The tomato season is in full swing, and I’m doing my best to eat as many fresh as I can, and also get lots of them canned for future use. Paula from Springdale Farm wanted to make some shelf stable salsa, and looked for a good recipe that didn’t call for vinegar. Vinegar has no place in salsa, in my opinion, but since tomatoes need additional acid for canning, especially when mixed with non-acid vegetables, like peppers and onions, I was determined to find a recipe using lime juice. For flavor, lime juice seemed like a much better option. (I was surprised at how many fresh salsa recipes called for canned tomato sauce or paste.)
After much research, I found the following recipe from another blog:
7qt diced, seeded, peeled, cored tomatoes
4c long green chili peppers, seeded & chopped (about 12)
5c onion, chopped (5 med)
1/2c jalapeno peppers, seeded & chopped (about 2)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2c. bottled lime or lemon juice
2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp cilantro
I took a tomato class last year from Jesse Griffiths, from Dai Due, and one takeaway from that class which I’ve never forgotten, is that salsas will taste much better if the tomatoes and vegetables are charred. So we made a screaming hot mesquite fire, and started charring a variety of heirloom and hybrid tomatoes from the farm. This is difficult, because the tomatoes collapse and you lose part of them if you don’t act quickly.
Working in batches, we got all of the tomatoes charred and into a bowl to cool for peeling.
The onions and peppers got their turn over the fire as well. We substituted jalapenos for the green chiles called for in the recipe, because jalapenos were the variety available on the farm that day. The charring concentrates the flavor, and I think makes the peppers hotter.
Once the tomato skins were removed, the tomatoes, onions, peppers, lime juice and salt went into a pot. (We forgot the garlic.) I used the immersion blender to chop up the chunks for a smoother salsa. We brought the salsa to a boil and let it cook for about 10 minutes as we prepared our hot jars. We then added the cilantro to the salsa and allowed it to cook another 5 minutes.
In an abundance of caution, we added 1/4 teas. citric acid to each of our jars, before filling them with the hot salsa. We processed the jars in a water bath for 35 minutes until the lids were sealed.
The result was delicious, non-vinegary salsa. I worried that the lime juice would be too prominent in this recipe, but it was just right.
If you don’t grow your own tomatoes, and want to can some, in whatever form, ask your farmers for the ugly tomatoes and you likely will get perfectly good tomatoes at a discount. This is also true of peaches, and other fruits.