I love cilantro. If I’m ever on a game show with any of you and you are asked what my favorite herb is, don’t hesitate to scream out, “SHE’S A CILANTRO ADDICT!”
Did you know?
It was the Incas who originally invented salsa. That delicious combination of tomatoes, hot peppers and spices can also be traced back to the Aztecs and Mayans as well. Those peoples loved chilies in their chocolate, so I wonder how hot their salsa was? Knowledge of salsa spread north and …east (?) after the Spaniards first met the lovely tomato after conquering Mexico in 1521. Originally they used salsa as a condiment on foods like turkey, venison, lobster and fish, (personally, I think each of those need separate condiments!) but as we all know today, it’s gone far beyond that.
…was my first attempt ever at making my own salsa, let alone making salsa to be canned. The addition of cider vinegar aids in the canning process, and actually doesn’t taste half bad, although I’m not sure fresh salsa usually has vinegar in it.
Canning salsa takes a lot longer than canning blueberries – just for the prep work alone. Peeling and seeding tomatoes, then seeding and chopping jalapeños, chopping onions, and mincing garlic, cilantro and oregano took a long time. I had never actually peeled a tomato in my life before! It was kinda fun. I put some water onto boil and, after carving a shallow ‘X’ on the bottom of each tomato (K says what we think is the bottom of a tomato is actually the top, but whatever, Mr. Italiano!) dropped the tomatoes one by one into the boiling water for about 30 seconds. The skin split and started peeling away, and after I took it out of the hot water and ran it under cold, came off fairly easily in my hands.
Next came the seeding, where I basically cut each tomato into quarters and stripped the seeds into a little bowl. Man, it felt like half the tomato disappeared this way (and certainly my favorite parts!) What I had left made its way into a big bowl that I later cut into chunky pieces to be combined with the rest of ingredients.
And what were those ingredients?
To make 3 pints of salsa:
- 3 cups chopped, seeded, peeled, cored tomatoes
- 3 cups chopped jalapeño peppers (we ended up using only two)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro (I may or may not have used twice as much)
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (I kept it to 1/2 tsp)
- 1/2 teaspon cumin
- 1 cup cider vinegar
The thing is, I started with about 6 cups of tomatoes but only ended up with 2.5 pints of salsa. Everything is really full of water this year (the blueberries, too, had a ton). And therefore, it cooks down and doesn’t leave you with much. Still, beyond the chopping, it’s pretty easy to can – just bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes, ladle into hot jars, and process in a boiling water canner for 15 min. When it’s done, yummy salsa! Or at least, I assume. We only have 2.5 pints so I don’t want to open one up yet and leave only 1.5 pints left! 🙂 But when I tasted it in the pot, it was great.