Sunday, July 24, 2011

Salsa, Salsa, Salsa!!!

Good Afternoon! The review is out "the Salsa is the best ever!" according to my sweet hubby! The fact that he just finished off half a pint, is a pretty good indication that is true.
I hope I have canned enough to last the Winter, he says he is not letting any of it get away!
For great salsa, you need great, firm tomatoes with as little water content as possible. I find that plum tomatoes are best for this, but any firm and flavorful tomato will do.

Canned Summer Garden Salsa

40 tomatoes peeled and chopped (If you haven't peeled tomatoes before, the trick is to dip them in boiling water for a minute and then the skins will slip right off!)
How you chop them, depends on your own personal preference, I like mine kinda
chunky, but you may chop finely or even puree)
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
10 cups chopped onions
5 cloves garlic (optional) (again chop finely)
1 cup chopped jalapenos (more or less depending on how HOT you want the Salsa)
2 cups vinegar
8 teaspoons Kosher or pickling salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
(Puree 10 of the peeled chopped tomatoes to give the Salsa a better texture)
2 TBSP Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
2 TBSP Cumin

Combine all ingredients in large non-reactive pan on top of stove and cook ten minutes. Ladle HOT salsa into sterilized one pint jars and process in HOT WATER BATH for 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool/seal.

Believe me, this is worth the time!

The next item on my Summer food preserving list is those beautiful Georgia Peaches. Last year I froze some and made Peach Butter out of the rest. The Peach Butter came out so delicious, that I ran out of it in a hurry! We got rave reviews from all the children too! It is so nice to have that taste of freshness all Winter.
Peach Butter is quite easy to make, but the main ingredient must be Fresh Georgia Peaches! As Rachael Ray would say, YUMMO!
You just peel and take the pits out and I have found the best way to preserve the flavor and not have to add water, is to cook them in a slow cooker over night. By morning you have a well cooked bunch of peaches which you can either puree in a blender or use a stick blender.
Every family likes different amounts of spice, but the ones which best enhance the peaches are Cinnamon, a little freshly grated Nutmeg and a little Vanilla. If you would like the peaches to retain their light color, a bit of Fruit Fresh is suggested. Last year the peaches were so sweet that I really didn't add but a little sugar. You can add sugar to taste after you puree them. I add lemon juice to acidify them (couple tablespoons per quart) and make it safer for canning.
Check out different recipes on line and find your favorite, or use this one:

d Peach Butter

Yields 8 half-pint jars

* 12 cups peaches, peeled and diced
* 1 cup sugar, (taste and see if you need more, or you can actually
use Truvia to make it more diabetic friendly!)
* 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Don't be afraid to experiment with spices if you like others!

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker (crock pot). Cook on low heat for about 12 to 14 hours. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Cook for an additional hour or two, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. You may want to remove the lid on your slow cooker for a little while to let some of the steam escape and give the peach butter a chance to thicken up just a bit.

Ladle the peach butter into hot, sterilized jars, being sure to wipe the rims and fit with sterilized lids and bands. Process for 20 minutes, once the water has come up to a boil.

Your family will love you for this one!
Just wait until Fall...then there will be Pear Butter, Apple Butter, and Oh those scuppernong and muscadine grapes! Georgia Produce!

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