Hot and Spicy..I am talking about Salsa

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Growing up in the Okanagan Valley, we were lucky to have our own garden and fruit trees of plenty at our finger tips and every year to savour the harvest, my mom would preserve or can the fruits and vegetable to be enjoyed for the rest of the year.  Our cold room in the basement was always full of every kind of pickle you can imagine (dill pickles, onion pickles, pickled beets, sweet pickles), canned tomatoes for soups or sauces, and canned fruit (peaches, pears, cherries).  A craft that her mother taught her and was passed down to me. The memories of the whole family getting involved pitting cherries, peeling peaches, peeling and dicing tomatoes.

I can still see my Dad sitting on the front deck, enjoying the sun, peeling those little silver skinned onions for the batch of pickled onions. 🙂

Farmers markets around the city are full of the local harvest at this time and I usually spend the first few weeks in September replenishing my pantry.

So recently my mom was visiting, and we decided to make a batch of salsa.  Another great way of preserving vegetables..

Now in our house, salsa and chips are a staple snack for the kids ( and me :))  So making salsa from scratch and having a few extra jars on hand are a good thing but it is never around for long!!

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This is a quick, easy and delicious recipe passed on to me by my sister in law..

5 lbs tomatoes, peeled and diced (I used Roma)

To help peel the tomatoes, I place my tomatoes in a bowl and pour boiling water over them.  Then pierce them with the tip of my knife.  Wait a minute or two and the peel will slide right off..usually.  Then to make sure the salsa isn’t too water, I will squeeze out the seeds from the tomatoes..

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2 large peppers, chopped  (any color will work)

5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

1 cup celery, chopped

2 large white onions, chopped

2 small jalapeno, seeded or with seeds your choice, finely chopped

Add all ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil

Then add

1/4 cup salt ( I actually half this to 2 TBSP)

2 TBSP brown sugar

1/2 cup vinegar

1 tsp chili flakes

2 small cans of tomato paste (6 oz each)

Stir in and let boil together for about 10 mins.

Fill your jars (you can use pint size or smaller) but not to the very top (you will need to leave some space for the expansion when heating) and process in a water bath for 20 mins

**Water Bath – Place jars in a large roasting pan with water halfway to jar tops.  Place in a preheated oven (350C) for 10 mins**

Once the 10 mins is done remove from the oven and remove the jars from the roasting pan and place on a towel on your counter top and wait for the ‘POP..POP’ of the sealing lids.  That is the sound that you will want to hear.

This sound almost gets me as excited as when I hear that cork pop on my wine bottle.  LOL!! Only diehard ‘canners’ will know what I mean!!  Yes, I am that geek…

Once the jars have completely cooled, store them in a cool area (or your second fridge).  They will last for up to year in a cool place but this salsa never lasts that long in our home….These little jars of goodness will make a great stocking stuffer at Christmas or maybe that hostess gift for the next party you go to.

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Add some guacamole to the party and you will be saying..Pass the chips, please !!!

Recipe for printing purposes:

Homemade Salsa

5 lbs tomatoes, peeled and diced (I used Roma)

2 large peppers, chopped  (any color will work)

5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

1 cup celery, chopped

2 large white onions, chopped

2 small jalapeno, seeded or with seeds your choice, finely chopped

Add all ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil

Then add

1/4 cup salt ( I actually half this to 2 TBSP)

2 TBSP brown sugar

1/2 cup vinegar

2 small cans of tomato paste

1 tsp chili flakes

Stir in and let boil together for about 10 mins.

Fill your jars (you can use pint size or smaller) and process in a water bath for 20 mins

**Water Bath – Place jars in a large roasting pan with water halfway to jar tops.  Place in a preheated oven (350C) for 10 mins**

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