Saturday, February 9, 2013

5 Pepper Salsa


There are a few things you might want to know about this salsa.

It smells and tastes amazing!

You don't need to can it if you make it in smaller portions and keep it in the refrigerator.

It can be eaten right away.

When you do can it, it ripens and gets hotter as the flavors blend. If you are wimpy like me I wouldn't recommend eating the ripened salsa. Even the fresh salsa is just over the top of what I can handle. To seasoned salsa eaters they would probably consider the fresh salsa a medium heat.

Be careful!

Wear gloves and do not even rub think about touching your face at any time while working with the peppers. The first year I grew jalapenos, the year I realized I had a sensitivity to the capsaicin, I picked the peppers without gloves. My fingers started burning and I washed them for a long time with soap and water to no avail. A while later the tip of my nose itched so I simply rubbed it with the back of my hand. Huge mistake. HUGE! There is nothing to take the pain away except time.

If you use a food processor to chop the peppers do not breath in the fumes when you remove the cover. It can burn your throat and eyes and give you a coughing fit for a good long while. Peppers are after all the ingredient in pepper spray. Of course you won't be (hopefully) working with that much of a concentrate but it is still enough to hurt if you are not careful.

As far as the five types of peppers I use, unless you grow some of them in your own garden you might have to make 3 or 4 pepper salsa. Jalapeno and Serrano should be readily available. Cayenne you might find fresh but could use powdered instead. Purple Peruvian is going to be the hard one to find unless you grow it yourself. Also known as the fluorescent purple pepper, it is grown for many as an ornamental pepper but can be eaten and used in cooking to turn up the heat. Depending on what I have grown or what I find available I use several of the hottest peppers I can find. I have also used habanero. It's up to you which ones to use. The majority used will be jalapeno.

This recipe yields 6-8 pints of salsa. If you didn't want to can it you could cut it in half and keep in fridge.

What you will need:
Canning equipment and supplies. (To learn more and even take a class go HERE.)
5 pounds firm ripe tomatoes, blanched and peeled, Roma's are best How to peel tomatoes. 
1 1/2 pounds jalapeno peppers
1/4 pound serrano peppers
1/4 pound of assorted other peppers
1 pound onion
1 cup white vinegar
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 small can tomato paste (optional but makes it slightly thicker)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

(Secret: If you don't have fresh tomatoes or don't want to go through the trouble you can use 6 - 15oz cans of finely diced tomatoes.)

Deseed the tomato by cutting in half and scooping out as many seeds as you can. Gently squeeze some of the liquid from the tomato. Cut into 1/2 or so pieces. I used a kitchen chopper and worked with about 6 tomatoes at a time. Toss them in a large pot.




The chopper I am using is extremely sharp and is stored in a box to prevent injury while not in use. Want one of your own? Check them out here.


Rinse the peppers off. Cut off stems then finely chop. Either by hand or using a food processor. (Remember to not breath in the fumes when you take the lid off the processor.) I leave the seeds and white membrane in the peppers. That is where most of the heat comes from. If you don't want it as hot remove the seeds and white membrane from the peppers. Toss on top of tomatoes.
The peppers in the small bowl are dehydrated from last year and include cayenne and purple peruvian.
These are the rehydrated peppers made into somewhat of a paste.


Peel and dice the onion. Check out this video for the fastest way to dice an onion. I can't find it so I will make a video soon to show you. The only videos I am finding that are even close are all doing one extra unnecessary step. Add onions to pot.

Chop up your cilantro. I love my mezzaluna and cutting board for fresh herbs. It makes fast work of chopping herbs and since I really dislike the smell of cilantro that is a good thing. Add to the pot.



Now add the remaining ingredients. Salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, sugar, vinegar and tomato paste.


Mix it all together.
Simply enjoy the aroma that is already coming from the mix and it hasn't even started cooking yet. 

Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

If you choose not to can the salsa you might want to cook for another 10-15 minutes. If you are canning you will want to fill your clean hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

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