September 16, 2014

Traditional Skills and Canning Salsa

Last week was a revival of traditional skills.

Canning! While I did get a good deal on a bushel of tomatoes, canning may make the most sense when you grow the food yourself. So for now, I see this as practice for the day when I have a garden. With a bushel of tomatoes, I made 20 quarts of quartered tomatoes and 8 pints of salsa. I also bought 2.5 pounds of tomatillos, which made 3 pints of salsa.

I also scored some free wild yeast sourdough starter from a baker at the farmer's market. While I want to master how to make my own starter, this allows me to start right off with using it to bake. So far I've made one whole-wheat loaf. It was good, but I've got a long way to go. Baking with sourdough is more about knowing the dough, so I've got my work cut out. I usually just follow a recipe without too much thought past that.

I bought 10 fresh whole chicken, and cut up most of them before freezing. Cutting up a whole chicken into parts isn't that difficult, but I still am learning the anatomy of the chicken. Some of those chickens have stray bones, or so it seems.

I also have been looking up information on how to save seeds. So far I have watermelon and cantalope. I tried it with a tomato, but I'm not so sure the fermenting process worked, so I threw them out. I might try saving the seeds from my mint plant as well.

Mild Tomato Salsa for Canning

10 cups, peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes
6 cups seeded, chopped peppers (use 2 or so jalapenos, the rest can be green bell peppers)
4 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup bottled lemon juice
3-4 tsp salt

Remove the tomato skins by cutting a small "x" on the bottom of each tomato and then drop them (in batches) in a pot of boiling water for about a minute. When the skins start to crack or peel, remove with a slotted spoon and put them in a large bowl or sink filled with ice water. The skins will easily peel off. Also cut out the core.

Chop up the tomatoes and put in a colander over a bowl to collect the juice. Squeeze the tomatoes to get out as much juice as possible. Put the juice in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the juice till thickened.

While juice is simmering, chop up peppers, onions, and cilantro. When juice is reduced and thickened, add the chopped tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro, lemon juice and salt to pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Add more salt, if needed.

Meanwhile, in a water bath canner, prepare 8 pint jars by submersing in water. Heat to almost boiling.

When salsa is ready, remove jars and fill with salsa, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims clean and top with clean lids. Screw on rings.

Put jars back in water bath and boil with lid on for 15 minutes. Then remove the lid of the canner and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the jars and allow to cool.

No comments: