Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Homemade Salsa

 This recipe is one of my all time favorites because it’s so easy, yields a high quantity, and has a refrigerator life of almost 3 months.

Using fresh ingredients will produce a higher quality taste, and I recommend playing around with various quantities of the veggies and peppers to acquire your preferred veggie to spicy ratio.

Homemade Party Salsa
6 c tomatoes - chopped
3 c mixed red/yellow/green peppers – chopped
1 ½ c onion – chopped
3 cloves garlic - chopped
1 ½ c cider vinegar
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp oregano
2 t salt
1 t cumin
1 t seasoning salt (optional)
½ tsp thyme
½ c fresh cilantro
4-8 thumb size hot peppers without seeds (type and variety depending on your preferred spiciness)
5 ½ oz tomato paste

Combine all ingredients except the tomato paste & cilantro in a large stockpot.  Mix well. Use an immersion blender to blend the salsa to your preferred chunkiness, be sure you don’t scrape away the protective coating on the bottom of your pan. If you don’t want to risk it, just mix up your salsa in a glass bowl and transfer it to a stock pot once you’ve blended to your desired consistency.

By the way, if you don’t have an immersion blender I highly recommend you purchase one – they make blending everything incredibly easy – especially soups, guacamole, refried beans, and other creamy textured things. Plus your mess is minimized dramatically. So, if you don’t have one already, go get one! And for now, use your regular blender to blend your salsa in batches.

If your salsa is not in a large stock pot already, transfer it to one and turn the heat on. High is fine. At this point, check your salsa to see if it’s too watery. If it is, add the tomato paste – I recommend adding half a can at a time so you don’t make your salsa too thick. If it’s still too watery after using the whole can, feel free to add some more, though I wouldn’t do more than an additional 5 ½ oz can as your salsa may come out more like a pasta red sauce.

Once your salsa reaches a bubble, turn the heat down to simmer for the next 30-45 min. Leave it covered if you love the consistency, if it’s too watery, leave the lid off for a while. Stir periodically and reduce the heat if your salsa is thickening to the bottom of the pan.

After 30-45 min (the longer you let it simmer, the more the flavors blend and the more thick it will be). Add the cilantro and let cool for 30-45 min. Transfer the salsa to glass storing jars, seal tightly, and store in the back of your fridge (coldest part).

Plan a taco night and enjoy!

A couple additional notes:
* this recipe works best for a very smooth salsa. If you like a more chunky salsa, I would recommend using a food processor to chop your ingredients to the consistency you would prefer, then add 1 c of cider vinegar, the seasonings, and half of the tomato paste.  Use the remaining tomato paste and cider vinegar to achieve an ideal consistency
* I have successfully canned this salsa and left it on the shelf for close to a year – if you’re into canning, this recipe is a winner and you can have fresh salsa even during those winter months!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! I look forward to your comments and if you have any, please post questions. I’m still learning how to do this ‘kitchen blog’ thing, and am happy to clarify any unclear directions!

Happy salsa-ing!