My Non-Recipe Salsa Recipe
When it comes to canning, I’m not very good at following recipes. Heck, I’m awful at it. I look at a recipe and say, ok, these are the ingredients, good enough. Luckily, I haven’t had anything turn out horrible yet. In fact, it all turns out pretty good.
Since I can’t really tell you how much of stuff to put in, this is my non-recipe recipe for salsa.
Tomatoes – a crap load of them
Peppers – you can use green, red, yellow, purple, whatever you like. Or a mix of all of them.
Onions – About five for each giant pot (20 or so quarts)
Salt – How much salt is totally up to you. I’m not a big salt/pepper fan, so I usually make my dad judge the amount of salt.
Hot Peppers – I always put some salsa aside in order to make my dad hot salsa. He likes it HOT. This year he put about 10 jalapenos in one and 10 jalapenos and 5 ghost peppers in the other. The man is insane. I barely touched the salsa and my hands started burning.
Lime Juice – This year I tried adding lime to the salsa. To me, it really brought out the other flavors in the tomatoes, peppers, and onions. I don’t know how, just that it made it taste better.
Sugar – I like to add sugar when the salsa tastes too tomato-y to me. Which every salsa without sugar tastes like to me. Start with about a half cup (I just eyeball it) and go from there. You want it to taste good without being sweet. Odd, I know. But trust me, it works.
Tomato Paste – Tomato paste is awesome for adding another level of tomato flavor. Which is weird, since it is really gross on its own. It also helps to thicken up runny salsa.
I made two types of salsa this year – smooth and chunky. I’ll start with the directions for the smooth salsa.
Put everything in a blender. Honestly, that is pretty much it. I cut everything into manageable chunks – usually into fours unless the vegetable was really big. Then I put the blender on high while I cut up more to blend.
I found that adding tomato with the peppers and onions made it easier for those veggies to blend up and pour out. I used Michigan tomatoes which are really liquidy. Without the tomato juice in there, peppers and onions usually make more of a paste when blended. Which is totally fine – it just means you have to scrape it out compared to pouring it out. I poured all of it right into my stock pot. Other than adding the other ingredients, this is the base for all smooth salsas.
I did end up adding two cans of tomato paste into the smooth salsa. It wasn’t getting as thick as I wanted. Adding the paste definitely helped.
Making chunky salsa is a bit different. It means chopping. And chopping. And chopping some more. Because I went overboard on buying veggies, I had a crap ton to chop up. Chop the peppers and onions up into bite sized pieces. I read somewhere from some famous chef that you don’t want everything to be the same size because the irregularity creates a nicer look. I take that to heart and just chop without caring about size and shape.
Tomatoes are a bit harder to chop up, at least Michigan tomatoes are. They are all soft and full of liquid. With about half, I chopped them up into eighths. Then I stuck them in the blender and pulsed them on low. It made them into a chunky slurry which was perfect. After adding all the chunky stuff in, I realized it was just a chunky bite sized salsa with no real liquid to hold it together. So I threw more tomatoes into the blender and blended the crap out of them. I did that twice so there was enough juice to hold it together without becoming too… juicy.
Now, I do something a bit strange compared to other salsa makers. I cook my salsa. I just like the flavor of cooked salsa better than uncooked. I cooked both my salsas for about three hours. There really is no right or wrong amount of time to cook your salsa. It is up to you if you like the flavor after an hour, two hours, six hours… I honestly went with three hours because I needed my dad to help me taste test and figure out what exactly the salsas needed more of. And it was already quite late and my dad usually goes to bed early.
Once the salsa is all cooked and flavored to your liking, it is time to store it. I like to can my salsa because I feel cool preserving my own food and then eating it in like six months. Plus we have over a 100 canning jars so it would be a waste not to use them. You could also freeze your salsa. Just put it in freezer containers. Just make sure you wait for it to cool before putting it in the freezer.
That is pretty much it. My salsa non-recipe is pretty easy, just time consuming. It takes all day from cutting to blending to cooking to storing. Make sure you have the time before you start. Or else you will be up ALL night.
Have you ever made homemade salsa?