At this time of year, when the tomatoes are ripe, both Rhonda and Cathy get out their much-spattered recipe cards for their favorite salsa. By preserving it now, there’s always fresh-tasting salsa on board for eating with taco chips but also to serve as a side for chicken, fish or South American-style beef cuts. While salsa is pretty easy to make and preserve by canning, it’s also great eaten fresh, with or without cooking. Another great thing about salsa is the recipe can be varied to use whatever vegetables you have on hand, and fruit like peaches is also a great base.
This recipe originally came from our friend Lori-Ann on Prince Edward Island but has evolved over the years. The big amount on the left makes about 7 half-litre jars of preserved salsa. The small amount on the right could serve a few friends enjoying drinks on the patio. Use Roma tomatoes for a thicker salsa.
2.5 L Roma tomatoes, fully ripe, diced 500 ml
500 mL Green peppers, diced 100 ml
250 mL Hot banana peppers, diced (or to taste) 50 ml
500 mL Yellow onion, diced 100 ml
500 mL Zucchini or golden beets, grated 100 ml
250 mL Kernel corn 50 ml
4 cloves Garlic, minced 1 clove
15 mL Ground cumin 3 ml
1 7.5-oz can tomato paste —
250 mL White vinegar —
15 mL Salt 3 ml
To taste Cayenne pepper To taste
250 mL Chopped cilantro 25 ml
For preserving: Mix all the ingredients together in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until desired thickness is reached. In the meantime, prepare jars, lids and rings by washing and then sterilizing in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Spoon hot salsa into hot jars leaving 1 cm head space, clean sealing edge, cover with lids and rings, tightening gently. Process in the boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool completely. Make sure all the lids have sealed before storing. (If a jar doesn’t seal, put it in the fridge and use first.)
For serving right away: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Enjoy!
Note: The vinegar is needed to acidify the preserved salsa so that it will safely block the growth of bacterial spores that release toxins. Vinegar isn’t needed in the fresh recipe but if you’d like a little more zest, try adding 30 ml of apple cider vinegar.
Tips on home canning: http://www.bernardin.ca/pages/low_acid_foods_introduction_/72.php