Friday, August 23, 2013

Farm Fridays: Heirloom Tomato Salsa

The tomatoes have really started coming in around here, so it's time for some serious canning.

I've found that we go through our canned goods rather slowly - so much so that I have to work at planning recipes that will use them up. For example, we put up fifteen quarts of canned tomatoes last year (plus a few pints), and five of them are still sitting in the basement. Somehow, despite going through applesauce like water the year before, most of last year's supply is still down on the shelf as well. While these things are delicious and useful, strategizing is often necessary to ensure they actually get used. However, there is one canned item that this does not apply to - in fact, I have to strategize about how to keep it  on the shelf. That item, my friends, is salsa.

I absolutely adore this heirloom tomato salsa recipe. I love how vinegary it is, the pretty mixture of colors, and how the assortment of heirlooms used gives each batch a slightly different flavor. Last month, I wrote about my sadness at cracking open the last remaining jar, which I had been jealously hoarding for months. But the time for sadness is past - now it's time to replenish those stores! We've made two batches of this salsa this month, and another one will likely go down this weekend. Since we were making this all the way into October last year, I think we've gotten a pretty good jump on things. This year, I hope to be able to give my salsa away freely and still have plenty to enjoy for my own afternoon snacks!

Heirloom Tomato Salsa
From Put 'Em Up, my go-to canning book. 
(The original recipe says that this makes 7 cups, but I like a thicker salsa, so I usually get about 5 out of it. I didn't cook this particular batch down far enough, so I ended up with 5 1/2.)
1 c distilled white vinegar
1/4 c sugar
1 tbsp salt
3 lbs heirloom tomatoes, seeded and diced (skins are fine here - how finely you chop them depends on how chunky you like your salsa)
1/2 lb onions, diced
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and minced
1 c cilantro, chopped

Combine the vinegar, sugar and salt in a large, nonreactive saucepan and whisk together. Bring to a boil (definitely put your vent fan on - boiling vinegar is hard on the eyes!).

Add the tomatoes, onions and jalapeno. Return to a boil for 15-20 minutes, until the salsa reaches the desired consistency.

Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

Ladle into clean, hot half-pint canning jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

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