Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekend Cooking; Salsa Olympics

Sun-kissed girl and tomatoes

We spent another weekend up at the farm with my mom.  She called and said tomatoes were not selling at the farmer's market any more and we needed to make salsa.  She said this with such enthusiasm I couldn't resist even though I had so much to do at my own home, getting ready for school.  I tucked Groovy Girl into the car with the new Kindle Fire and a good book and took off for the wilds of Northeast Iowa.

We've prepared this same salsa for the last few years although last year my mom made it herself as we just couldn't coordinate a time to do it together.  This year my cupboard was completely bare of any salsa and I knew I couldn't make it through the year without this particular staple to my diet.

Groovy Girl collected ALL the tomatoes for our second batch of  salsa!
Friends of ours, our minister and his wife, passed this recipe on to us.  They also make it every year although I think we've changed our version up enough that they do not taste similar anymore.


Skin 20 cups of tomatoes.  To do this you need to boil a pot of water, place tomatoes into hot water and watch for skins to start "popping."

1 1/2 cup cornstarch
4 cups onions, chunked up
2 cups green peppers, chunked up
2 banana peppers, chopped
5 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 jalapeno, sliced
2 cups sugar
3 T. cayenne pepper
4 tsp chili powder
2 T. cumin
1 T. coriander
4 T. salt
2 1/2 cups white vinegar

Once the tomato skins have popped scoop them out and run a little cold water over and peel skin back.  Cut out the stem and down to get that odd white core out (about 1/4 down). Loosely chop tomatoes and add to food processor.  After each batch is processed add it a large pot.  (We only processed our tomatoes for about five quick spins-we wanted to it to be medium chunky)  Save out two cups of processed tomatoes and add the corn starch in and stir to dissolve.  After you finish processing tomatoes and they are cooking in large pot add onions, peppers, and garlic to food processor and quick pulse to combine.  Again only a few pulses because you want to see small chunks of greens and yellows.  Combine spices, peppers, and garlic into tomato pot.  Stir to combine. This is a great time to do a taste test to see if you want to spice it up more.  (The original recipe calls for more hot peppers and cayenne but I like it not as spicy because my kids eat it like this.  We've worked hard to make it kid-friendly without compromising flavor. )
Our pot was so full we had to scoop back and forth to really mix it up.  Slowly add the tomato/cornstarch mix and stir well.  Cook 20-30 additional minutes.

(My grandmother's canning pot)

Put in hot sterilized jars and seal. The tops should pop if sealed correctly.  What a satisfying sound as you hear them go "pop", "pop", "pop" 14 different times!  A glorious happy feeling.

This salsa-making session will always be remembered as our Olympics-

1. We made one batch and crazily decided "let's do it again!"
2. The Olympics played non-stop on my mom's kitchen television while we (I) chopped, stirred, pulsed, and poured.  I'm sure I took home a medal-14 in fact!

Our goal is to include Groovy Girl a little more each year. This year about all she wanted to do was gather the tomatoes but next year she will help a little more.  Eventually my mom will have taught me how to do all that fancy canning stuff on my own and Groovy Girl will by my helper.  I clearly remember making jam in my grandmother's kitchen.  She sat in her green chair while my mom and I took out samples to her so she could check our progress.  The cycle keeps turning.

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking meme.  Click her link to read many other food-related posts.


Beth F said...

A fantastic tradition to share through the generations. And lucky you to have that great salsa in your cupboards.

Fay said...

The ingredient that jumps off the page is the banana peppers. Of course those would improve the flavor of salsa tremendously. Looks like a great canning project. I am impressed.

Our tomatoes from the markets here in Montana have begun to lose flavor. I wonder if that is why sales are down?

caite said...

a lot of work, but fun if you are working together!

Cecelia said...

What a fun way to pass on the canning tradition! I've never made salsa, though I know the process is pretty simple. Will have to try it sometime soon!

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I love to can!!! and I love tomatoes!! We'll have to try this salsa recipe :):)

Jet said...

I love the fact that this a generational activity. I also love salsa

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

This is such a wonderful family activity, how nice that your daughter can now participate.

Peggy Ann said...

Great tradition and recipe!