There was once a day when I didn't have a lot of room for food storage. We lived in a small apartment with a tiny kitchen. I hadn't yet ventured into the world of canning, not for the lack of knowledge or experience (I've done it with my parents for as long as I can remember), but mostly for lack of space and tools. Then one day I came across a canner at a second hand store for just a few bucks. I had to have it. Then I found some other basic canning tools on sale at the SuperStore. I was now set for some simple canning. One of the first things I decided to make was Salsa. One of our favorite snacks is nachos and salsa. I used a recipe from my trusty 4-H club cook book(the best wedding gift ever...just in case I hadn't mentioned that yet). I bought a 20lb case of tomatoes and all the rest of the ingredients. This was before my days of being able to grow most of the ingredients myself. The salsa was to die for. The only problem was that I hadn't made enough and when we ran out and had to buy salsa from the store we were so disappointed, and I vowed to always make enough salsa to get us through until the next fall.
Since that day, we have never run out of salsa and often have enough to share with neighbours and good friends. We moved to Lethbridge the year after that. I had a small garden space and my neighbour let me use her space as well. With that I was able to plant tomatoes, onions and some peppers...my salsa garden. I started making salsa with a friend of mine who wanted to learn how to can. Together we tweaked the recipe from the 4-H cook book to create the recipe I use today, we called it Mandy and Toni's best salsa we ever made.
Here is the recipe for a 12 litre(3 gallon) stock pot
3/4 full stock pot of chopped peeled tomatoes(about 15lbs...I am totally guessing, I really have no idea because I don't buy my tomatoes I use the ones I grow in my garden)
3 red peppers (or orange or yellow I use what ever I have on hand)
2 green peppers
4 large onions
1 1/2 heads of garlic
6 stalks of celery
handfull of cilantro
1 good sized zucchini, grated skin included(again this is garden grown)
5-7 jalepeno peppers with seeds
1/3 cup pickling salt
1 cups sugar
1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper(optional)
2 cups vinegar
To easily peel tomatoes, place in boiling water for about 60 seconds and then put in cold water. the peels will split and can then be easily removed. Hand chop tomatoes for chunkier salsa. Chop all other vegetables in a food processor or hand chopper if you have one to save time. Combine all vegetables in stock pot with salt, sugar, vinegar and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least an hour. Fill sterilized jars and process for 15 minutes.
For the past 4 years, I've been making salsa with friends. We have a day long salsa making party. We divy up the ingredients, bring your own bottles and we simply spend an afternoon chopping and chatting. Then we all go home to our husbands smelling like salsa with our jars of goodness. It's a grand time. This year we got together a couple of times, we'll see if we ended up with enough salsa to last until next fall.
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