No, it’s not career-related at all. It’s something my husband and I do every Fall since moving out here to our little farm.
We put in a big garden in the Spring and then wait for the plants to produce their fruit in the Fall. Bright red cherry tomatoes, Roma & Big Boy tomatoes, zucchini, perfectly wonderful sweet onions, juicy green peppers, spicy hot jalapeno and serrano peppers, pumpkins, and squash (to name a few).
Since I’ve always loved salsa and dabbled with making my own with different recipes, I knew that canning salsa was for me.
Did you know that the process of “canning” dates back to the 1800’s? Napolean Bonaparte was concerned about keeping his armies fed, so he offered a cash prize to whoever could come up with a preserving method to keep food fresh. After dabbling for 15 years, a fellow named Nicholas Appert came up with the idea of preserving the food in bottles, like wine. Later came experimentations with extreme heat, airtight containers, and tin containers until a process was cemented and perfected.
That brings us back to this morning. My husband and I (he’s my canning partner!) got everything ready and then began the process of blanching the tomatoes, the least pleasant part of the process. Peeling the skin off of scalding hot tomatoes is time consuming and HOT!
Then the fun part begins!
We take all of our ingredients that we had already chopped or processed in the food processor and mix them into the pans in equal parts. Then we keep adding hot peppers. Taste, then add more peppers. Taste, then add more. It seems like it is never hot enough.
After a while of testing, our taste buds seem to go numb from all the Capsaicin. Finally, we have to call in THE EXPERTS to tell us if it is getting spicy or not.
They usually tell us ‘No’.
By the time we finished, we had gotten 30 jars out of the process. We usually put up about 80-100 jars a year, much of it given away to friends and family. I love doing it, regardless of the steamy kitchen, tomato-splattered appliances and clothes, and burning mouths. I love the way the house smells when all of the veggies are cooking together combined with that spicy smell of peppers, vinegar and salt.
Later, my mom and sister stopped by and we opened up a jar, sat down with tortilla chips, talked and ate. See? That is the other thing about food, it brings together family and friends.
If you are thinking about canning salsa and want some tips or have questions… I’m not a pro or anything, but will help if I can.