Sunday, October 18, 2009

SALSA SUNDAY: Making salsa to preserve

The last bounty of the garden -- or the farmers' market -- is in, and you are wondering what to do with big quantities of tomatoes and chiles. Canning them for use through the winter is a good way to go, and while it does involve some work, it isn't as onerous as it might seem at first.

The key is to use the right kinds of jars -- sealable Mason or Ball brand jars -- and to follow sterilization techniques for the jars, their lids and seals and for the equipment to be used in the canning process. Read here for information on the right jars and sterilization techniques. Do NOT attempt this without carrying out the sterilization as instructed.

After sterilizing the jars and equipment, you are ready to make salsa. Make it roughly in these proportions: For every pound of tomatoes, use 4 ounces of jalapeños, 4 ounces of milder chiles such as anaheims, 1/2 cup of onions, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 cup of vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
Peel tomatoes by scoring an X into the skin at the bottom, then blanch in boiling water for 10 seconds. The skin should come right off when pulled at the scoring. Chop tomatoes and onions, dice garlic. Seed and chop chiles.
Put all ingredients, including vinegar, into a pot and bring to a boil while stirring. Reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Spoon salsa into sterilized jars, wipe tops and sides and seal as indicated in sterilization instructions. Put filled and sealed salsa jars in boiling water for 15  minutes.
Your salsa should be preserved and can be stored in a cool, dry spot before use. When opening a jar for use, check for any signs of spoilage and discard if you find any. Refrigerate after opening.
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