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

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3.  Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot salsa.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resitance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

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4.  Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process both 8-ounce and pint jars for 15 minutes.  Remove canner lid.  Wait for 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

IMG_5868 Now, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the recipe recommends letting the salsa sit for several weeks to enhance the flavor. 

That’s all well and good, but if you’re lucky, there’ll be some left in the pot – too little to put in a jar – that you can sample.

I was lucky.  There wasn’t a lot left; just enough me to sample some then and save a bit for Bill to try later.

IMG_5859It was pretty tasty.  A little sweet, a little hot.  Very nice flavor and worth making again.

IMG_5862 I’m looking forward to opening one of those jars a couple of weeks from now.

But for now? 

Time for a trip out to the compost bin.

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