Canning salsa

We’ve had a bountiful summer, between the farmers’ markets, friends and family, and our CSA.

A week ago, we received 10 bonus pounds of tomatoes, an unexpected windfall from the CSA to which we belonged last year.

We’ve been doing a LOT better about not wasting food this year. But this was a true test.

The tomatoes were heirlooms – lots of Green Zebras, and some that might be German Red Strawberries, along with some possible Brandywine Yellows. (Thanks, Google, for helping me ID these.)

They were gorgeous. They weren’t perfect. (Neither am I.)

Gorgeous, right?

Gorgeous, right?

So we decided to try our luck canning salsa. Reasons why I’d never canned anything before:

  • It seemed like a lot of work
  • I was worried about killing someone because I didn’t know what I was doing (hello, botulism)
  • I didn’t have the proper equipment (or didn’t think that I did)

This year, I’d inherited my grandmother’s trusty canner, which kept our family in green beans and pickles for years. I picked up a jar lifter a few years ago during an well-meaning attempt to can a single jar of pickled okra… and I knew exactly where it was. (After moving twice in 2013, this might have been the greatest miracle of all.)

The real tool that I had was enough time to figure out the process. This proved to be crucial to the endeavor. (Also, I remembered the advice I had been given about canning: keep everything hot, and keep everything clean.) Note to my future self: this is not a project to start at 8 p.m. the night before you need it.

Chris and I agreed to devote the better part of our Saturday to this project. We hit the farmers’ markets in Wichita for the remaining ingredients. I invested in a wide-mouth funnel, and a Ball Blue Book for good measure.

We set to our task with good music, a fresh six-pack of beer, and a recipe from the Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. We blistered and peeled peppers (we went with a “garden salsa” variety); we peeled, cored and chopped tomatoes, and made sure our jars were properly sanitized in the dishwasher.

A few hours later, we had 11 tiny jars of salsa to show for our work.

We did some things right. We did some things not-so-right. We had a good time. We’ll try it again.

The finished product.

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