I think I’m a little crazy. . . and those who know me probably would agree!
Why, you ask?
Well, every summer I grow my own tomatoes . . . and I don’t really like tomatoes.
I grow my own tomatoes partly so I that I will be able to can my own salsa . . . and I’m not a big salsa lover!
Yeah, that’s weird.
The first year that I grew tomatoes, I had so many of them that I didn’t know what to do with them. So I asked a friend for her salsa canning recipe. Now I have made this salsa for four years, so when I recently used Aldi’s salsa in a recipe–I didn’t like the taste! So I decided that I better keep up the canning of my own salsa!
I use the salsa mainly in the different recipes I make that require salsa. I use it in my Make-Ahead Burritos and in my **slow cooker cheese dip** that I use with tortilla chips. **(I just put a 2 pound block of Velveeta cheese (Aldi’s generic version), one pint of my homemade Jalapeno Salsa, and 1 can of refried beans in a medium size crockpot. I heat it on low or high depending on how much time I have until the cheese is melted. I use this for large get-togethers!)**
Now, I have to add a few disclaimers about this salsa:
(I know I’m not selling this very well, but I’m trying to be brutally honest with my opinions! Some of you may love to can your food. I am neutral: I don’t love all the work, but I like the end result!)
- I have never tried another kind of homemade canned salsa, so I have nothing to which to compare my recipe.
- There is no magic amount of jalapeno peppers to add. Sometimes I get it a little spicy! (Which might be perfect for some people–I like my salsa mild!)
- It takes a long time to prepare. Every time I make it, I think, “Is all this work really worth it?” It is if you like the taste of it better than store-bought salsa (which I do), and if you like more organic/home-grown foods. There are no preservatives, additives, or food coloring. And it is a cost savings–even over Aldi’s salsa. However, it took me about 3 hours to do make 7 pints of salsa (12 cups of tomatoes). My tomatoes were small, so maybe it took me longer than it would if I had large tomatoes as I had to core and peel every single stinkin’ little tomato!
- I would highly recommend having a food chopper/processor. I used to only have a mini 2-cup food processor, and even that was wonderful in chopping all those vegetables/fruits. I burned up the little processor’s motor this past year and invested in a 9 cup food processor, and it was wonderful! I really admire all those homesteaders years ago who canned all their food–and did it all by hand. It makes me feel quite lazy every time I can salsa and complain how time-consuming it is!
Here is the original Jalapeno Salsa recipe as it was given to me– and then I will put in parentheses what I actually did. If I used the amount of jalapeno peppers that the recipe called for, I think I would be on fire forever! I rally don’t see how that could be the right measurement, but I’ll include it just for fun!!
- 3 cups chopped peeled, cored tomatoes (I did 12 cups of tomatoes. I would wash and core the tomatoes, boil hot water, pour it over the tomatoes, let them sit in the hot water for about a minute, then pour the hot water off, and peel the skin off the tomatoes. Then I would chop them. I would put the chopped tomatoes in my 8 cup measuring cup until it was full; then pour the tomatoes into a big six quart stockpot. When I got done with my tomatoes, I would adjust all my other measurements according to the tomatoes. So here, I had 4 times the amount of tomatoes, so I quadrupled the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the Jalapeno Peppers.
- 1 cup chopped onions I did 4 cups chopped yellow onions.
- 6 cloves garlic minced (I only minced about 19 cloves--so thankful for my garlic press, or buy the pre-minced garlic in a jar!)
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro I did 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup cilantro.
- 2 teaspoons oregano I did 8 teaspoons oregano.
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt I did 2 tablespoons salt.
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin I did 2 teaspoons cumin
- 3 cups chopped jalapeno peppers DO NOT QUADRUPLE THIS--CUT THIS WAY DOWN!!! I only did 2 cups of peppers for 12 cups of tomatoes, and it was still a little too spicy! Although it wasn't too spicy when it was in my cheese dip recipe. I think I should have only done 1 1/2 cups of peppers. ALSO--Make sure you wear gloves when cutting/handling the peppers, and do not touch your eyes or mouth!
- 1 cup cider vinegar I added 4 cups of cider vinegar.
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Screw on lids and process 15 minutes in boiling water canner. Yield: @3 pints (I got 7 pints for my measurements.)
I find that the tomatoes and vegetables cook down, and I do not want watery salsa. So when I am putting the salsa into the jar, I use a spoon with very tiny holes that the juice can drain out of so that most of what goes into the jar is actual salsa. When I get to the very end of the salsa, I pour it into a colander that is mesh with tiny holes. I place the colander over a pan to catch all the juice. I put all the salsa that is in the colander into a jar, and if it needs a little juice, I pour some from the pan into the jar. Then I throw the rest of the liquid in the pan out.
While I am preparing the salsa, I put the jars that I have washed out into the water canner with water that I heat to boiling. The water needs to be boiling when you put the jars filled with salsa into it, and this also sterilizes the jars.