Mama’s always making something, today it was salsa.
She had already chopped and drained the tomatoes.
I’m not sure why there’s tomato bits already in the pot, just pretend that’s a clean pot. She had already chopped red and green bell peppers, garlic, jalapeños,
and onions. Lots of onions. I’m glad she cut those the night before or I would be over in the corner crying right now.
Into the pot that we’re pretending started out clean, not recycled from something else she dumped the onions.
Then the bell peppers,
the jalapeños, garlic, sugar and salt,
cilantro –yes, she works fast. If you walk away for a second you’ll miss half of it.
Next she put in a can of tomato paste.
Mixed it altogether. And while I was still admiring the pretty colors of everything
She dumped in all the drained tomatoes.
It was a good year for tomatoes even if some of them were almost cooked and mushy picked fresh off the vine during the weeks that it was around 110 degrees.
I was back to admiring how good it looked
when I realized she was doing something else. Ok what’s this? She grinned and said “Waste not want not. This is the juice from the drained tomatoes, I’ll season it and make it into tomato juice to drink.”
Next she squeezed some lemons.
Then she got out the hot jars and got the lids and bands waiting in hot water nearby.
She put a few spoons of lemon juice in the bottom of each jar
then scooped in the salsa
With a butter knife she made sure there were no air pockets then wiped the rims and put on the lids and bands.
Then placed the jars into a large pot
and cooked them for 30 or so minutes.
Here they are, ready for some day when the garden is all done for the season.
makes about 8 pints, (or can be done the easy refrigerator way)
- 3 quarts tomatoes, chopped and left to drain in a colander several hours or overnight in a cool place; the strained juice can be poured off into a jar and seasoned --- tomato juice!
- 3 large bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- 4 large onions, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup sugar or honey
- 3 Tablespoons sea salt
- 1/2 to 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 to 6 jalapenos, chopped, with seeds for added heat
- a 12 oz can of tomato paste
- 6 to 7 lemons, juiced; and more bottled lemon juice if you run out of juice; this is not mixed into the other ingredients, but put into the jars before filling
Mix well in a large bowl
Prepare jars and lids
1.for raw pack:
measure 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice into prepared jars, then fill with mixture, leaving 1/2" headspace, wipe rims and cover with prepared lids and bands
process in hot water bath for 30 to 40 minutes
2. for cooked pack:
cook in large kettle for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, then proceed as above, filling and processing jars for 10 minutes
3.easy: a) raw: refrigerate a few hours, stir and eat; best used within about a week
b) cooked: cool and refrigerate; will keep about 2 weeks