Sunday, August 18, 2013

That's Enough 'Sketti {Homemade Salsa}

It's August. That means we have tomatoes that need pickin' every day.  It takes me about 10 minutes to dig through all the vines to make sure I didn't miss any hidden fruit, but other than that, the only work this month in the garden requires is figuring out how to actually consume all this tasty goodness.  The first few tomatoes of the summer are savored; those picked in the midst of bounty build up in a huge pile until I start giving them away because there is only so much red sauce a family can consume, only so many salads we can enjoy.

Mr. Stripey slicing tomatoes

Last year, I froze about six months worth of tomato sauce.  This year, I vowed to try something new.  So I ventured into a world of mystery, a rarely trodden path, the previously unknown glory of...salsa. I know, you're shocked, worried, and confused about this.  WHY WOULD I MAKE SUCH A THING AS SALSA, which is only good on just about everything, including chips, Americanized Mexican cuisine, breakfast quiche, and almost anything else you can think of (although chocolate pie might be an exception)?

Eat me, they called.
 Ryan had tried some homemade salsa at his mother's house this past spring, so we asked for the recipe.  We made a few changes.  So you don't sue me or hold me responsible for some problem: Make changes at your own risk. If you're doing this for shelf-stable canning, process this recipe appropriately (with enough acid, for instance).  Botulism is dangerous and real, so everything should be immaculate and carefully handled.

Okay, that said, we didn't make this for canning.  I figured we'd eat a hell of a whole lot of it and freeze some, too.  If freezing changes the texture for the worse, we can always throw the sauce into soup or chili or something.

We calculated that it cost us $5 to make ten cups or so of salsa. A bargain for deliciousness!

I'm sure there's a great way to photograph salsa, but this'll have to do.
Wonderful Salsa
8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped, and drained (peeling optional. I didn't do this)
2.5 cups chopped onions
1.5 cups green peppers
1 cup chopped jalapeno
6 chopped garlic cloves
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp pepper
1/8 cup sugar
1/3 c vinegar 
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 12oz can tomato paste
Cilantro (optional)
Juice of 1 lime (optional)
Salt to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients in the pot (wait on the salt, cilantro, and lime juice if you like).  Bring to a slow boil and cook for 20 minutes.

2. Season to taste. This is where I added the salt, cilantro, and lime juice until I was happy.  You can stop here if you like chunky salsa.

3. Let the salsa cool a little and then puree in the blender.  Be careful if it's hot--it could make a serious mess!  I put a towel over the lid of the blender and held it down.

4. Eat it. Share it.  Enjoy it.  Refrigerate leftovers. I'm freezing some, too.

The recipe reminds me very much of restaurant salsa--fresh tasting, but heavier and, to me, more flavorful than raw salsa.  Tastes a lot like Ponak's (the home of the glorious Sonoran Taco and the best margarita ever made), which is one of my favorites.

Next year, I might try drying tomatoes or making tomato leather or poaching them in oil!  But that's a bit too adventurous for 2013. Salsa'll do.


  1. Ahhh. I always make raw salsa. But I like the idea of freezing some and then adding it to chili or rice and beans in the winter. I'm gonna give this a try!

  2. I agree - salsa is good on darn near everything. This recipe looks quite simple and delicious. And might I add, your home grown tomatoes look gorgeous!


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