Tomato Salsa

tomato

When I have several pounds of ripe tomatoes from the garden, this recipe is on the agenda.  

TOMATO SALSA
(Makes about 6 quarts)

This is a basic recipe for canning, when you have tons of fresh tomatoes. Think of it as a diving board into the pool of flavor and texture possibilities.

Place in large cooking pot:

14 C. fresh tomatoes, peeled* and coarsely chopped in the food processor with:
15 fresh peppers* (more or less), stemmed and seeded
(note: if using fresh cilantro or basil, process those along with the tomatoes and peppers.)
4 C. chopped onion
1 small can of tomato paste
1 ½ C. white vinegar (or use part lemon or lime juice)
2-3 T. salt
1 t. garlic powder (or use fresh garlic cloves, or roasted garlic)
Chopped cilantro, oregano or basil to taste (about 1 t. dried)

Cook over medium heat about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Cook until thickened. Pour into jars, seal with new lids, and process in a water bath 10 minutes.

*Notes: Homegrown tomatoes often have a thick skin that requires peeling, but that’s a personal preference.
If you like a roasted flavor, cut the tomatoes and onions into halves, drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and roast them in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. If you do this, the salsa will not need to cook for an hour to thicken.
If you like the salsa chunkier, hand-cut some of the tomatoes and peppers. Use gloves to protect your hands from hot peppers while cutting them.
The spiciness of the salsa depends on the hotness of the peppers used. Poblanos will add flavor but not much hotness. Try jalapenos for a milder flavor; add serranos or habaneros for more heat. Put in a chipotle or two for a smoky flavor.
Cook the salsa down to thicken it, but carefully watch once it gets thick, or it will stick to the pot.

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