Salsa 101

In case y’all don’t know (though I’m pretty sure you do) I was born, raised and live in the great State of Texas. My husband, who is from Mississippi, always likes to say “You can always tell a Texan, you just can’t tell’em very much”. While I don’t ENTIRELY agree with him I must say we can make some mean salsa! I remember my Dad making salsa when I was little, he would arrive at the house with BOXES of tomatoes in the back of his pick-up and set to work. Hours upon hours later we would have enough salsa to last a year. Although it never seemed to last more than 6 months. Funny how that is, I began making it myself in 2012 and each year since I think “Wow, I won’t have to buy salsa for a year!” and by Christmas it is always gone. June is salsa making time and I put up a batch recently. It IS a process and it DOES take hours but when you have all those pints lined up and a fresh bag of tortilla chips (and maybe a cold beer)….it is worth every second!
As I stated above I started in 2012, taking my Dad’s recipe and tweaking it a bit. I change it a little every year depending on how my peppers are doing and what is ready for harvest when I am ready to can. And since I change it a little each year and since it is kinda my top-secret recipe and if I tell ya’…..well. I won’t kill you but I’d have to send you off to an internet free island somewhere. Do those even exist anymore? I wonder……
Anyway! Join me as I make some good ol’ Texas salsa! I hope you try to whip up a batch yourself, if you do let me know how it goes and if you have any questions, just ask! 🙂

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Always use fresh ingredients, the peppers I picked in my garden.  The tomatoes I bought at a local veggie stand.

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You need a box of ‘maters (about 40-50) a clean pot and a pot for the peeling and cores.  I always peel mine out on the porch ’cause its kinda a messy business…I know this isn’t the most lady-like way to sit but considering where I live and only 2.5 people drive by my house each day…no one will ever know!

salsa salsa

Peel each tomato and cut it into quarters.  Leave the peel and core in bucket number one, quarters in clean pot number two.  You need a really good knife for all this peeling and quartering, see the one I have here?  My mom bought it for me, it is from Pampered Chef and is made specially for tomatoes.  My family has been warned to use it for NOTHING else.  I even made it half-way thru the box before cutting myself.  A record I believe.

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When your fingers look like this…..

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…And your tomato pots look like this…you are free to proceed.

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One of the best things about salsa making is you don’t have to chop everything!  You just have to get it to where the Kitchen Aid can do it for you!  Here I have gathered up about 20 jalapeno, about 15 cayenne, about 6 sweet bananas, about 25 of those little green round ones (I’ve no idea what they are called but they are hot), about 16 cloves of garlic and 4 yellow onions.  I like using about 6 habaneros as well but mine hadn’t produced yet.

Cut them into chunks.

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Now you are ready to begin!  Have all the onions, peppers, garlic and tomatoes next to the Kitchen Aid, I use the middle sized plate in my grinder attachment. See the sad little piece of paper?  Those are my notes started in 2012.

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Feed all those lovely tomatoes thru the grinder.  If you can locate a small human (or any human really) and con them into helping you it makes the process go much faster.

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Little people are generally easier to con so I highly recommended starting there.  Just be prepared to clean them afterwards.

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Next, grind all the peppers, garlic and onion thru.  This makes the salsa have a perfect, constant consistency.  I save the onions for last because this generally makes the little humans eyes water and they are prone to quit without giving proper notice.

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I can’t say I blame them.  It makes my eyes water too.

Quick side note, when the tomatoes are going thru the grinder take care not to push the wooden plunger to quickly otherwise you shall look like this….

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..or all ‘this’ ends up spurting on the floor.  Shirt, floor, it’s gonna happen.  Consider yourself warned.

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Next you add about 12 tablespoons of sugar, about 3 tablespoons of salt, around 4 tablespoons ground cumin and 2 cups of white vinegar.  The only ‘for sure’ measurement here is the vinegar, the rest is subject to wide interpretation….

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Stir it all up and bring it to a slow boil.  Turn it down as low as it will go and boil at LEAST 3 hours.  4 is better, 3 will do.  This gets all that water out and gives you a thicker, better salsa.  Just be sure and stir it every 20 minutes or so.

While all this boiling down is taking place, you should really take a break.  Remember all those peelings?  Chickens LOVE peelings.  So if you have a flock I highly recommend grabbing a lawn chair, a drink and tossing them about the yard (the peelings, not the chickens) and watch the show!

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Just don’t get so enthralled you forget to stir the salsa!

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See the rings on the sides of the pot, you can really tell how much it has boiled down.  It is ready to jar up!  I like to put mine in pints, have all the lids, jars, water bath and funnel ready and go for it!

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Whew, almost there!

Process about 10 minutes in the water bath…..

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And you have enough salsa for a year!

Well, 6 months anyway.  Enjoy!

hot sauce

p.s. This will make about 16 pints.

One thought on “Salsa 101

  1. Fab post! And it is excellent advice. I make a batch of Texas salsa every week, but I was just thinking how great it would be to start canning it! I already do jams and chutneys, and friends are forever gifting me with jars… So why not? 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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