It’s so hard to believe that today is the first day of September! Where did the summer go? This is when I wish I had young children heading back to school. I used to love going to pick up new school supplies for the kids, getting them ready for school. But, alas, those days are gone. I like to occasionally watch “You’ve Got Mail” – Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan. Remember the line about bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils? That’s fall!!!!
But with that hint of fall (or threat of fall) comes the harvest! For me, that means preserving some of those wonderful tastes to savour later. We headed out to a local market (on a farm) close by our home. There we picked up a basket of tomatoes and a variety of peppers. I couldn’t wait to get home and get going! I needed some new canning jars so we also made a quick stop at Canadian Tire (love that place!) and bought jars, AND best of all, a new set of pots – clad – by KitchenAid. Gotta tell ya, they are wonderful! They were on sale, 70% off, so how could I resist? Actually, it was my husband Scott who said to get them. No way was I going to say no to that one! So, now I have new jars and new pots!
Back home in the kitchen, the work began. Prepping the tomatoes – I blanched them to make them easy to peel, then chopped them. I needed 18 cups of the chopped tomatoes. Then all the peppers! Yikes! 8 cups of cubanelles, 2 cups of jalapeno peppers, and 2 cups of sweet red peppers. Careful when doing the jalapeno peppers – you need to wear rubber gloves so that you don’t get burned. Yep. You will! It’s actually the seeds that are the culprits, so do be careful! Also had to chop 2 cups of onions, 8 cloves of minced garlic. and threw the entire thing into a very large pot!
Add to that 4 cups of cider vinegar, 2 (5 1/2 oz) tins tomato paste, 4 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp salt, 4 tsp paprika, 2 tsp dried oregano. Stir it all up, carefully, and bring the mixture to a gentle boil stirring frequently. Then reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour and a half. The mixture should coat a spoon when it’s ready to can. I love that term… CAN…. it’s really “Jarred” but meh, whatever! Pour the salsa into sterilized jars leaving about a 1/2″ air space at the top. Seal and place into a hot water bath for about 20 minutes. Use proper canning tools here – you’ll need a wide mouth funnel to pour the salsa into the jars, and jar tongs to lift the jars out of the hot water. My sister-in-law told me that she recently started using ‘hot gloves’ – kind of like heavy-duty rubber gloves that you can use in extremely hot water to reach in and grab the jars rather than using the tongs. Try it, and let me know! Anyway, when you remove the jars from the hot water bath you’ll need to tighten the lids a bit. Sit them on a clean tea towel – you’ll hear the lids ‘snap’ closed which seals the jars tight! Once they are cool, you can store them until you are ready to use them – or better yet, take a jar with you next time you are invited to dinner as a hostess gift!
Salsa is done, and in the jars now. So excited!
Next project – putting up tomatoes! Imagine the freshness of a jar of your very own tomatoes in the middle of winter? Nothing out of a can from your grocery store, but from your own hard work, your own kitchen? Yummy!!!
Now, where are the nacho chips?
p.s. for canning preserves, find a good book on preserving or an online tutorial – follow the directions for filling jars, water baths, etc. It is crucial that you do this properly. This post is strictly on making salsa…as in the recipe! Enjoy!!
16 c chopped/peel tomatoes
8 c Cubanelle (or sweet banana peppers)
4 c chopped onions
2 c chopped sweet red peppers
2 c chopped jalapeno peppers
8 cloves garlic
4 c cider vinegar
2 cans (5 1/2 oz) tomato paste
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp Salt
4 tsp paprika
2 tsp oregano
Makes approx. 16-18 cups of salsa.