Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Homemade Zesty Salsa

Homemade Zesty Salsa

Dorcas Annette Walker

As the summer months wind down to a close I love gathering the remaining garden produce savoring the freshness for the winter months ahead. One way of using those last tomatoes is to make up a batch of salsa. Growing up we had pickled and hot relishes that used cucumbers as a base. Today salsa is a big hit with the younger generation. I was amazed to see my son that refuses to eat fresh tomatoes, consume jars of salsa. So I began making homemade salsa thrilled to see groups of teens at our house gobble up bowls of healthy vegetables disguised by the name of salsa.

The word salsa is a Spanish word for sauce that goes back to the Aztec culture where tomatoes, chilies, squash seeds, and even beans were used. In 1868, Edmund McIhenny began packaging aged pepper sauce in cologne bottles, which immediately became an overwhelming demand. David and Margaret Pace introduced the first commercial taco sauce in the United States in 1955. In the 1970’s the “whole food movement” trend swept the country adding to the popularity of salsa. Dan Jardine began producing salsa in Austin, Texas in 1975 giving Austin the reputation as the hot sauce capital of America. By the year 2000 more households bought salsa than ketchup. Today chunky salsa is currently the most popular form.

Salsa ranges from mild to sweet to spicy and is used as a dip for chips or to accompany any kind of food. Salsa generally has a tomato or corn base. There are over 500 recipes for salsa ranging from pineapple and blueberry to mango. Salsa is healthy as it is low in calories and contains little or no fat. Tomatoes and chilies contain vitamins A and C with tomatoes also having potassium. No matter what style of taste you prefer there is bound to be a salsa to meet your liking.

My Homemade Zesty Salsa is what I consider to be medium salsa. I’ve perfected this recipe under the advice and suggestions of different teens with my son being the chief advisor. My latest experiment this summer has resulted in a chunky salsa that my son declares is as good as or better than what you buy in the store. My Homemade Zesty Salsa is a combination of fresh vegetables and spices cooked for two hours over medium heat (just at a slow boil) and then sealed to preserve freshness. Preparation time for the Homemade Zesty Salsa will take a good half of a day or more. This recipe makes 30 pints.

Homemade Zesty Salsa

½ bushel of tomatoes
5 sweet green peppers
10 onions
5 (6 oz) cans of tomato paste
5 (15 oz) cans of tomato sauce
1 c sugar
1 c vinegar (white)
¼ c salt
4 tb crushed red pepper
2 tb garlic salt
1 tb parsley flakes
Blanch and peel skins off of the tomatoes and chop up into small chunks. Chop up the green peppers and onions in a food processor. Pour into a large canner. Mix in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Stir in the crushed red pepper, garlic salt, and parsley. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil the ingredients for at least one hour at a slow boil. Pour the salsa into pint jars. Process pint jars in a hot water bath for fifteen minutes to completely seal.

Weekly tip: For a sure seal on your canned jars: always make sure that the jar edge has no nicks or cracks, moisten your finger and rub along the top edge to ensure that it is clean, tighten the lids as tight as possible, then process the jars under water!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, syndicated columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net For more recipes check out her Creative Mountain Cookin page at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com


Darius T. Williams said...

I typically do something like a pico de gallo only because it's a bit quicker and easier - but this here is the real deal! I love it!


Dorcas Annette Walker said...

Thanks, Darius!
Several people have wanted this recipe. I might get famous yet- ha!