Monday, September 28, 2009

Salsa and a Recipe

The past month I've been in Salsa mode. I've never canned salsa before so I really wasn't sure where to start. I didn't have many tomatoes that I grew to use so I had to pick up tomatoes from the farmers market. I ended up with 1/2 a bushel for I think it was $9.00. Then I also picked up green peppers, jalepeno peppers and onions. I do hope to plant enough to not have to go to the farmers market next year.

For my first batch of salsa I just cut up some tomatoes (after blanching them) and did a boiled water bath canning method with a packet of Ball salsa that I picked up at the store. This was just ok. After sitting for awhile it might be better but I definately didn't love it.

After doing lots of looking online I found a recipe that has gotten lots of feedback so I wanted to give it a try. I found the recipe at garden web, it's Annie's Salsa.

Here's the recipe with my own notes in parenthesis

Annie's Salsa
8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
2-1/2 cups onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups green pepper, chopped
3 - 5 jalapenos, chopped - 3-5 jalapenos equates to roughly 1/4 cup, so total peppers cannot exceed 1-3/4 cups. (I used 4 jalepenos)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons pepper
1/8 cup canning salt (I used what I had on hand, sea salt)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (I didn't add this, they say you can add it fresh when you open a jar which I tried once and did not like it)
1/3 cup sugar (I think next time around I will decrease this, I didn't really like the sweet taste)
1 cup vinegar - Pressure canning is no longer recommended, which specified 1/3 cup vinegar. Must include full 1 cup of vinegar for BWB processing. However, may substitute bottled lemon or lime juice in any proportions according to taste (for example, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/3 cup lime juice). Can use any flavor vinegar (white, cider, etc.) as long as acidity is at least 5%. (I used 1/2 cup vinegar & 1/2 cup lemon juice)
2 cups (16 oz.) tomato sauce (I just used a can which I think was 14 or 15 oz)
2 cups (16 oz.)tomato paste (I only added 8 oz because I didn't want it too thick)

Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Pour into hot pint jars, seal and process in a hot water canning bath for 15 minutes. Makes about 6 pints. >Cannot BWB quarts. If doing half-pints or smaller, process for the pint time of 15 minutes.

I ended up making 3 batches of this and it's mmmm good! My second batch scortched a little but I canned it anyway and marked the jars in case it tastes bad, all that work I really couldn't toss it out. I just won't use it for gifts :)

I only made two batches with the 1/2 bushel of tomatoes and I had lots of tomatoes left, probably could've made another batch but I didn't have enough of the other ingredients so I just blanched the rest of the tomatoes and put them in quart freezer bags to use in recipes this winter. Oh and after draining all the tomatoes as I made the salsa I ended up with 2 quarts of tomatoe juice too that I canned! I just cooked the juice for a bit in hopes to thicken it, put it in the jars added about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and put them in BWB.

Harvest & Canning

I've been busy busy with some canning and freezing. It's just me and my hubby but I enjoy canning and it'll be such a treat opening a fresh jar of salsa or jam in the middle of winter.

I made up about 4 batches of salsa so far and have been debating on making up some more, it's a lot of work but it's so good and with Christmas gifts I'm afraid we'll run out even before 2010. We'll see though I have a ton of apples to take care of right now.

Just this last weekend I picked up 3 pie pumpkins and I had what I thought was 2 other pumpkins the weekend before. I found out those 2 are ambercup squash, well I'm going to treat them as pumpkins and see how that works :) I spent all afternoon yesterday pureeing the 3 pumpkins and one of the squash. This was super easy to do and for $4.00 I got a ton of pureed pumpkin to use. I think I ended up with 18 1/2 cups total! I think I could supply my whole family with pumpkin for our famous choc. chip pumpkin muffins.

I am horrible at printing off recipes that I have found online so maybe I'll just note a couple recipes on my blog so I know where I can find them come next year :)

First the instructions for pureeing the pumpkins (I should've taken pics but I followed the same instructions over at Pioneer Woman)

First I snapped the stem off then cut the pumpkin in half. This was not an easy task and I was sure I was going to be heading to the ER with a my finger cut off or something. I ended up using my Ulu knife that we got in AK and it worked much better. Next scrape out the seeds, no need to get real picky with all the string stuff.

Heat oven to 350, place the pumpkins on a baking sheet (I put mine in cut side up) and bake for about 45 mins. or until tender when poked with a fork.

Let the pumpkins cool a bit and scrape the peeling off, cut into chunks and throw into the food processor and puree. Water might need to be added if they're too dry.

After pureeing I used my Pampered Chef measuring cup (the one that works awesome for p.b.) and measured out 1 cup at a time then put it into quart size freezer bags, squeezed the air out and stacked them into freezer.

All of this really took me longer than I thought, I'd say about 4 hrs. But I really think I'll be happy I've got all that pumpkin ready to use. I was anxious to see how good this pumpkin would be so I made up a batch of my choc chip pumpkin muffins right away. I thought they turned out pretty good, they seemed to be a bit sweeter so I think I could cut the sugar down on my recipe a bit next time.

Maybe if I remember I'll snap a pic of all the pumpkin stacked up in the freezer to share.