A few years ago, I was looking for a good salsa recipe and i came across the recipe from A Gardener’s Table, and I am so glad I did. This is my 3rd year making this salsa and I LOVE it. Salsa has become my comfort food. I made 12 jars the first year I made it, and 24 last year. 12 was too few, and 24 gave us quite a bit of extras, but not in a bad way. I made 4 batches this year, again (24) and made some of it super mild for the kiddo and some of it spicy enough for Ranger and I to enjoy. My love for it is 2-fold. First of all, because you bake the tomatoes, not boil them. Seriously, that trick makes it an instant favorite. Genius! No more watery salsa! Even with very juicy tomatoes (which is what I am using this year).
I also like that it uses lime juice instead of just lemon. I’m not a lime-and-spicy kind of person, so I was hesitant, but it’s an amazing difference. It goes from regular Joe-Shmoe salsa to yummy with a kick. In my case, a big kick. we use about 1/2 lb of mild peppers, then a whole lb of the mediums, followed by a 1/2 lb of the good and fiery varieties. You can use any combination, as long as you get to 2 lbs. It doesn’t sound like too much spice, since there’s still more mediums, but think of how little the big-ticket peppers are. A 1/2 lb of those tiny things is actually pretty intense. My cousin came over yesterday and his eyes were watering from the first bite. My eyes have been watering all day, what do I care!?! The onions are pretty potent when they haven’t chilled before you cut them. And I kept getting whiffs of peppers up my nose every time I opened the chopper.
I’ve tweaked the original a bit, adding back some of the lemon juice instead of lime (lime had a bit too much flavor for me), and I’m much happier with it now. I didn’t core the tomatoes this year. Next year, I’m going to. It is a whole lot easier to remove the cores before cooking as opposed to after.
- 5 pounds tomatoes
- 1/2 lb bell peppers
- 1 lb medium peppers
- 1/2 lb spicy peppers
- 1 pound onions
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1/2 c lemon juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons pickling salt
- Heat the oven to 250 degrees F.
- slice and core the tomatoes. Lay the tomato halves cut-side up in a single layer on an ungreased pan.
- Bake about 3 hours.
- While they’re baking, seed the peppers or not, depending on your heat tolerance (I don’t). Then chop the peppers and the onions (I use the food processor, leaving some small and others big). Pour all the peppers and onions into a large nonreactive pot.
- Pull the tomatoes out and let them cool and then remove the skins (Seriously, let them cool. You’ll than me). Blend the now skinless-tomatoes so that very few chunks still remain. Drop the tomato pieces into the pot with the peppers. Add the lime and lemon juices and salt. Stir.
- Bring the salsa to a simmer for 10 minutes.
- Ladle the salsa into pint or half-pint mason jars, leaving ½ inch headspace.
- Close the jars with two-piece caps, and process the jars in a water bath canner for 20 minutes, depending on altitude (I’m at 5000 feet).
I also used this recipe to make what I keep joking is “weak sauce” because there’s no spice and no chunks. Perfect for my anti-tomato, anti-spice, anti-chunk, and mild-flavors-only daughter.
I follow the directions above, but I use only bell peppers, and really blend the heck out of the tomatoes. I puree the peppers and onions really (really) well, and then blend the whole mixture again before it’s done simmering with my stick blender (caution! HOT. Legal disclaimer ;c)). I have this blender, but sadly, I paid more for mine. It works great, though. I just had to replace my old one, because it finally gave up the ghost. It was only 10 years old.
I have to say, my picky child loved it! Just proves that you can always make something enjoyable. Now she wont have much room to complain. And next time she doesn’t like something, I can remind her that saying no to healthful food is not a forever thing but a “we’ll try it a different way” thing and bring up the salsa as an example.