Makeover Complete

The key to making enough salsa to last a year is a willingness to chop more peppers than seems entirely reasonable.

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As promised, those ugly tomatoes have been transformed into something lovely. I doubled this recipe, which adds to the cooking time. Totally worth it as we’re now set til next summer.

Salsa

10 cups diced tomatoes

5 cups diced bell peppers

5 cups diced onion

2 cups diced hot peppers

1 1/4 cups cider vinegar

3 cloves diced garlic

1 Tablespoon salt

Sterilize 9 pint-sized jars.

Combine all ingredients in a large pan.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and let simmer until slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes.

Fill hot jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace.

Remove air bubbles by poking down into the jar with a very clean tool.

Process 15 minutes after canning water has returned to a boil.

A few notes on ingredients:

Tomatoes: You’ll need 9 or 10 pounds of tomatoes.

Bell peppers: You’ll need about 5 large peppers. Green bells are fine, and as they’re cheapest that’s a good way to go. I like to do a couple of red if I can swing it, because it’s an easy way to add layers to the flavor.

Hot peppers: You’ll need about 10 peppers if you use large jalapenos. For a salsa just about everyone will like, use jalapenos, removing seeds and membranes. For a hotter salsa, replace some of the jalapenos with habanero or whatever you like. Since habaneros are smaller, you’ll need more of them.

Sweet Spot

When we first moved to this house there was an old peach tree that gave us more fruit than we knew what to do with. So I learned to can.

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I read Martha Stewart’s basic canning instructions, figuring she would reliably do things right, then I found this recipe and jumped in. Being new to canning, I made the mistake of multiplying the recipe, which gives a completely different result than the recipe as written. We found it a happy mistake, though, and for fifteen years that’s the way I’ve made it.

This is by far my most popular preserve and if I bring it somewhere I know better than to bring only one jar, so I work my way through about 40 pounds of peaches each August. Its most obvious application is on crackers with a nice sharp cheese, but it works on so many things – ice cream, pizza, omelettes, chicken, fish, or tofu – because it perfectly balances sweet and heat. Even my most spice-averse friends have come to love it, once they get over the fear inspired by the very word habanero.

A lot has changed on the internet since 2000. What hasn’t changed is that strangers can make each others’ lives richer by sharing what they know is good. This, fellow strangers on the internet, is good.