September 6, 2013

Canning Tomato Salsa with Paste Tomatoes

I've finally found a home canned salsa recipe that I like - this one uses paste tomatoes and simmers for 30 minutes, so it makes a nice, thick salsa, with a consistency close to commercially prepared salsas. 

In the past, I've struggled to find a salsa recipe for canning that isn't too acidic or watery (this peach apple salsa is an exception). Since I go through a lot of salsa in the year (especially now that football season has started), I went big, got a lot of tomatoes and ended up with 15 pints of salsa. 

I found a great deal on beautiful paste tomatoes from Fairwinds Farm in Topsham ($25 for a 20lb. box), and used local peppers, some from my CSA share from New Beat Farm in Knox. 

This recipe requires a lot of chopping (A lot. I've apparently gotten spoiled by teaching canning classes where the chopping goes really quickly among 8-10 people), and so I put my new ProCook knife and cutting board to work. ProCook just opened stores in Kittery, Maine and Merrimack, New Hampshire, and they sent me some samples of their cookware. 

While I'd like to pretend I'm also going to can some tomatoes, I think freezing is the prefered route again this year, as peeling and canning tomatoes is a lot of work! 

Tomato Salsa with Paste Tomatoes

7 quarts peeled, cored, chopped paste tomatoes
4 cups seeded, chopped long green chiles  
5 cups chopped onion
½ cup seeded, finely chopped jalapeño peppers
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups bottled lemon juice (added for safety) 
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin 
3 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

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

Wash and peel tomatoes (place washed tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute, immediately place in cold water, and slip off skins). 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. Wash, core, and seed jalapeño peppers; dice finely. 

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and heat, stirring frequently, until mixture boils. Combine all ingredients except cumin, oregano and cilantro in a large sauce pot and heat, stirring frequently, until mixture boils. (If you don't have a large enough pot, measure half amounts into two pots and cook two batches simultaneously.) 

Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spices and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle hot into hot pint jars, leaving ½-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 12 to 15 pints. 

Bonus Maine coon cat photo! Our cats love boxes, and he's looking for the other half of the box so he can hide out in it.