September 8, 2011


Last week, or maybe the week before that, I whined about standing in one place peeling tomatoes for an hour and a half. Sheena, brilliant, internet combing cousin-in-law that she is, sent me to canning usa's salsa recipe that does not require peeling. I hadn't heard of canning usa before, so I was a little unsure. But I liked how they only had one recipe for salsa. As in, you will NEVER need any other salsa recipe. It inspires confidence. Last Thursday, I had gone to the garden and sighed about tomatoes. Then I picked a laundry basket full. I can't be technical here because it was too heavy for the scale, but there were a lot of tomatoes. So I decided to do not one, but two batches of this salsa. This was the day before the pig roast, so time was not plentiful. But tomatoes wait for no man. I knew if I left it until Monday, I would have to pick a new batch of tomatoes. Which made me sigh again. I love my garden, I really do. But you might think tomatoes would have the decency to produce in a less than wild, rampaging plant sort of way. A less than 20-30 pounds of tomatoes a day sort of way. Clover has already voiced her opinion on the number of tomato plants I have, but if you want three different kind of tomatoes and they are sold in six packs, what do you do? You plant 18 plants. And really, I love tomatoes. It is just that the plants lay there in the garden (having knocked over their flimsy Wal-mart supports months ago--ungrateful plants) looking woe-be-gone and thinking about all the effort they put forth to produce these gorgeous specimens of red tomatoes and all they are being used for is a landing pad for the odd, stray volleyball. It is harsh. And then I feel guilty. Not so guilty that I want to can or freeze them during the pig roast, but guilty in a people are starving and tomatoes are rotting way. But no one was starving at the pig roast, so the guilt was definitely dulled heavily.

 I canned one batch and left the other fresh. I tasted the canned last night and it is good. But it isn't fresh. Fresh is the only way to go if you have a choice. In the middle of the winter, you don't have a lot of choice though, so canned it is.

I have a salsa recipe that I have loved since Trish O'Neil made in in Alaska. It involves canned stewed tomatoes. It is a GOOD recipe. One you can stand behind with pride. I have always wanted a fresh tomato salsa that was as good and I think I have finally found it! This stuff was super! So super, that after having a vat of it on Friday night, we only have the dregs left. My one complaint with this recipe is that it has a lot of juice. I wanted to drain in out a bit, but some people said they just liked to dip their chips in the juice, not break their chips with a quarter pound of garden veggies. So I left it.

This is's salsa recipe. It doesn't really make sense to me, since the dinner version doesn't seem to be an accurate reduction (18 times the onions and peppers in the canning version, 12 times the garlic, 9 times the cilantro, 4 times the lemon juice). But I don't know. Maybe it is just as good.

 2 cups18 pints
Tomatoes3/4 pound14 pounds
Garlic (optional)1/2 clove finely diced6 cloves finely diced
Onions1/2 diced9 diced
Red Bell Peppers1/2 diced9 diced
Green Bell Peppers1/2 diced9 diced
Cilantro1/3 bunch3 bunches
Lemon Juice2 tablespoons1/2 cup
Salt1/2 teaspoon2 tablespoons
Pepper (Optional)to tasteto taste
Tabasco (Optional)to tasteto taste

I now have 17 jars of salsa sitting on a shelf. It makes me feel clever. I look at them when I make stupid mistakes.

Woe-be-gone tomatoes.

Salsa in the makin'.

This was Sunday afternoon, about a third gone. 

This was supposed to be in yesterday's post, but somehow, it was missed. 


Evan and Clover and Co. said...

We are still munching through a bowl full of salsa down here and it is yummy. The only tragedy is that I forgot to buy tortillas when I stopped at Wegman's quickly yesterday, so I can't have quesadillas for lunch. Unless I make homemade tortillas... Want to come for lunch?

Verity Earl said...

Bethaney Ann Vaughan Cotten. 18 tomato plants??? And I give my mom a hard time for planting 5! ;) But in reality, our tomatoes didn't do so splendiferiously this year. I don't know what was up with them. They all fell over too, despite being individually caged, staked, and also tied TO the stakes. So I don't know. They are just super lazy I guess. Anyway, thank you for the salsa recipe! Would you mind sharing the awesome AK one too??

Verity Earl said...

P.S. That Gilbert is such a sweet pea.

Virginia said...

I've never canned salsa. In fact, I don't think I've ever eaten homemade canned salsa. I make yummy fresh salsa, though. A couple tomatoes (unpeeled!), a couple cloves of garlic, an onion, a jalapeno or 2, cilantro, salt, and fresh lime juice. Blend it all together in a food processor and voila! I could eat that and chips all day, 24/7. I'm so jealous of your tomatoes, btw. I planted 2 in pots this year and they have been sad about something. I've got about 7 tomatoes between the 2 plants all summer, which is not that much. They are so sweet and flavorful, but small and normally split/unripe on one side. I just don't think tomatoes should be grown in pots.

laura said...

I'm a tomato-hater (! - that seems blasphemous to comment in this post), but I do like salsa. Most people I eat salsa with (it's often a group event) comment that I need a salsa "buddy" since I ONLY like to dip (and leave the chunks behind). Don't get me wrong, I like my veggies, but cannot stand discernable tomato pieces anywhere anyhow.

That was all to say that your juicy fresh salsa sounds PERFECT (:

Sheena said...

Awe, I feel like such a celebrity to be mentioned (and linked!) in your post! I'm glad that salsa worked out for you. I am a bit jealous of your abundant tomatoes...we can't grow a whole lot here. I didn't try tomatoes, because people here say that most years don't even bother. I agree that your canned tomato salsa is the made it for us in Colorado and I rarely make any other kind of salsa. It has become such a favorite, that some of our friends beg for it, and I have a deal with some kids in Rapid City to always make it for their birthdays.
Also - very weird how the ratio for canned vs. fresh salsa differs!

Evan and Clover and Co. said...

I think we must have been twins separated at birth, Laura, this is how I always used to eat salsa! Since I have discovered fresh salsa, I do better, but I do like my tomatoes chopped fine. And while I can stomach tomatoes when pressed, I still consider them an abomination in a sandwich.