September 17, 2010

Tomato Peach Apple Salsa

Well here's a great thing to use all of those extra tomatoes: Peach Apple Salsa! I had a small canning class last night, so I thought I would make a special recipe, hoping it would be a winner.

You see, I'm having a bit of a salsa problem. I haven't found a great tomato salsa recipe among those available from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. The Green Tomato Salsa turned out kind of blah (although the Tomatillo version is good), and the Tomato Green Chili Salsa is watery and too acidic for my tastes. I hear the Spicy Cranberry Salsa is good, and I have a jar leftover from a demonstration, but I want something with (red) tomatoes that you can eat with corn chips. So I turned to the Peach Apple Salsa.

And I love it! It's sweet, spicy, tart, and best of all, has all of the salsa veggies we love: tomatoes, onions, and peppers. I really like fruit salsa, but if you don't, then I guess you'll be back at the drawing board (but please let me know your favorite salsa recipe for canning!). I'm also looking forward to using this salsa in fall dishes, like with brined pork or grilled meats.

Peach Apple Salsa
From the National Center for Home Food Preservation

6 cups (2 1/2 pounds) chopped Roma tomatoes (about 3 pounds tomatoes as purchased)
2 1/2 cups diced yellow onions (about 1 pound or 2 large as purchased)
2 cups chopped green bell peppers (about 1 1/2 large peppers as purchased)
10 cups (3 1/2 pounds) chopped hard, unripe peaches (about 9 medium peaches or 4½ pounds as purchased peaches)
2 cups chopped Granny Smith apples (about 2 large apples as purchased)
4 tablespoons mixed pickling spice
1 tablespoon canning salt
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
3 3/4 cups (1 1/4 pound) packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 cups cider vinegar (5%)

Wash and rinse pint canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Simmer flat part of lids in a small pot of water.

Place pickling spice on a clean, double-layered, 6-inch-square piece of 100% cheesecloth. Bring corners together and tie with a clean string. (Or use a purchased muslin spice bag).

Wash and peel tomatoes (place washed tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute, immediately place in cold water, and slip off skins). Note: I skip this step when making salsa, because the skins in the final product do not bother me. If they bother you, peel your tomatoes! Chop into ½-inch pieces. Peel, wash and dice onions into ¼-inch pieces. Wash, core, and seed bell peppers; chop into ¼-inch pieces. Combine chopped tomatoes, onions and peppers in an 8- or 10- quart Dutch oven or saucepot.

Wash, peel and pit peaches; cut into halves and keep in ascorbic acid solution (1500 mg in half gallon water) while you work. Wash, peel and core apples; cut into halves and keep in ascorbic acid solution. Quickly chop peaches and apples into ½-inch cubes to prevent browning. Add chopped peaches and apples to the saucepot with the vegetables.

Add the pickling spice bag to the saucepot; stir in the salt, red pepper flakes, brown sugar and vinegar. Note: I added 2 cups of sugar and tasted the salsa after it boiled. It tasted great then, so I didn't add the remaining sugar. Bring to boiling, stirring gently to mix ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove spice bag from pan and discard.

With a slotted spoon, fill salsa solids into hot, clean pint jars, leaving 1 1/4-inch headspace (about 3/4 pound solids in each jar). Cover with cooking liquid, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids.

Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. Yields about 7 pints.