Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winter Salsa

Again with the "what do you while you're off from work for a really long time" items... This time, the project is "how to clear out some space in the maxxed out chest freezer" combined with "how to make something really tasty!"

You start by taking out the last 10-12 lbs of frozen tomatoes from this past summer's garden, thaw them a little, let the skins slip right off, and dump them in a big pot!

Check out all those beautiful colors!! I tell ya - it smelled SOOOOO good just doing that. Even though I was looking out the window at rain and dreary skies, it sure smelled and looked like summer in the kitchen!

Anyhow, I'd planned on doing this for awhile....but based on how many tomatoes I had, I only got to make a half-batch of Aunt Nadine's salsa. Here's the recipe:

Aunt Nadine's Cooked Salsa
  • 20 lbs. tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 lrg green peppers
  • 4 onions
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • 2 - 4 T chopped jalapeƱos depending on how spicy you like it (these are canned as I usually can't find fresh in the winter when I make mine, so adjust if using fresh)
  • 6 T chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1 c. white vinegar
  • 3 T salt
  • 1-1/2 t. pepper
  • 1-1/2 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 t. garlic powder
Cook down tomatoes 1 hr or more and drain off some of the extra juice. Add everything else and simmer uncovered for at least an hour, or till it thickens. Sometimes I need to drain off more juice...this can be canned for bloody mary mix....YUM!!!!!

Process in hot water bath 20 minutes. ENJOY!!!!

Now it turns out I had also frozen a bunch of peppers from this summer, but I only had sweet reds left in the freezer - and you could totally taste the difference in the salsa. NOT in a bad way, but it was missing that little bit of "bitterness" (?) that unripe green bell peppers lend. And I didn't have fresh cilantro, so I used some from a bottle of dried cilantro, which I always hate because it doesn't really smell or taste like anything... I'd have to say it's maybe closest to oregano maybe?

Oh well - the salsa turned out really good! Not too sweet like the last big batch I made. Brett had me try stirring extra cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper in one small jar of the salsa for him. The batch was just spicy enough, but he likes a lot of extra spice these days... Turns out I didn't even stir in enough to add much heat - duly noted for next time!

Would you believe that we've already gone through most of two of the smaller jars!?! Yum!


FinnyKnits said...

Ooh, that looks like a good idea! And, let's face it, THIS is when we should be canning. NOT in the summer when it's friggen 90 degrees out.

Stay warm.

Jeph said...

Right! Assuming you have the freezer space to spare, Aunt Nadine's suggestion of freezing the tomatoes and saving them til winter, and then having the peels come off SO much easier (no blanching!), is great!!

Plus you get the added bonus of heating/re-humidifying your home. ;-)