Would You Like Some ... Fresh Salsa?

It’s rather hard not to make salsa this time of year, with tomatoes overflowing everywhere, fresh onions, and hot peppers ripening on the back porch.  We had tacos tonight, and it was the perfect topper.   Every year it’s part of my canning job, which has been pared down to two things … whole tomatoes, and salsa.  The salsa is so easy to make it’s a crime not to if you can find a spare hour, has infinite variations, and can be kept in the fridge, frozen, or canned … whatever you have time and space for.  I canned some tonight, using up the rest of the bushel of tomatoes that I (for some unknown reason) thought it would be easier to buy on vacation and haul home, thanks to our minivan rental and cheap Ohio farmer’s markets.  I didn’t factor in the need to can them as soon as I got home, on top of unpacking from two weeks, and the other jobs filling my plate at the moment.  I won’t regret one iota of lost sleep however, when I open a jar of fresh tomatoes in February!

Back to the salsa … a general recipe follows but be as creative as you want!

Fresh Tomato Salsa

  • 5 lbs or so of tomatoes, romas are great as they have fewer seeds to juice it up. 
  • 1 lg bunch cilantro
  • 2 big onions
  • 2 green/red peppers
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • fresh hot peppers to taste (I use jalapenos usually, and threw in a dried chile this time too)
  • juice and zest of one or two limes
  • can of tomato paste
  • salt to taste

Finely chop the tomatoes, leafiest parts of the cilantro, onions, and green peppers.  Take about 1/4 of each and dump in the blender, putting the rest in a large bowl.  Peel the garlic and rough chop the hot peppers, and add them to the blender.  Add the cilantro stems too.  Blend till liquid, and add to the bowl.  Dump in the tomato paste, lime juice/zest, and salt.  Stir and taste, adding lemon juice if it seems too sweet, or more hot peppers if you want a good bite to it.  You can also add things like cucumbers (beware of it getting too watery though), ginger, oregano, or green onions … whatever is withering in your produce drawer, or just plain appeals to you.  It will keep about 2 weeks in the fridge, months in the freezer (add a dab of lemon juice when you thaw if it needs a fresh zing) and years if you can it!

Enjoy :)