Each year, we are inundated with tomatoes in the garden. In our excitement for spring, we always end up with several more plants than we actually need. At first it starts out OK with just a few, but now it’s the beginning of August, and the dams have burst. The tomato flow has turned from a gentle stream into a tsunami. We are harvesting our little hearts out! That said, one of my favorite ways to use this plethora of veggie-like fruit is to make my fabulous spicy salsa. My hot peppers didn’t do well this year, so I traded some Persimmon slicing tomatoes with a friend and obtained some beautiful Habaneros. Those little wonders go a long way in creating a salsa that has the perfect amount of heat.
Of course I know that ‘the perfect amount of heat’ is different for everyone. Some, like my sister, feel that spicy food is entirely overrated, and sticks with the completely bland ‘mild’. Some, like my brother-in-law and myself, have a specific definition of perfect heat. To us, the perfect salsa makes your nose run a bit, and even makes your eyes water just a tad. You can’t lose any of the flavor, but there’s just something about a spice that sticks with you for a few minutes after you have stopped eating.
Speaking of heat, it is well worth mentioning that it has been in the nineties this whole week, and very high humidity. The canning I’m doing is happening late in the evening, so that it’s as cool as possible. In an effort to not heat up the house while canning, I use a propane burner outside, and put the water bath canner on it. Works like a charm! However, it is also worth mentioning that time management is the key to success here, as I can now tell you from first hand experience that canning in the dark is difficult!
The batch that I did made three full quart jars of salsa. I don’t often see people can salsa by the quart, usually it goes by the pint; but in my family, we eat some serious salsa. It goes on everything from eggs in the morning to chips to pizza. (Yes, I said pizza. I never said we were normal.)
I used a small food processor to chop up the veggies to this size, and I’m going to be honest here and say that I did NOT blanch the tomatoes and remove the skins. The food processor does such a nice job that it really isn’t necessary. If you are old school and really insist, remove the skins, but my taste testers never knew the difference. I tasted and added to my own satisfaction, and here is the recipe I came up with:
Simple Spicy Salsa
4 pounds of tomatoes
2 green peppers
6 hot peppers
2 medium white onions
2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
I process the veggies, and add to a large stock pot. I bring them to a boil and add the seasoning. I keep it going for about twenty minutes, until the salsa thickens up the way I want it. We like a medium consistency, not super thick but not like puree either. Then I process in the water bath for twenty-five minutes and cool. All three cans sealed up before I even got them back in the house!
And there’s the finished product! It just looks so darn yummy I can’t wait to dig in!