There is little that is more satisfying to me in the domestic world than doing it myself; from growing food, to making bread and canning preserves, crafts and decorating, and even sewing projects. All the things you would find a good fifties house wife doing, even if you know that I am anything but that! The good news is that doing-it-yourself is making a comeback with our stinky economy and zombies on the rise. So, what did you expect me to do when I found a box of second tomatoes at the local farm for only six dollars? Add all the peppers and I probably spent less than $1 on each jar of fresh homemade salsa! How did I do it?
15 c. peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes
3 c. fine chopped red onion
1 c. chopped sweet bell pepper
3-5 minced jalapenos
3-5 minced peppers, aneheim, pablano, habanero!
3 cloves crushed garlic
2 c. cider or red wine vinegar
1 ½ Tbs. sea salt (use less for table salt)
3 Tbs. turbinado sugar
1/4 c. tomato paste
1 ½ Tbs. chili powder
½ tsp. celery seed
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Fresh chopped cilantro to taste
1 can pineapple or peaches (optional)
The instructions are too easy for this one: mix all the ingredients in a non-reactive pot, cook on medium for about ten minutes or until vegetables are wilted. This salsa will keep in the fridge for a couple weeks, but, if you want to preserve your salsa for later then jar it and process in a 20 minute water bath according to instructions on Freshpreserving.com for food handling safety.
But of course I have a few tips and tricks. First, from experience, you must wear rubber gloves while chopping hot peppers! One time the juices burned my hands (and subsequently my eyes!) and for days they were on fire. Second, test those peppers to see how hot they really are – yes, you have to taste them – because you never know and you might want to use less or more depending on how hot you like salsa. And why not double as long as you are going to the trouble in the first place, but hopefully you will have a food processor to help you with the chopping!
Here’s a bonus tip for you, too! After I have added all the veggies to the pot, but before I put in vinegar and spices, I mix everything really well and let the flavors meld for a few minutes. I then strain the liquid into a medium sized sauce pan. Once you get this liquid on a slow boil, add a 1/2 cup of vinegar, a ¼ tsp. red cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. chili powder and black pepper to taste and keep it simmering until it is reduced to at least a quarter of it's original mass. And voila, you also have taco sauce!
As far as this recipe in concerned, you can add or omit many of the ingredients as long as you stick to the tomato to vinegar ratio. For example – I love cilantro and will put a whole cup in my recipe, but some people in my house wish I had only put in a couple tablespoons! If you want to omit the sugar or spices, you can and then use other seasonings as well. Don’t like too many peppers? Want to throw in other veggies or fruit? Make it yours, but just make it!
And when you are done, maybe you can make a yummy chicken and white bean soup to top it on!?