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The basis for salsa verde

 

For the last two months I have been lurking on Tigress’s Can Jam.  The Can Jam is amazing and sometimes I think I should ask for a late entry option.  Each month an incredible group of bloggers selects a fruit or vegetable and they post preserving recipes for that selection.  The breadth of recipes is inspirational for newbie canners like me.  For August What Julia Ate selected tomatoes – and several of these fantastic cooks selected tomatillos, a member of the tomato family, as a base for salsa.  I was intrigued – I have eaten the green goodness that is salsa verde at many Mexican restaurants but never thought to make (and can) my own.  

You need to be careful canning tomatoes in a water bath canner – they are low on the acidity scale for water bath canning and the addition of extra vegetables – like onions and peppers may tip the recipe below the safe zone.  This means that unless you are an experienced canner or an adventuresome chemist with pH testing strips, you should follow a trusted recipe – varying only the spices (leaving the vegetable, vinegar and citrus juice ratios alone).  If the acidity is too low – you run the risk of an environment conducive to botulism in your final product.  If you are not familiar with canning protocols – the USDA home preserving site is a good place to start.  

  

My first preserving book, and one of the most trusted, is the Ball Blue Book of Preserving.  I chose their standard Tomatillo Salsa recipe.   I will say that husking tomatillos is much easier than peeling tomatoes.   The price for that simplicity – dead moths.  Moths seem to love to crawl up into the husks before meeting their maker.  The other word of warning depends on the type of peppers you choose.  I love a slow burn salsa (the type that doesn’t overwhelm you at first bite – but builds up heat slowly).  To create a slow burn salsa I chose a combination of mild and hot peppers (poblano, fresno and jalapeno).  If you choose hot peppers wear gloves while seeding and chopping.  If you forget and find your hands on fire afterwards – I learned that washing several times with Dawn, followed by a 30 minute Colgate toothpaste rub will take care of the burn.  I also learned that tomatoes and sour cream only offer temporary relief.  Finally – this recipe only makes two pints.  After reading a couple of the Can Jam posts (all of which regretted only making one batch) and given my husband’s love of salsa – I brought enough ingredients for a second batch.  

Huevos rancheros with tomatillo salsa

 

Recipe – adapted from Balls Blue Book (adjustments noted):  

5 1/2 cups of husked, chopped tomatillos (about 2 pounds)  

1 cup chopped onion  

1 cup chopped green peppers (I used jalapeno, fresno and  poblano which gave me a “slow burn” salsa)  

4 garlic cloves – minced  

2 tablespoons minced cilantro  

2 teaspoons cumin  

1/2 teaspoon salt  

1/2 teaspoon red pepper (I was out – so I ground up red pepper flakes)  

1/2 cup vinegar (they didn’t specify so I used white)  

1/4 cup lime juice  

Mix all ingredients in stock pot and bring to a boil using med-high heat.  Reduce temperature to low and simmer for 10 minutes – stirring from time to time.  Pack into sterile jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Process for 15 minutes in water bath canner.