What a relief. The salsa is done! 14 jewel toned, full little pints, made last Sunday. It was a nice day, and not too hot for being in the kitchen for several hours with giant pots boiling on the stove. The scent of hot peppers was so strong at times that if I breathed deeply it made me cough. I always have to make sure to wear rubber gloves when I work with the peppers or my hands carry the hot oil for days, and I end up with it in my eyes at some point. And the onions, well let's say, I might as well think about all the saddest things in the world while I am chopping since I spend a lot of time crying anyway!
The pot on the left is my large green enameled stock pot, in which the salsa simmers while I get the jars sterilized in the pot to the right, which is where the pints get their hot water bath. That pot has a nice rack inside which holds 7 pints and lifts them up out of the boiling water when they are done, after 15 minutes of processing.
These jars were all sterilized and waiting to be filled with salsa. The black handled lifter on the left I could not do without. It has wooden handles, and the part that goes into the hot water is rubberized against the heat. I have used this little gadget for at least 15 years, and it is still in great condition. I couldn't can without it!
Here the pints were all lined up just filled and ready for their hot water bath. This is a great point in salsa making because all the mess is over, and it is time to look forward to filling my pantry with the fruits of my labors. After they are all done in their bath, I set them back on the counter and listen for each little "crack/pop" as the lids seal. I love that sound!
Here is the first batch all done, except for the labels. I hadn't made the labels yet, since I was still contemplating the name. Although I had come up with all kinds of names based on my procrastination, I finally decided this batch will be "Here's My Heart" Salsa. No matter how much time I seem to spend thinking about the right name, at the end the salsa usually ends up almost naming itself.
Below is the basic recipe for salsa, which I change for each batch depending on how many tomatoes I have, what kind of hot peppers are available, and whether I feel like adding garlic or other spices. But this recipe is the very plain and simple one which won the top award for me at the El Dorado County Fair in 1997.
Hot chili salsa for canning. Yields 6 to 8 pints
1 pound onions
2 pounds hot peppers
5 pounds fresh tomatoes
3 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 to 1 cup vinegar
Finely chop or coarsely grind onions and peppers. Peel, if desired, and chop tomatoes into small pieces. Add onions, peppers and other ingredients to tomatoes. Heat to simmering; simmer 10 minutes. Pack into clean, hot pint or half-pint jars; seal. Process 15 minutes in simmering hot water bath. Per 1/2 cup serving: 43 calories, 2 gr. protein, 10 gr. carb., 0 grams fat, 0 mg chol. 278 mg sodium.
I hope you enjoy making your salsa as much as I enjoy making mine, once I set my mind to it.