Thursday, 16 January 2014

Zesty Salsa

Last year I made  salsa and canned it for the first time. It proved to be so popular with our family and visitors that I decided to make the same recipe again this year.I use the" Zesty Salsa" recipe from "The Ball Complete  Book of Home preserving".
It is summertime here in Australian and the tomato season should be in full swing, but to my dismay there are not as many bulk options available yet as there  usually are,  and what is there are at ridiculous prices.
I just happened to be at Harris Farm fruit and vegie market yesterday morning, when they marked down a pile of truss tomatoes and  mixed coloured capsicums. I quickly  grabbed them and brought them home  along with a few other goodies  to make my beloved salsa.
I put a pot of water on to simmer, and ran a sink of cold water and added some ice cubes  and started  by pricking the tomatoes with a metal skewer, dunking them into the simmering water for  about a minute and as the skin splits I pull them out,drop them into the cold water to pull the skins off.

 Skinning the tomatoes does take time , but I think the effort is worth it in some cases. I used to put all the skins and cores into my worm farm or compost but a canning friend Bev, recently told me that she  dehydrates, and powders them to use in all sorts of cooking down the way. What a great idea.!, I froze them yesterday to that at a later point.
It is  at about this point that I whip out my  wonderful Nicer Dicer Chopper to make light work of all the chopping involved in making salsa.
Firstly I chop all the tomatoes  and then next the capsicums. I was supposed to use  all green capsicums but the mixed trays were a heck of a lot cheaper so I went with them instead.
Next I chopped the onions,
and then put on a pair of gloves to tackle the chilli peppers(it's best to be safe than sorry). I only use the mild long greens, so that my salsa can be enjoyed by a big range of people.I split them in half length ways  and then scooped out the seeds(If you like it hotter,you can leave  half of the seeds in)

I then peeled and finely chopped my garlic and my cilantro( here in Australia we know it as coriander.)
Once all the chopping was complete all I had to do was place all my prepared vegetables into pots,add the cider vinegar and salt (I chose not to add the listed optional hot pepper sauce.)
This mix is then brought to the boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and gently boil for about 10 minutes or so, stirring often to prevent sticking until the mix thickens slightly.
While this was cooking I laid out my previously washed  jars, I chose to use half pints as that is just a convenient size for us.
When the mix was ready, I then carefully filled my jars leaving approx. half inch head space, de-bubbled and then adjusted head  space again.

I then took some paper toweling soaked with white vinegar and wiped all the jar rims clean, and placed on a lid that I had heated in a pan of simmering  water,and screwed on the bands finger tight.

There were 32  half pints in all, which just makes a good double stacked load in my trusty electric waterbath.I stacked the first layer in ,then topped them with a pizza tray and then added the second layer. I then adjusted the water level so that it covered the top layer by an inch or two,put the lid on and turned on  the power.
This was brought to the boil and on reaching that point was held there for 15 minutes. Once that time had passed I turned off the waterbath, removed the lid and let the jars sit undisturbed for another 5 minutes. I then removed them and placed on a towel covered bench to cool, almost immediately they were pinging,some even before I lifted them out. I had 100% sealing with them,very happy.

I left the jars overnight and this morning removed the bands,washed the jars and the bands, stored the bands away with all the others and labelled the jars.
I then  made the jars look pretty for a photo shoot before packing most of  them back into their original ball boxes to be transported up to my pantry at the farm. I kept about half a dozen to use here.
We eat a lot of salsa, and this  will probably not be enough for the year, but at least it will keep me going for a while.
I will keep my ears and eyes open for more tomatoes as I still want to can some pasta sauce and some crushed tomatoes yet this summer as my stocks of those are starting to run fairly low.It has been extremely hot here in Australia over the last week or two, but I avoided it yesterday and today by doing my errands out and chores really early and then stayed inside cooking and doing catch up on the computer with the air conitioner keeping me  and the house cool..
Thank you for visiting me  while I made salsa, hope you call in again some time.
So until we meet agin,


  1. Looks fantastic Jane! I think I need to come and have some canning lessons with you;) They are so pretty in the jars.

    1. Thanks Melissa,
      I do love sticking things in bottles. I have just been back trawling through your posts of the wonderful gardens at your place, I am very jealous of all that green.