Tomatoes are in season and ripening at an amazing rate. Time for me to break out the stew pots and start cooking up some homemade salsa, stewed tomatoes and chopped tomatoes for future recipes.
One way to process tomatoes is the hot-cold water bath method. This is how my Mother put up tomatoes and I did this for years.
- Clean tomatoes in sink, cut off the stems and bruised spots
- Dunk in boiling water for about 30 seconds until the skins start to wrinkle
- Remove from boiling water and dip in a bowl of cold water
- Skins should then easily slip off the tomatoes
I can’t tell you how many hours I have stood over a hot stove during the summer slipping skins off tomatoes. Years ago Beth and I bought a BOGO deal at the state fair for the Salsa maker and I have used it to chop onions, peppers, and tomatoes for years. I love this thing, it works absolutely great for small batches of salsa and the mandolin slicer attachment is perfect for zucchini.
A Better Way to Process Tomatoes
However, when I’m make a LOT of salsa or spaghetti sauce, there is a better and faster way to prepping tomatoes and I don’t know why I haven’t listened to my friend Beth before, she kept telling me to get a food mill. This tomato press will take off the skins and either chop for salsa or process for spaghetti sauce.
How to Make Homemade Salsa
All you have to do is a search on Pinterest for salsa and you can find more recipes than you can handle; everything from hot and spicy to sweet and mild, even recipes for watermelon salsa and mango salsa. My hubby likes traditional chips and Mexican salsa and just about everything you need can be found in your garden: tomatoes, sweet peppers, jalapeno peppers and onions. Since I don’t like cilantro, I don’t grow it.
Homemade Salsa Recipe
Ingredients (makes 4-5 quarts)
- 10-15 lbs of tomatoes (chopped fine, skins removed)
- 4 large sweet peppers
- 2 large onions
- 6 jalapenos
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup vinegar (or lemon juice)
- 3 TBSP canning salt
- 3 TBSP cilantro (optional)
- 2 TBSP cumin (optional)
- 3 TBSP ground garlic (optional
- 14 oz can Tomato Paste (for thickening)
- Chop your tomatoes, onions, and peppers with the tomato mill or salsa maker food processor
- Add to large stock pot and stir together
- Stir in sugar, vinegar, salt and seasonings
- Add tomato paste, enough to thicken to desired amount
- Bring to boil on med high heat, stirring often
- Reduce heat to simmer (low) and cook for another 15 minutes
- PREPARE lids now by placing in about an inch of water and bring to boil, then turn off and let sit
- Lay a towel on the counter and place warm clean jars from the dishwasher on towel
- Place funnel in jar and using a large soup ladle spoon hot salsa into jars leaving 1″ of space at the top
- Use magnet stick to remove lid from water and place on jar, screw jar lid tight
The jars will be very hot, remember you just poured boiling tomatoes into glass, use the rubberized jar holder found in the canning tool set below to hot jars and a pot holder to tighten the lids. Now wait for the popping of the lids to assure the seal.
Ball Canning Regular Mouth Half Pint Canning Jar 8 oz. 12-CountTattler Reusable Wide Mouth Canning Lids & Rubber Rings – 12/pkgBellemain 6 Piece Canning Tool SetSalsa Picante Small Peppers Lime Fabric
Because tomatoes are acidic a hot water bath or pressure cooking the salsa is not necessary. Since I really don’t follow a recipe when I cook, and I don’t measure the amount of vegetables I use my stock pot as a gauge of how many quarts of salsa I will be canning. I have a 5 qt pot so that when it’s full to the top I have 5 qts of salsa.
I can a variety of sizes some for home use (quarts) and pints (for gifts), I also always use wide mouth jars, but that is a personal preference.