Friday, July 29, 2011

Best Jar of Fruit Salsa I've Ever Eaten

...and it's one I made myself last night!!

Recently I got the idea of canning my own salsa.  It may have something to do with my buying a (rather pricey) jar of "Aji" (which to me is the base for a salsa, if I added more tomatoes, and I've been adding to sandwiches and all sorts of things) at a local Farmer's Market, knowing that I could pretty easily make something like that myself.

Also, I used to be able to buy a really good peach (or mango?) salsa, but it seems to have disappeared out of the stores I shop in.  I can't remember the brand, but it had a hummingbird on the lid.  I still have lots of the empty jars, since they are a great size for canning.

Anyhow, I enjoy occasionally making a fresh salsa.  But this time I searched online for a recipe for a salsa which I could put in jars.  I found this one, which became the main inspiration for my own recipe, along with cross-checking the ingredients on my jar of "Aji" and other store bought salsas in my pantry.

I didn't measure anything precisely, since it is easy to adjust by eye & taste to your liking, so that is the approach I'd recommend also.  Here goes with my version:

Finely chop & mix all ingredients in a large saucepan:

  • 7 peaches / nectarines (if you blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute, the skins pull off easily)
  • 1 pineapple (remove the core & skin & spiny bits)
  • 1 mango
  • 1 large white onion
  • 8 serrano peppers, seeds removed (ouch, I didn't wear gloves - I will next time!)
  • 1 red, 2 orange bell peppers
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 c white vinegar
  • 1 c sugar or to taste (I think I'd omit it entirely next time)
  • 1 cap of Realemon juice
  • pinch salt
Chop 1 bunch of cilantro, but set it aside.

Clean and prepare canning jars in boiling water (my large pan fits 2 at a time, so I swap in the remaining jars one by one as I remove each jar to be filled).

Heat the saucepan, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil.  Boil for about 5 minutes, adding cilantro toward the end, and sampling for any additional ingredients you may want to add.  Good time to adjust sugar or salt levels, or be inspired to add spices.

Spoon salsa into the prepared (boiled) jar, leaving 1/4 inch air space at top.  Seal.

Process jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

My recipe made 7 jars, approx 500 ml or 1/2 quart each.

I already ate 2/3 of a jar today, with tortilla chips.  The "heat" is about a medium, although when I tasted it before it went into the hot water bath (so the flavours had not mixed and mellowed yet), the peppers tasted much hotter.  I'm pretty happy with the result.

A little note about the serrano peppers.  A few days previously, I had cut up a few to make a fresh mango salsa and fresh tomato salsa.  I had not worn gloves (as I've only heard, but never done), but I had cut them in half and used the knife to remove the seeds, before chopping.  So last night, I got careless, thinking that it was okay to use my fingers to pull out the seeds.  It seemed more efficient, and anyhow I enjoy getting my hands into things and getting messy.  I didn't feel anything until completely finishing the salsa, at which time I noticed my one finger and thumb were completely on fire.  I searched for "capsicum burn" and read all sorts of remedies, which I tried : dipping hands in milk, adding oil & then washing thoroughly with soap, vinegar, isopropynol alcohol, repeated washing with dishwashing soap...  I stopped short of the suggestion of using full-strength bleach.  Nothing helped, other than providing momentary relief.  But I went to bed expecting to be fine in the morning.  Which seemed true, until I started getting dressed, and touching things.  At which point, my fingers were on fire again (although not quite as much).  As I type now (almost 20 hours later!!) I can still feel a funny sensation in those fingers.  So although I will probably still not wear gloves next time, I will be sure to handle the peppers more carefully, and not touch any seeds with my fingers!!

Please let me know if you are inspired to make this salsa, or some variation on it, and let me how it turns out.


Garden Lily said...

I'm already down to my last 2 jars. It is easy to eat 1/2 a jar in one sitting, as a dip for tortillas. I picked up ingredients tonight for another batch, this time with more tomatoes and less sweet, I'm hoping. Stay tuned!

Garden Lily said...

A friend of mine shared with me a jar of Santa Barbara Mango Peach salsa from Costco, and it was very good too. Very similar to this first recipe, and also a bit more sweet than I would choose. However, it was still very good, and if I had easy access to it, I would likely not be as motivated to make more of my own. The ingredients looked very similar to mine, except it used red wine vinegar instead of white vinegar, and I think this gave it a nice richness of flavour, that I may try that, too.

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