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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thursday Recipe - Easy Bottled Salsa

This is the fastest, easiest salsa recipe I've ever used. It's just four ingredients. I bottled it in quart jars. My kids devoured it as soon as it was opened. All six quarts disappeared within a couple of months. I originally meant to use this for chili, but it was so good as just salsa we ate it plain.

As always, if you are going to bottle it, follow the recommendations for home canning and storage. This site is a great resource. Once my tomatoes start producing, I'm going to try all those lovely recipes on the site and see how they turn out.

Easy Bottled Salsa

lots of fresh ripe tomatoes

For each quart bottle:
3-4 jalapeƱo peppers (more for hotter salsa)
1/4 c. vinegar (5% acidity, use commercial white or cider vinegar)
1 T. canning/pickling salt (this doesn't have additives that can discolor your product)

To prep tomatoes:
Wash the tomatoes in cold water. Remove stems.

Get a really large pot and fill it with hot water. Bring to a boil. Drop tomatoes into the boiling water. Boil for 1-2 minutes, until skins start to split. Remove from the boiling water and dump into a large sink or bowl filled with very cold water. I use my pasta cooker because it makes getting the tomatoes in and out of the water easier.

Once the tomatoes cool down, pull off the skin and discard. Chop tomatoes into large chunks. If they have bruised spots or bad spots, cut them out and discard them.

To prep peppers:
USE GLOVES!!! I didn't use them once because I thought, I'm just doing a couple of peppers, I'll be careful. I had hot pepper juice on my hands for a couple of days despite washing with soap and everything else I could think of. I got it on my nose, in my eyes—you get the picture. Use gloves and be careful!

Wash the peppers. Slice them lengthwise into halves. If you want less heat, scrape out the seeds and membranes and discard. Slice off the stem end and discard. Chop the peppers into small pieces. One pepper should yield about 1-2 tablespoons of chopped bits.

To make the salsa:
Shove tomato chunks into a clean quart jar until it's about half full. Make sure you smash them down to eliminate air pockets. Add peppers on top of tomatoes. If you want hotter salsa, use hotter peppers and/or add more pieces. For milder salsa, you can use banana peppers or just put a lot fewer pepper bits in the jar. Add the 1/4 c. vinegar and the 1 T. pickling salt. Finish filling the jar with more tomatoes until about 1/2 inch from the top.

Clean off the top rim. Use a fresh canning lid and process in a water bath to seal according to your local area recommendations. I usually process quarts for 35-40 minutes, but I'm also at about 5500 feet altitude. The higher your altitude, the longer you need to process jars. Let the jars cool completely.

Shake up the salsa to distribute the peppers and salt. Wash off the outside of the jar. Store in a cool dry place.

Or just make a quart or two and keep it in the fridge for up to a week. Eat fresh!