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I Love Roasted Tomato Salsa

September 15, 2012

Harvest total for the tomatoes is right at about 400 hundred pounds, not counting what I’ve given away or what has been consumed at meals.  I only weigh when I harvest by the box.  Who wants to spoil the feeling of eating a fresh tomato out of hand?

It’s sobering to see how much work and how many pounds of tomatoes goes into making tomato products.  So far we’ve managed to put up 7 quarts of tomato sauce, 46 pints of tomato sauce, 21 quarts of tomato soup, 7 quarts of herbed whole roasted tomatoes and 21 pints of roasted tomato salsa.

Ready for roasting

I leave the salsa until last because I want to use our heirloom Costoluto Genovese tomatoes and they have just been getting more flavorful as they ripen.  I think it helps that they have been without water too since the first week of August.  Delicious!

It takes me several days to get the salsa from garden to jar.  First I roast the tomatoes with olive oil, balsamic vinegar,  bell pepper, garlic scapes, chopped onion, basil, celery leaves and cilantro.  That’s not set in stone, that’s just what is available in the garden right now.  I get pretty frugal too, the basil has bolted but the stems and even the flowers and seed pods add flavor to the cooking liquid, just make sure you take the stems out before puréeing your roasted tomato mélange.

When I have enough tomatoes roasted to fill my big McCoy mixing bowl and my five quart kettle, I run the mixture through my food mill which separates the skins and seeds.  Quite the recipe huh?  At this point I can decide if want to make soup, sauce or do salsa.  That always depends on time, how many boxes of produce are staring me in the face, and how much of what I have already made.   After the food mill, I transfer the purée to my crockpots.  One is a newer large 5.5 quart and the other is my Mom’s old harvest orange model that doesn’t have the removable crock.  These two filled to the brim and cooked down to the desired thickness yield a perfect amount for filling the canner.  See how beautiful that works.  The crockpots are golden too for cooking down the sauce without burning, I can go away and not worry about coming back to a mess in the oven, nor do I have to stand at the stove stirring and worrying over a hot pot.  The flavor just gets better and better too.

Salsa ingredients

Once I have my sauce cooked down to the desired thickness, I go pick the rest of the ingredients and start the chopping.  Canning is one of those things were mise en place really is important.  Here are a few canning tips that I put together a few years ago and they still apply.

Music garlic & Walla Walla Sweets

Here is the recipe as it appears on the How-To page.
MILD SALSA   makes approximately 7 pints
adapted from The Oregonian Foodday

10 cups peeled, finely chopped tomatoes    OR  10 cups roasted tomato puree*
2 cups sweet pepper, finely chopped
2/3 cup mild chilies, finely chopped
2 cups onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup cider vinegar (at least 5% acidity)
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

Note:  you can use any kind of pepper to adjust the heat, just do not exceed 2 2/3 cups total because peppers are a low acid food.

Combine all ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Fill hot jars, leaving 1/2 head space .  Attach lids and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.  (1001 – 6000 feet process 20 minutes; above 6000 feet, process 25 minutes)  For an added degree of safety, in case you are using sweeter, low acid tomatoes, you can add 1/4 teaspoon citric acid per pint, or 1/2 teaspoon per quart.

*To roast tomatoes:  Preheat oven to 400*, cut tomatoes in half, place cut side down in a jelly roll or roasting pan.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Roast until golden and juice has evaporated.  Depending on the variety of tomatoes this may take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.  At this point, you can pluck off the skins, or puree in a food processor, or run the tomatoes through a food mill.  If the mixture is still too runny for salsa, cook down in a crock pot to the desired consistency.

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2012 12:03 pm

    Mmm…. sounds delicious! I may have to try this one. I’ve already got some salsa canned but you can never have enough, can you??
    I haven’t weighed my tomatoes (some year I’ll have to do that) but it has ended up being a good year- even with the heat and drought. I’ve got 38 quarts of sauce, 18 pints of diced, 20 pints of enchilada sauce, 10 pints of pizza sauce and 12 pints of salsa. See, I need more salsa.

    • September 15, 2012 12:12 pm

      Judy, I agree, plus once its canned it keeps just in case the next year in the tomato patch isn’t too hot :)

      I think I need to make some enchilada sauce after reading your tally, lately I’ve fallen into the habit of making chicken enchiladas with a white sauce, traditional red enchilada sounds much better – and I have some more tomatoes that need dealing with!

    • September 15, 2012 5:55 pm

      Judy I am so jealous of your tomato-stuff tally. None for me this year; in between gardens. Heat and drought, oddly enough, can make those ‘maters taste even better than coddled. I’m inspired though.

  2. September 16, 2012 3:03 am

    What type of food mill do you use?

    • September 16, 2012 7:30 am

      Pam, I have a Villaware food mill similar to this one.

      Villaware went out of business I guess… . When I got this one, I was determined not to like it (it was a gift) I thought it was too cheesy and too much plastic like the reviewers on Amazon. But, I have been surprised, it works great and I have used the heck out of it for last 12 years. Beats the crap out of my old Foley for large quantities!

  3. September 16, 2012 5:09 am

    I agree about crock pots, they are a lifesaver in this house too for reducing down tomatoes to a desired consistency or doing chutney. I like your idea of roasting things first though, might give it a try later with some tomatoes that are ripening at home. If you use a food mill though, I’m guessing you don’t need to worry about the basil stalks.

    • September 16, 2012 7:21 am

      Joanna, I do pick out the basil stalks, it makes life a little easier ;) But they sure add some flavor!

  4. September 16, 2012 5:16 am

    North of Seattle I am having a rare “good tomato year” after a very slow start. I am still going to have bowls of green tomatoes as center-pieces while they ripen on the table. I never thought to roast them in the oven. We like to grill them on a smoky bed of coals (usually with apple wood chips). I will be coming back to visit this recipe….thanks.
    Debs of the Toy Box Suburban Farm

  5. September 16, 2012 11:32 am

    Is there something else I could substitute for the apple cider vinegar? My son is allergic to apples (and grapes so plain vinegar is out, too), but he is a huge salsa eater and this recipe looks great otherwise. Would it work with rice vinegar?

  6. Drunken Sailor permalink
    September 16, 2012 1:11 pm

    Costoluto Genovese, sounds like the name of an Italian whorehouse. ;-)

  7. Sally Wright permalink
    October 4, 2012 8:21 pm

    When you cook down your sauce in the crockpot, do you keep the lid on or leave it off?

    • October 4, 2012 9:27 pm

      I take the lid off so it cooks down quicker. It will darken the sauce though, but I haven’t found that it matters much really.

  8. October 5, 2012 6:33 pm

    So, if using 10 cups of cooked down tomatoes instead of 10 cups of fresh tomatoes, wouldn’t your ph be quite a bit lower? Seems like a tastier way to be safe than using citric acid.

    • October 5, 2012 7:28 pm

      Ben, actually the pH wasn’t really lower with the roasted. The original recipe is from the canning column in the Oregonian from about ’05 and it called for chopped fresh tomatoes. I never really like the results and changed it to the roasted tomato puree. My friend and canning partner in crime luckily owns a lab, so it was pretty easy for us to make sure we weren’t screwing up the pH. I think you could leave out the citric acid since there is vinegar in this recipe, and I can’t taste either one of them.

      • October 5, 2012 7:40 pm

        thats interesting. i kind of figured the more moisture that evaporated the more concentrated the acidity, or does cooking raise the ph at the same time? did you test the salsa or just the tomatoes?

      • October 8, 2012 8:22 pm

        alright, a load of this recipe is in the canner right now!

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