I canned A LOT of salsa last year, and it took up A LOT of space. Unfortunately, our home-jarred salsa supply ran out a few months ago. It was a verrry sad day.
As i was picking tomatoes this week I remembered back a few years ago when I went to the Outdoor Retailer show, and they were sampling backpacker’s salsa. It was dehydrated salsa, and could easily be rehydrated on the trail. I didn’t think any more of it until yesterday.
I love experimenting, so I cooked up a great tasting batch of salsa. Chopped up sweet peppers, onion, obscene amounts of garlic (because we grew garlic this year!). Then I added previously frozen/drained, pureed TOMATOES, and some salt, pepper and cumin. I cooked it for a few minutes. Then I spread it onto a nonstick dehydrating mat.
It tastes INCREDIBLE. I kept some of it in sheets and then pureed some to make a powder. It’s going to be so much better than canning salsa. It’ll take up less space, use less resources, and be super convenient to use.
For the past three days I’ve been picking and saving tomatoes so that I could do a large batch of fire roasted salsa.
Today was that day. It began with picking and washing tomatoes of all shapes, types and colors. We’ve got paste tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, pear tomatoes, striped tomatoes and that about it.
Then I put the tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet with parchment paper. The tomatoes roasted in a 450 F degree oven, then I blasted them with the broiler to blacken and blister their skins. This is the secret to the sauce.
I got 12 pints today. My family can easily inhale a pint of salsa as a pre-dinner snack, so 12 pints is less than 2 weeks worth of salsa. Kind of weak, but I’m happy that we canned our own homemade salsa this year. It may not fill our family’s yearly salsa needs 100% but it’s a step toward self sufficiency, and that’s what matters.
Next year, though, my salsa ambitions are going to scare you. Who wouldn’t love knowing that they have access to a fresh new jar of organic, home grown, home processed fire-roasted salsa 365 days of the year. At 12 jars per canning session, that’s a lotta math and a whole lot more tomatoes.
365 divided by 12 pints = about 30 days
This means that for the entire month of August, I’d have to can a dozen jars of salsa every day.
Yesterday, amid the smoke, fires, destruction, and global pandemic I harvested about 20 pounds of tomatoes from our 6-row kitchen garden. This is the largest tomato harvest of the season so far!
Gardens bring hope, that’s true. But they also bring something that runs a really close second: fire-roasted salsa. And now, because of a couple hours effort, our family has 16 pints of nature’s gift to tortilla chips.
In yesterday’s batch of salsa I carefully altered the recipe (which your not supposed to do because it’s risky with water bath canning + acid levels). I subbed our gypsy peppers instead of jalapenos (we didn’t plant any hot peppers this year). I subbed our flat leaf parsley instead of cilantro (which would have required another trip to the store–no gracias). And I subbed lemon juice for lime juice because we had lemon juice open in the fridge.
I’m hoping that in just a few days we’ll have another huge, 20 lb. haul of vine-ripened tomatoes. I promise to make more salsa!