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If you have been reading my blog for a time, you will know that we shop at the “Swami”, or local farmers’ market, on Sundays. This week I was overjoyed to discover beautiful Roma tomatoes and fresh tomatillos for only six pesos for a kilo (that’s about 2.2 pounds for Americans). That works out to less than 25 cent s a pound (US). The price was so low that several of us, Mexican and American, questioned if the price was pesos or dollars. I snapped up as much as we could carry in our shopping bag.

Because we had a commitment Sunday afternoon, I put the fruit into bowls on the counter. The fruit was so fresh that the next morning my kitchen smelled like tomato vines. Now that is fresh!

Yesterday, I made salsa! Two different types. Opposites? Well, one is red and one is green. One is smooth and one is chunky. One is milder and one is hotter (I hope). Why two at one time? Because it is a much more efficient use of the canner (I only have to heat it up once) and my time. Not to mention that I only have to clean the mess up once!

Here is what I made: Roasted Roma Salsa and Roasted Tomatillo Salsa. The Roma salsa is chunky and hotter. The tomatillo salsa is smoother and milder.

I wanted to be as efficient as possible so I made them both at the same time and combined steps. For instance, I roasted both fruits at the same time, in separate pans, for 25 minutes in a 500 degree oven.  I switched the pans about halfway through and roasted them until they began to show some charred spots. I discovered that this made peeling the Romas so easy! The semi-charred skins slipped right off.  I didn’t peel the tomatillos.

Wait, you say, if I peeled the skin off of the Romas didn’t I lose the charred flavor? Not so! As I cut the peeled Romas up they produced some juice which I drained into the baking pan.  I deglazed the pan (a fancy word for scraping up the crusty brown stuff) with the tomato juice and added it back into the tomatoes.  Because the tomatillos don’t have much juice, I used the lime juice and vinegar from the recipe to deglaze that pan. Easy!

Let me say this right now: I use fresh lemon or lime juice from my garden in my canning. I realize that USDA recipes tell us only to use bottled juice, but I prefer the flavor of my homegrown citrus. These recipes also include vinegar so I feel confident in the acidity of the resulting products. Since I use these just for Mr. M and I, I am willing to use my personal judgment. If you choose to use my recipes, follow your own conscience.

Here are my salsa recipes:

Roasted Roma Tomato Salsa

11 cups of prepared Roma tomatoes (about 2 kilos, or 5 pounds).

To prepare: place whole washed tomatoes in a single layer in a large flat baking pan. Roast in a 500 degree oven, turning once, until the skins begin to char. Peel and dice the tomatoes to your preference. I leave mine in kind of big chunks, maybe 12 pieces to a large tomato.

2 cups chopped hot chiles. I used 2 fresh charred and peeled poblanos and the rest minced, fresh jalapenos.

2 ½ cups chopped onion

6 large cloves garlic, sliced

2 Tablespoons dried chile flakes

1 cup chopped, fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste. I think that many salsas have too much cumin.

½ cup lemon juice

1 cup apple cider vinegar

2-3 teaspoons kosher salt (to taste)

Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Ladle into pint jars leaving ¼ inch headspace and cap with 2 piece lids. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Note: when peeling and chopping the hot chiles you may want to wear rubber gloves to keep from burning your hands. I don’t do this and last night my left hand was stinging!

Makes about 6 ½ pints of salsa, but your mileage may vary.

Tomatillo Salsa

11 cups prepared tomatillos (see Roasted Roma Salsa for how to do this. Omit peeling the tomatillos, and just cut them in half after roasting)

2 cups chopped onion. I used onions from my garden. They were half grown with a large base and heavy green tops. I wanted the extra green of the tops. I suppose a combination of dry and green onions would work.

2 cups chopped fresh hot chiles. I used a combination of fresh poblanos and jalapenos.

6 large cloves chopped garlic

1 cup chopped cilantro

1-2 teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

½ cup fresh lime juice

1 cup apple cider vinegar

Place all ingredients except cilantro in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Puree with a blender until smooth. I use a stick blender. Add cilantro and blend again leaving bits of cilantro. Bring back up to a boil and ladle into half pint or pint jars  leaving ¼ inch headspace and and cap with 2 piece lids. Process 10 minutes for half pints, or 15 minutes for pints, in a boiling water bath.

Note: when peeling and chopping the hot chiles you may want to wear rubber gloves to keep from burning your hands. I don’t do this and last night my left hand was stinging!

Makes about 11 half pints of salsa, but your mileage may vary

You may notice that the lid on the pint of red salsa is white. This is the first time I have experimented with Tattler lids. I used four and I am relieved to say they all sealed perfectly!

Oh! And how did I manage to use just one canner for both salsas? Here’s my method: First I made the tomatillo salsa up to the point of blending it. I let it cool while I prepared the Roma salsa and put those jars into the canner.  This accomplished two things. The tomatillos cooled enough to blend and I could rinse out the big pot from the Roma salsa. While the Roma salsa was in the canner, I blended, reheated, and finished putting the tomatillo salsa into the jars and capping them. I kept the jars in hot water in the big pot from the Roma salsa, and then transferred the jars to the canner when I removed the Roma salsa jars.

Last night we tried out the green salsa on some leftover roast pork for our dinner. Even without any aging it was yummy. It could have been a bit more picante for me, but Mr. M (the real Mexican in the family), likes his salsas milder.

6 thoughts on “Salsa!

    cristina said:
    August 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    bring me some 🙂


      itsjusttoni said:
      August 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      Love to, but do you really think there will be any left when we get there?


        cristina said:
        August 29, 2011 at 5:58 am

        Ah-ha. So you do promise to come!


    Pat said:
    November 6, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Hi Toni, glad you liked the elderberry blog on my page. I decided to stop over here and now Ive added your blog to my reader. I like this roasted roma recipe. Since I just picked all the romas I had left in the garden, if enough ripen on the window sill I just might make this. YUM!


      itsjusttoni said:
      November 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      Thanks Pat! Love your blog. I am going to add it to my blogroll.


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