Chunky Garden Salsa
September 27, 2011
This has been our best tomato year ever. Quite a shocker given the cool summer, but in our tiny garden we have a bona fide bounty of tomatoes this year. They spill from their bowls, piling up in every free space the kitchen counters can afford. These tomatoes have been taunting me. After a wait that tested every ounce of my patience, they began coming in heavy just at the time the other parts of my life asserted their own demands. The kids, the family gatherings, and oh, my job that actually pays the bills, all take their cut of my precious time before I get to the satisfying job of canning. But this weekend was made for me and the tomatoes.
Starting early in the morning, I prepared a “ketchup” that we all agreed is delicious, but not ketchup. Luckily, instead of an outright rejection, my son suggested we rename it and came up with “Rojo Sauce”. Perfect. Another lug of tomatoes went into a basic tomato sauce, and the last load into Chunky Garden Salsa.
To be honest, I have not had great success with canned salsas in the past. Each recipe I used seemed have one of two problems: the salsa was too watery and/ or the specified canned lemon juice gave the entire batch a foul artificial taste. This recipe takes care of each of those issues and demonstrates some serious tasty flavors. Instead of simply peeling the tomatoes, I grilled them to lend a bit of a charred flavor. After skinning and removing the core, the tomatoes drain in a colander which removes most of the excess water and allows the salsa to easily thicken up on the stove. In place of lemon juice, the recipe called for half white vinegar and half lime juice. This gives it a perfect acidity and delicious flavor from the lime. My only complaint is that I only ended up with five pints. These are sure to go fast around our salsa-loving house.
Chunky Garden Salsa
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Canning Special Interest Publication 2011
makes 5 pints
8 pounds ripe tomatoes
4 fresh Anaheim or Poblano chiles
1/3 to 1/2 cup jalapeno or serrano chiles (add according to taste)
2 large onions
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
5 cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat grill to high heat. Wash tomatoes and remove stems. Wash peppers. Cut onions in half and remove skin. Spread tomatoes, peppers, and halved onions out on the hot grill. Grill until charred, then flip and char the other side.
For the onions, remove from the grill and allow to cool a bit so you can handle them. Dice onions to your preferred chunkiness.
For the peppers, remove from the grill when thoroughly charred. Place in a bowl and cover for 10-15 minutes. This will steam the peppers with their own residual heat helping the skins detach. Remove the skins. If they are thoroughly charred, they should just slip off. You may want to run them under cool water to remove any bits. Remove stem and seeds. Dice peppers to your preferred chunkiness.
For the tomatoes, remove from the grill once charred. Set aside until they cool enough to handle. Slip off the skins and discard. Cut out the cores. Chop the tomatoes to your desired chunkiness and place in a colander to drain for 10 minutes.
Place onions, peppers, and tomatoes in a large stockpot with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the onion softens and salsa thickens to your liking.
Ladle salsa into hot, sterile pint-sized jars. Leave a 1/2 inch head space at the top of the jar. Top with a new lid and band. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. See Home Canning Basics for more information about the canning process.
*You may also store this salsa in the refrigerator if you choose not to process it.
Here is a printer-friendly version of the recipe: Chunky Garden Salsa
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