I came home this evening from visiting my mother and when I opened the front door the smell of homemade salsa wafted out. I had to smile, because today I made my first foray into canning food. Ever since we planted the tiny tomato plants (and the onions, and the peppers) in the garden I’ve been talking about how I want to make and can salsa. I love the stuff and I think I have succeeded in creating a child who loves it also. “Salsa” was one of her first words, which she would say when we ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant in town.
Our garden hasn’t turned out quite the way we’d planned. The onions inexplicably rotted in the ground, without growing much larger than they were when we planted them. The corn has been completely obliterated by raccoons. Many of the tomatoes are rotting on the vine (it may be bottom-rot, we should add calcium to the soil for next year). On the bright side, my bell peppers and jalapenos are doing fantastic! In fact, I’m trying to come up with ways to use the jalapenos — I’d hate for them to go to waste. I may make jalapeno jelly, although it doesn’t sound too appetizing to me. Anyway, I had to buy a bag of onions at Walmart this morning and bought several tomatoes at a roadside stand (much cheaper and fresher than Walmart!) to supplement what I got out of my own garden.
Making the salsa took over three hours from start to finish. You can find the recipe here. Much of that time was spent waiting for liquids to boil — first the salsa needed to come to a boil in the pot and cook for 30 minutes, then the water bath took forever to come to a boil so we could start timing it! I was insanely excited when I took the jars out of the canner and the lids immediately started “popping”, showing they had sealed. One lid popped before I had even set it down! Now they’re sitting on the counter until tomorrow, when I will find a place of honor for them. They’re so pretty, those jars full of juicy, red goodness. I almost hate to open one and eat it.
I wonder how long I’ll last before I have to crack one open…