Basic Tomato Salsa

Basic Tomato Salsa

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I felt horribly sick.  For the first three months, I had this nauseous feeling constantly.  Fortunately I never really got sick, but unfortunately I just couldn’t get that feeling to go away.  I ate a lot of saltines those first few months, and also craved salsa.  For the most part I only craved salty foods – in fact, sweet foods made me sick.  I could not even think about eating chocolate, that was out of the question.  I only wanted the savory stuff.

What surprised me the most is what I wanted with the salsa – it was primarily scrambled eggs.  Eating scrambled eggs by themselves made me want to be sick – but putting some delicious salsa all over the top made it into the most perfect meal ever.  I ate a lot of salsa those 9 months, and when I got pregnant for the second time – I knew exactly what I needed.  More salsa.

Most of my canning is focused on jams and jellies – and occasionally pickles.  This year though I promised myself I would branch out just a little further – and as I walked through the fall farmer’s market, looking at all those beautiful peppers and tomatoes – it was salsa that kept calling me.  I saw a recipe in the Food in Jars cookbook, and I figured like I had nothing to lose.  One way or another, I would find a way to use these amazingly fresh ingredients – even if the salsa came out tasting horrible.

Lucky for me – it was quite the opposite.  I kept going back to the pot for more tastes – I couldn’t believe how delicious this salsa was.  I seriously almost scrambled myself some eggs just to get the full effect – but I wanted to get as much as possible into the jars.  Once I processed them, they were just so beautiful, I couldn’t stop staring.  In fact – I had to strategically place them in the pantry so whenever I open the door – they are staring right back at me.  Salsa will always have a special place in my belly – and in my heart.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chopped Roma or paste tomatoes (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 2 medium onions)
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (1 large pepper)
  • 1 3/4 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 jalapeno or pablano peppers, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons bottled lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

Prepare a boiling water bath and sterilize 4 regular-mouth 1-pint jars. Place the lids in a small saucepan, cover with water, and simmer over very low heat.

Combine the tomatoes, onion, chopped red pepper, vinegar, sugar, jalapenos, garlic, lime juice, and salt in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the salsa no longer looks watery. Stir in the chopped cilantro (or parsley). Taste and add additional jalapeno, lime juice, or salt if necessary.

Ladle the hot salsa into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. When the processing time is up, remove the canning pot from heat and remove the lid. Let the jars sit in the pot for an additional 5 minutes This helps to prevent the salsa from reacting to the rapid temperature change and bubbling out of the jars.

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