Last weekend I decided to do the canning thing right – and traveled North to Pennsylvania to practice the art of food preservation with my aunt and cousins. My aunt, of course, is the real expert when it comes to canning. She grew up canning under the watchful eye of my Mennonite farm- wife grandmother. The cousins and I are only enthusiastic newcomers to this particular sport.
A couple of years ago the cousins started an annual salsa canning weekend – and this year I scored an invite. To be honest, I was a little nervous about making salsa with the fam because of my (false) impression that the PA relatives can’t handle heat. But I was wrong – at least in regards to the younger generation. One set of cousins brought hot peppers from their home garden and another made a run to the store to buy the largest bag of dried red chilies she could find. Our salsa isn’t the hottest thing out there – but it certainly is respectable.
Using a salsa canning recipe purloined from another aunt, we spent most of the morning and a good part of the afternoon to produce 97 pints of homemade goodness. The salsa has a very fresh tomato taste along with a little spicy kick.
I’m going to have to come up with some new uses for this stuff because chips and salsa is just not going to make a dent in the stockpile I have. (Stay tuned for the results of my attempts to cook with salsa).
And the Hoover family salsa recipe is all yours after the jump.
Hoover Family Salsa
Makes about 20 pints
28 cups of fresh tomatoes (diced or chopped in a food processor)
6 cups of onions (diced or chopped in a food processor)
2 cups of green and red bell peppers (de-seeded and diced or chopped in a food (processor)
2 cups chopped assorted hot peppers (optional)
2 cups chopped cilantro (also optional)
3 cups tomato paste
1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
9 T. cornstarch
3 T. chili powder
3 T. garlic powder
2 T. cumin
6 T. salt
Finish washing, peeling and chopping the fresh vegetables and add them to a large container that can comfortably hold at least 10 quarts – we used a large roasting pan. In a separate bowl, combine tomato paste, cornstarch, vinegar and dry spices. Mix until it forms a smooth paste. Then mix the paste into the fresh vegetables – combining evenly.
Pack salsa into pint jars using the cold pack method. Process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes then remove the jars from the canner and place them on clean, heat resistant surface. Allow jars to sit for 12-24 hours and then check to make sure all jars are sealed. Jars that are not sealed may be refrigerated and used immediately or reprocessed in a hot water bath.
Note: I thought the salsa was going to be on the salty side when I tasted some of it before it was canned. After canning, however, the salt levels were perfect.