Tuesday, October 14, 2014

As Promised, A Salsa Story

This year I grew a very tiny garden with only four tomato plants. I also grew bell & jalapeno peppers. I knew that I wanted to make salsa.

Since my tomatoes were ripening at different times, I used the peeling method I learned from The Mrs Volfie at Our Half Acre Homestead.

As each tomato ripened, I put it into my freezer.  On Saturday I peeled them all using the method in the video above.

I then had a big pot of peeled, frozen tomatoes.  I cut them up with a knife into chunks as they thawed and kept draining the excess water from the pot.

I then added bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, yellow and red onions and some cilantro paste.  A tablespoon of pickling salt and a squirt of lime juice.  I brought it to a boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes to further thicken the salsa.  This is a 10L pot.

I prepared my jars by washing them and got my lids ready in hot water.  The tall canner you see on the stove is for pressure or steam canning but in this case I use it as a water-bath canner.  I fill it with water and let it heat up to get ready.

Once the jars are filled and the lids are on, I put them in the water and let it boil for 15 minutes.  For this to work, the jars need to be covered by at least an inch of water.

I removed them one by one with the special jar lifter.  They need to cool on a low heat-conductive surface like my wooden cutting board.  As the salsa cools down, each lid will 'pop' and demonstrate that a vacuum seal has been created.  This prevents any bacteria getting into the jar and allows you to store at room temperature in the cupboard.  Just like store-bought salsa.

Final yield, 7 one-litre jars of salsa and one tiny 'leftovers' jar to go in the fridge.  Its delicious and I know its good because I made it myself.  The whole project took be 15 minutes of peeling, then I waited a few hours for the tomatoes to thaw, then did the prep and canning in about an hour.

I really enjoy this stuff and is saves money too.  The ROI is hard to calculate since so much of the contents came from my garden.

If you're interested in learning more about canning, I recommend The Mrs. Volfie on YouTube.

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