Each year around this time we get garden fever. It is that time when you look around and see the beginnings of Spring colors. You have been diligently planning your garden layout and counting the holes in your pantry where you are reaching the end of your canned stash from last summer. You get the itch for something fresh.......
On Saturday we jumped ahead and made a fresh batch of garden salsa.
Roma tomatoes, sweet bells, jalapeños, poblanos, onions, garlic, cilantro and other seasonings gathered for the "Hen Party" cook....The "Hens" chopped, cooked and canned for a few hours on Saturday and each took home almost a dozen jars of fresh ready to eat salsa.....yum!
We used this recipe from UGA's Cooperative Extension Service's collection of Sensational Salsas.
Tomato Salsa with Paste Tomatoes
7 quarts peeled, cored, chopped paste tomatoes
4 cups seeded, chopped sweet peppers (we used red and green bells and poblano peppers)
5 cups chopped onion
½ cup seeded, finely chopped jalapeno pepper (we seeded ¼ cup and left the rest in)
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups bottled lemon juice
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin (optional)
3 tablespoons oregano leaves (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely minced with stem (optional)
Wash and rinse canning jars. Prepare lids according to manufacturer's directions. Prepare peppers by washing and drying. CAUTION: Wear plastic or rubber gloves when handling and cutting hot peppers. If you do not wear gloves, was hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching face or eyes. Blanch and cool paste tomatoes. Chop all ingredients. Combine the ingredients: tomatoes, peppers, garlic, salt, lemon juice, salt, black pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add spices and cilantro. Simmer additional 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally. Ladle hot into clean jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace as needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean cloth; apply lids and adjust to finger tightness.
Process in boiling water canner for 15 minutes.
Yield: 16-18 pints
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