I Love Roasted Tomato Salsa
arvest 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.
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.
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.
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.