Friday, July 16, 2010


It is 10:21 Tuesday night as I am typing this. I am very, very tired, but won't be heading to bed for at least another hour. Why? The garden is going absolutely crazy after recent rains. It produced practically nothing for two weeks, but today....We picked a large laundry basket full of peas, four gallons of tomatoes, more okra than we want to eat, and two gallon buckets full of cucumbers. We didn't even make it to the green beans, but they need picking, too. Guess they'll have to wait until in the morning!

When the produce is ready, it's ready...and there's no putting off the work of getting it into canning jars or into the freezer. The kids have been shelling peas all evening, and I've just blanched and packed the first half of today's harvest into the freezer - seven quarts! Reuben diced onions and peppers for me to make salsa after I sliced my thumb chopping tomatoes.

Anyway, since I'm up late waiting for the salsa to finish simmering, I thought I'd type out the recipe we're using. I like salsa but am not big on really super hot. This recipe, given to me by Charles Harris of Hornbeak, is just right, in my opinion - a little warm, but not too hot. It tastes like summertime in a jar. If you want hotter salsa, add more of the hot peppers. Or, substitute a hotter variety (habanero maybe) for the jalapenos. Be sure to wear rubber gloves when handling and chopping the peppers.

24 tomatoes (13 cups)
24 hot peppers (we use jalapeno peppers, about thumb-sized - about 2 cups)
4 large bell peppers (4 3/4 cups)
6 onions (8 cups)

Chop all of the above fine. Place into a large sauce pot and bring to a boil slowly; simmer for 45 minutes. Add:

1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar (optional)
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. dried cilantro (or more to taste)

Mix all together and simmer another 45 minutes. Pack into hot jars. Process in a hot water bath for ten minutes to seal. Makes 10-11 pints of salsa.

(Note: I added a small can of tomato paste to the recipe to help thicken the salsa. If you choose to add the tomato paste, omit the sugar or your salsa will be too sweet. With or without tomato paste, this stuff is delicious!)

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