Photo: Tom McCarthy Jr.

All year-round Texas produces fruits and vegetable ripe for baking, cooking, and canning. Tomato season is just around the corner, and after picking up a few bushels at a farmers’ market or stand, you’ll want to have this salsa recipe handy. Roasting the peppers and tomatoes first adds some toothsome char and also makes them easier to peel. Hatch chiles mingled with jalapeños to bring some smoky depth to the heat; just make sure to either wear gloves while working with hot peppers or plan to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Canning the results ensures that your salsa is delicious and fresh-tasting for the next year.

Yields six 12-ounce jars

  • Ingredients
  • 6 pounds Roma tomatoes
  • 4 Hatch chile peppers
  • 2 red jalapeños
  • 2 green jalapeños
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar (to taste)
Farm fresh produce ready for canning.

Photo: Tom McCarthy Jr.

Directions

Wash jars, bands, and lids in hot soapy water; let drain. Place bands and lids in a saucepan and cover with water. Fill a water-bath canner * and set on the stove over low heat.

Cut tomatoes in half, cut out stem-end cores, and place on baking sheet under broiler for 2 to 4 minutes until skins are slightly charred and slip off easily. While tomatoes cool, roast the 8 peppers over an open flame until blistered, then place in a metal bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

Discard skins and chop the tomatoes. Place in 5-quart stockpot, being sure to include all the juices. You should have about 8 cups of chopped tomatoes and juices from 6 pounds of tomatoes. Rinse the peppers under cool water, discarding ribs, stems, and seeds. The blackened skins should come right off.

Finely chop the peeled and seeded peppers, and add to the stockpot. You should have 1 to 1 1/2 cups of roasted peppers.

Turn the heat under the canner to high and bring to boil. Place the saucepan with lids and bands over low heat; do not let boil.

Add the remaining ingredients to the tomato/pepper mixture, adding just 1 teaspoon of sugar to start. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.

While the salsa simmers, sterilize your 12-ounce jars on their sides or upside-down in canner for at least 10 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, carefully purée the salsa to a smoother consistency. Taste for seasonings, and if too vinegary, add another teaspoon or so of sugar. If too sweet, add a bit more vinegar to balance.

Bring blended salsa back to a boil and simmer a few more minutes.

Carefully remove jars with tongs. Use a canning funnel and ladle hot salsa into jars, leaving a 1/2-inch head space. Wipe rims clean with a damp cloth and carefully place lid on and screw bands in place to finger-tightness. Process in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes, then turn off the burner under the canner, remove the lid, and let sit for 5 minutes.

Remove jars with tongs, being careful to keep them upright. Let cool undisturbed on counter for 24 hours. You will hear popping sounds as the jars seal. If after 24 hours, any of your jars haven’t sealed, put in refrigerator to use now. Store sealed jars of salsa in a cool, dark place, and use within a year.

*If you’re just getting started with water-bath canning, there’s no need to buy a dedicated canner if you have a large enough stockpot with a closely fitting lid; just make sure you can fill the pot to a level of at least an inch above your jars without it boiling over. To protect your jars, simply lay a metal cooling rack or couple of folded dishtowels in the bottom of the pot before you fill it, so the jars will sit on the rack or towel and not be in direct contact with the pot (If the jars rest directly on the bottom of the pot, they could shatter). If you decide to buy a canner, you’ll find reasonably prices ones at stores such as Walmart, Target, Tractor Supply, and Ace Hardware—as well as online.

From the April 2019 issue

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