Chris' Recipes

Bon Appetite!

2015 Salsa

Written By: Chris - Nov• 05•15

So I’ve been making salsa for years.  This year my daughter-in-law to be’s folks Vonnie and Chad wanted to tackle the job together.  I decided to reach out to our friend Rick to see if he was willing to share his method because I always remember his salsa rocked!  He did share a couple of years notes including his ingredients of choice and between comparing my old recipe and aiming to make it more like his – we came up with a really delicious batch that we were quite pleased with.  The texture is great!  Though making salsa at home in large batches is a lot of work, it’s worth it to enjoy the fresh flavors through out the year!

Back at the end of August, Chad and Vonnie picked up the tomatoes at the Minneapolis farmers market that we used in combination of store bought and home grown peppers to add to the mix.  You’ll find a basic recipe for salsa below; as well as some variations we made.  We all agreed that we wished that we had made it hotter.  We ended up yielding just under 90 jars.  Mostly pints, but also about a dozen or two of half pints.

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Ingredients: 

1 ½ Cup Jalapeno Peppers, chopped/pureed
12 Cups Red Bell Peppers, diced
3 Cups Green Bell Peppers, diced
2 Cups Sweet Bell Peppers, diced
68 Cups Tomatos, chopped including juice
10 Cups Tomato Juice (in addition to the tomatoes above)
18 Cups Onions, chopped
4 Limes,  Zest & Juice
1 Cup Lemon Juice (fresh, no zest)
1 ¼ Cup Sugar
50 Garlic Cloves, pureed
5 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Gallon Tomato Paste
10 Tablespoons Cumin, ground
5 Tablespoons Smoked Cumin, ground
6 Bunches Cilantro, chopped
10 Tablespoons Salt
5 Tablespoons Glack Pepper, ground
5 Tablespoons Oregano, dried

VARIATIONS:
Mild, no additions to sauce + 2 Tablespoons of the Ghost Sauce
CHIPOTLE: 7 oz. Chipotle Salsa to one batch + 2 Tablespoons of the Ghost Sauce 
PINEAPPLE: 1 Pineapple (whole, diced to one batch) + 2 Tablespoons of the Ghost Sauce
GHOST SAUCE:
1 Ghost Pepper
Add to:
1 Cup Tomato & Onion Juice (cooking on stove)
Simmer ghost pepper and juice mixture for 10 minutes, add to one 

Rick keeps a notebook of all of his recipes.  He was kind enough to share a couple of last years batches recipes that we compared.  Here is a link to my previous large batch of Salsa in 2013.

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Prewash all of your jars and rings by running them through the dishwasher.

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Method:

Wash, score and blanch the tomatoes in order to peel them easier.  Blanch tomatoes in a boiling pot of water after you have removed the stock, or stem, and sliced an “X” in the bottom of the tomato. (This was Chad’s job!)

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Submerge the tomatoes in the boiling water and allow them to sit for up to two minutes. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon or wire scoop.   (We skipped the ice bath this year and it worked fine!)  Then, use a sharp knife to peel away the skin and try not to cut the tomato flesh and set aside.

peeling tomatoes

Chop the tomatoes into desired chunks and reserve all of the juice at the bottom of the bowls.  At this point, we divided the above into five large bowls as we did not have a bowl big enough for all.  From those five bowls, we created different variations of salsa (see below).

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Chop the onions in the food processor and save it to cook down in the reserved tomato liquid.  Chad had grown some other varieties of peppers this year that we decided to include.  They added a great flavor!

PepperAconcagua BananaChilePeppers

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Bell peppers, hot peppers and other vegetables all need to be chopped.

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Chad was on fresh garlic duty and he wasn’t a fan I must say!  But he was able to use the food processor for fine chopping of garlic and jalapenos, which some of had been vacuum packed and frozen previously.

ON STOVE TOP:

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Combine the 10 Cups the juice from the bowls of the peeled tomatos juice with the chopped onions, cooking over medium heat until soft.

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Add the whole gallon of tomato paste and continue to cook over medium-low heat.

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Add peppers and jalapenos to the tomato, onion and paste pan and continue to cook, stirring often until the peppers reach your desired softness.  Then stir in the pureed garlic and jalapenos.

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Meanwhile, Chad brought this ghost pepper that we were all afraid of!  Since the Guinness book of World Records certified that the ghost pepper was the world’s hottest chili pepper (400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce) we were thinking we wanted very little in our salsa!    

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I found him gloves to protect his skin and eyes and he carefully removed the seeds and inners of the ghost pepper before mincing it.

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We decided to create the ghost sauce, to which we made him taste first... and then added it in small increments at a time into the mild salsa.  Surprisingly, we really did wish we had more!  Next, Vonnie was in charge of zesting the limes and adding the juices to each batch!

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All of the spices and chopped cilantro was added to the raw tomato mixture.

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Tasting is necessary throughout the process for quality control!  I used dry herbs because it’s what I had and I prefer not to have an overpowering flavor of oregano.  Bring the cooked ingredients to the raw and prepare to combine them.

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Evenly distribute the cooked ingredients into the raw ingredients equally and combine gently by stirring.  It was nice of the kids to show up near this part of the process, so that they could claim they “helped” as to be able to take some home!  Ha!

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We mixed batches with each other by using a two-cup measuring cup in scoops until each felt equal in thickness and flavored bowls with the variations listed above.

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Pour the salsa into jars and seal by canning.

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Place lids into a small pan bring water to scalding in a slow simmer.  Don’t boil them and leave them in the water until you use them.  Put lids on and screw the rings fairly tightly.  Bring a large pot of water to boiling before placing your jars into it.  Fill water bath canner pan with water to cover filled jars by one inch.  They will slow the boil, but cover the pan and once boiling hard again process the jars for about 15 minutes.  We had some going inside on the stove and also utilized the grill to get the process done more quickly.

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Remove from boiling water using a jar lifter.  Place on a towel or cooling mat.  Allow to cool and check each seal.  Refrigerate or re-process any jars that did not seal.  (To check seals press in the center of lid; if it pops back, it’s not sealed.)   

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Although my stainless pot was black from the grill, this stainless steel cleaner was magic!

Enjoy!

Cheers!
~Chris

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