Well, I’m off to the store to buy some of the things that I DID NOT grow in our garden. You know, produce such as celery, red pepper flakes (duh!), and more ingredients that are necessary for the home-made salsa that we make every summer.
I know some people think that I’m crazy to go through the work of ‘canning’ salsa or whatever vegetables or fruits that I want to ‘put up’ for a later time, when in reality, I can just simply go to my local market/grocery store and pick up some commercialized brand of the same produce . . . but the interesting thing is that when I’m going through all of this work, I can’t help but think of the women long before modern refrigeration and freezing, who worked so hard in non-air-conditioned homes to lovingly preserve the fruits of their labor (and also that of their husbands and children) in the gardens to feed and nourish their families during the winter. Plus I believe that savoring and enjoying these delicious canned and/or frozen foods that I’ve grown myself, along with my husband, is such a wonderful experience, in addition to sharing them with other people that we love.
I don’t have a recipe for my salsa, but simply cook it all up the good old-fashioned Italian way . . . . a little bit of this and a little bit of that . . . and taste, taste, taste!
For a general overview, I use a lot of tomatoes, Romas and other varieties, chopped onions, green peppers, celery, and lots of spices to your preference level.
Blanch the tomatoes in a very, very large pot of boiling water. When the skins crack, remove them to another large bowl or pot to cool. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle with your hands, remove the skins and the hard stem area. With an immersion blender, blend the skinless tomatoes and put back in a very large, deep pot on the stove. Add the chopped vegetables and spices. Cook for 40 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and making sure that the salsa does not burn on the bottom of the pot.
Wash the canning jars, lids and tops in the dishwasher. Boil a new large pot of clean, clean, clean water and put the washed jars, lids and tops in. Boil them for another 5 minutes to sanitize them. With a clean, clean, clean, sanitized pair of tongs, remove the jars and DO NOT TOUCH ANY PART OF THE LID AREA to avoid contamination by any germs. With another clean, clean, clean, sanitized ladle, pour the salsa to just a ‘scant’ bit from the top of the jars. With the tongs again, remove the top from the boiling water and place on top of the jar of salsa. With the tongs, remove the lids from the boiling water and place on top of the jar and lid. With a clean, clean, clean towel screw the lid on.
The canning process is complete when the top sucks ‘down’ on the top. With a clean towel, once again screw the lid on any tighter that it can get. Cool.
That’s it! It’s a LONG process, but not difficult. Enjoy the fruits of your labor at any time of the year with your salsa!