Saturday, September 19, 2009

Grandma's Salsa

When I was a kid, we'd go visit my grandparents in southern MN. In the summer my grandma had buckets and buckets of tomatoes. I loved to go visit and just eat them out of hand. They had so much flavor! Come fall, all those tomatoes were transformed into salsa, canned tomatoes, and other yummy treats to last the winter.

I planted tomatoes this year in the hopes I would get a good return so I too would be able to can some to enjoy later. Below is just a very small sampling of the 4 varieties I planted this year. Complete success in the square foot garden kiddos!

We've enjoyed tomato salads, BLT's, tomatoes with salt, tomato/basil pasta, I could go on for quite some time with all the ways Jon and I have eaten these wonderful little globes.

I was so today excited as we finally arrived at canning day! I wanted to make salsa the way my grandma did, so I emailed her and requested her recipe. She was so good to me and replied promptly.

After much chopping and tomato nibbling, I have 6 pints of Spranger Salsa. I can't wait to pop one of these jars open and give it a try!

I have many more tomatoes on the vine still getting ripe. Can't wait to make marinara sauce with them to enjoy the flavors of summer when I am trapped under 6 feet of snow this winter.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friend! Cheers!

Grandma Spranger’s Salsa

5 lbs fresh tomatoes, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 ½ cups chopped jalapenos, seeded, cored, and rinsed*
2 cups diced onion
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ cup cilantro

Use the freshest tomatoes at peak season for best flavors. Can be canned or frozen.

To peel tomatoes, score tomato with an X and plunge into boiling water for 30 seconds. Shock in an ice bath so they are cool enough to handle. Skins should peel easily.

To freeze: Simmer all ingredients in a large pot for 30 minutes. Cool, add to freezer canning jars (plastic jars found in canning dept) or plastic containers.

To can: Sterilize glass jars (pints) and rings. Fill jars leaving a head space of about ½ inch or so. Lid and ring the jars. Be sure not to tighten rings too tight. Process jars for 40 minutes in simmering water. Cool. Tighten rings once completely cool. Give the jars a gentle shake to mix as the juices separate from the solids when processed. Store in a dark, cool place.

*For less heat, replace a portion of the jalapenos with bell pepper.

**For those of us who are allergic to cilantro- replace this with parsley, it's the not exactly the same, but it's a fair substitute.

What I did to personalize my salsa: I used 4 different varieties of tomatoes, decreased the amount of jalapeno to 3/4 cup and used red and orange bell pepper to make up the difference, added 6 cloves minced garlic, and I added Franks Hot Sauce as it is a different heat than jalapenos. One last note- I added Fresh Fruit color protector before I canned my salsa, this helps to prevent color fade.

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