How to make the BEST SALSA ever - (we promise!)
Our family is a huge fan of salsa. After trying many ( many, many recipes, I finally got it right. There have been many folks who wanted me to tell them my recipe, but I never gave it to them. If you are reading this, consider yourself lucky. Here it is.
The one thing I have to tell you, is that I usually do 14 to 21 quarts in one day. ( the next day I am laying down due to pain- but it's worth it. )
Here are the things you need: adjust the amount of tomatoes accordingly.
1: Lots of tomatoes that you've grown from Dan Schantz Greenhouses. ( I use mostly Roma, Health Kick and a bucket of Heirlooms. TWO and 1/2 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes off the vine will produce about 14 jars of salsa. Since you need to drain the tomatoes so much, you don't end up with as much as you thought you would. You CAN decide to not drain too much, and make slightly watery salsa. No problem.
2: ONE 5 gallon bucket of mostly bell peppers, ( about 3/4 of a bucket. the rest will be hot peppers. )
3: Apple Cider Vinegar
5: Onions ( about 5 really large ones, chopped)
6: Cumin Powder
7: Pickled Jalapeno pepper ( or any commercial jar of peppers you find in the grocery store. I use a whole 16 oz jar of Mild pepper rings, jalapeno peppers or whatever I can find. I really just want the juice from the jar.
8: 3 tbs Garlic, minced ( I use the chopped or minced kind in a jar in the grocery store)
9: Food Processor or a blender
10: Mason canning jars, lids and rings.
11: a big pot for canning the jars.
12: a big pot for blanching the tomatoes.
13: Mrs. Wages Salsa Mix ( and I have tried them all. NO, they do
not give us a "kick back" for this mention...they are just the best ingredient for this salsa mix) There are some guidelines for measurements on the package... but I use my own since I use fresh ingredients. Just keep tasting the mixture. Save some the won't fit into jars for fresh - dinner tonight!
Start by rinsing your tomatoes. Core them using a sharp knife
Once your tomatoes are all clean and cored, put them into a hot water bath and blanch the skins off. About 6 minutes will do. ( some say less, but I do longer)
Keep doing this until all the tomatoes are done. Take them out of the hot boiling water, lay them out on anything to let them cool. Remove the skins when they are cool enough to handle.
In the meantime, wash sweet peppers and some hot. Cut each pepper into chunks, put into food processor for a second or two to make CHUNKS, not puree'. Just pulse. You can saute' the peppers and onions if you want to make them softer.
Check on your tomatoes... then repeat. Do the onions the same way.
Once your tomatoes are cooled down enough to remove skins, drain them in a colander, over the sink. Keep draining until most of the water has been removed from the tomatoes.
Put the tomatoes into the food processor and puree' them until they are a good chunky pulp.
Put your tomato puree' and the chunky pepper mix into a very large stock pot.
Add the Mrs. Wages Salsa Mix ( I buy it from Amazon, some grocery stores sell it. I use 2 large packets to each vat of tomato mixture. Just taste it- you'll figure it out) You may need some lemon juice if the taste isn't quite there...
Add the chopped onions, garlic and cumin. Add Vinegar, salt and the juice from that jar of peppers you bought from the store. Don't forget to drink wine while you are preparing this- it will take you all day long and you'll need to keep your strength up. (!)
Get creative- you can add taco seasoning if you want, sometimes I add V-8 juice if I have some sitting around.
Let this mixture come to a boil.
In another big canning pot, boil your quart jars.
Heat to boil the lids and clean the rings- put out towels and get ready for the canning process.
It's best to read the directions for the canning process, especially if you are new to canning. It's really not as scary as you think it is. Just boil the jars and keep piping hot until ready to use.
Make sure the lids ( those white lid things) are piping hot and never get cool until you are ready for them...
bring the salsa to a semi boil for about an hour - if its in a really big pot- and then take one jar out at a time from the water. Buying a pair of jar grabbers is the best thing.
Wipe each jar with a clean
paper towel after you fill it with salsa, put a lid on it ( ( head space means about 1" down from the top) then put a ring on it immediately- put it into a clean big pot of boiling water. Repeat after each jar. Once the last jar is in the boiling water ( make sure the water is 2" above the top of each jar!) just boil quarts for about 40 minutes. Once you bring them out, you will hear a POP! ( that is the lid sealing)
If you never hear a POP, or the lid can push down from the top- just refrigerate the jars and eat them within 2 weeks or so.