Canning Salsa

Despite our best efforts this year we are not having a good tomato crop. No one here is. The long cold spring and lack of summer heat in Oregon (yes, I know the rest of the country was sweltering this year. You must have great tomatoes!) have contributed to the latest food trend of fried green tomatoes. We are getting enough for the occasional caprese salad and grilled tomato and cheese sandwiches but the only way to have enough tomatoes for canning is to buy them at a farmers market. Which is what I did.

So the other day Samuel and I made a big pot of salsa with a box of farmers market tomatoes. We go through a lot of salsa around here and it's nice to have some homemade organic salsa on the shelf.

The recipe I use came from a good friend who is a gifted floral designer. While feeding me her zesty salsa, Annie taught me about conditioning flowers for arrangements and how to make boutonnieres and corsages.

The salsa is delicious and easy so I thought I would pass it on to you.

This recipe is for canning so start with a twenty pound box of roma tomatoes.

I used my new food processor to dice the tomatoes. After proving himself careful enough, Samuel was thrilled to get a chance to work the machine and wield the knife on the tomatoes. If I work it right I may have another good sous chef in the kitchen.
After processing the tomatoes and putting them in a large pot, I used the food processor to chop a large onion (very large) and five or six jalepeno peppers (I removed the seeds), seven or eight cloves of fresh garlic and a large bunch of fresh cilantro.

I very quickly added the mess to the pot of tomatoes and stirred them under before the fumes could scald my eyeballs.

I then added a half cup of freshly squeezed lime juice, 2 1/2 cups of white vinegar, three tablespoons of salt, three tablespoons of sugar and one tablespoon of black pepper.

Before I added the vinegar (which is necessary to have the required amount of acidity for canning but does alter the flavor of the salsa) I saved out some fresh salsa for eating with tortilla chips immediately. Delicious!

After stirring in the vinegar I heated the salsa to a boil and simmered it for two or three hours to reduce and thicken the salsa a bit.

For canning I ladeled the hot salsa into clean jars, screwed on the lids and put them in a water bath canner of hot water. After bringing the water to a boil I processed the quart jars for 35 minutes (pint jars only need 20 minutes).

Depending on whether the big boys are around, these six quarts of salsa may last us a month.

I need to buy some more tomatoes.

And just to brighten your day, take a look at my lovely dahlias! I am not always blessed with dahlias because I have trouble overwintering them and this year they almost didn't grow in the cold wet soil. This arrangement pleases me especially well!