Fleur de Lis

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Lolly's Home Canned Thick and Chunky Salsa

Today was Salsa Making Day.  Emphasis on Day.  This is not an endeavor to be entered into when you are rushed or if you don't love the process of canning.  Thankfully, today I had the time and I always have the love of canning.  If I wanted to be technical and precise, I would state not that this recipe made exactly 14 pints.  But I'm never technical nor precise so I will tell you it made 1 quart, 10 pints and 4 half pints.  It's how I roll.

Here's a picture of our ingredients.

Isn't that beautiful?  The very freshest ingredients just waiting to be handled with love and attention and transformed into a wonderful salsa to be enjoyed by family and friends.  I did mention this is a labor of love, right?

100 Roma tomatoes (Yes, 100.  Not 101, not 99)
1 large orange bell pepper, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup seeded and diced jalapenos
2 Serrano peppers, seeded and diced
2 Cayenne peppers, seeded and diced
4 cups onions, chopped
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 cup white vinegar (pickling strength)
12 oz. tomato paste
1 head garlic (cloves separated, peeled and minced)
1 T. ground cumin
2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. Kosher salt
1 T. paprika
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed and leaves finely chopped

Let's get started.  Wash the tomatoes and remove stems.

Next, in a large pot, bring 5 - 6 inches of water to a boil.  Take 8 - 10 tomatoes at a time and using a very sharp knife, make a very shallow "X" in the stem end of the tomato and drop them into the water.

Within about a minute or so, the skins will begin to crack and will separate from the tomato.  At that point, scoop them out and place them in an ice water bath to stop their cooking.

Continue until all the tomatoes are ready to be peeled.  Slip off the peels and discard.

Coarsely chop the tomatoes, discarding the core.  You will need to either put them in a colander (for at least 20 - 25 minutes) or drain them well.  You want as much juice to drain off as possible.  

Place the chopped tomatoes in a large stock pot or Dutch oven (I used my 9 1/4 quart Le Creuset) and slowly bring to a simmer.  

Let the tomatoes simmer uncovered for at least 1 1/2 hours.  Make sure you stir often so they don't stick.  This is what the tomatoes will look like after the 1 1/2 hours of simmering.

While the tomatoes are simmering, chop and mince the onions and peppers and garlic.  Place them all in a large bowl along with the vinegar, lime juice, seasonings, tomato paste and cilantro.

Slowly add the veggie mixture into the tomatoes and gently stir to combine them.

Simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered, and remove from heat.

Very carefully (it's hot!) ladle the salsa into hot, sterilized pint sized canning jars.  Leave about 1/2 inch headspace.  Gently wipe rims with a damp paper towel.  Place lids on the jars and then add the rings.  Don't screw them on too tightly.

Process the jars in a boiling water bath (make sure water covers the tops of the jars by at least 1 inch) for 15 minutes after the water returns to boiling.

Carefully remove the jars from the water and cool on a wire rack or folded towels on the table or counter.  

Now the fun begins of listening for the "PING!" as the jars seal.  Let the jars remain still and undisturbed until cool.  If any of the jars don't seal, place in refrigerator and eat within a few days.

If you want more heat to the salsa, use peppers with more heat.  If you don't like a hot flavor to your salsa, use more bell peppers and decrease the amount of jalapenos.

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