Saturday, July 18, 2015

peach salsa

I can't believe I never wrote a post about this.

So. Without further adieu. A few caveats - and if you've ever read my blog ever, you know I'm full of them.
A. Feel free to ditch peaches in favor of nectarines. Same flavor profile without the preboil to remove fuzzy skin. You will thank me later. Trust me. No one tells you to remove the skins. And when you catch on to it... it's gross. And time consuming. And ... just trust me on this. Unless peaches are cheaper and/or you have the time/resources/patience, etc.
B. Short on peaches/nectarines? Mangoes. Mangoes are an excellent addition to either fruit and can be mixed cup for cup, I believe, up to half of the recipe. Then you run into issues with sugar contents and the mangoes turn into babyfood. Do not quote me on all this [the sugar bit and the baby food bit yes, but the ratio may be less]; this has been done on occasion in a pinch to achieve require fruit amounts with excelent results. However. proceed with caution, and do a little research. Pro tip.
C. Nothing anywhere says you have to use all of the spices or, for that matter the cilantro. Any of the cilantro. At all. Really, you're going for the acid content, which is controlled by the vinegar in the recipe, so that you have to use. All of the vinegar. The vinegar is what kills bacteria, IE botulism, which in turn tries to kill you. SO, if you don't like it hot, or you think green chillies are lame or whatever, swap them out, but keep the ratios [this number of cups and that number of tsp, etc]. This is actually chemistry we're dealing with. Chemistry = modern medicine, too. You just don't want to have to walk into the ER greenface with a jar of homemade salsa ...

Otherwise. Kind of cool, huh?
Last note: no one has ever gotten sick or died from MY canning. Your canning on the other hand is all on you and how YOU take care of YOUR raw ingredients, sterilization and kitchen.  :)

This recipe is sourced from the Ball Blue Canning book, which is available through most major retailers as well as to BORROW FOR FREE your friends at your local Public Library WHO WOULD LOVE TO MEET YOU!!! And also have a bajillion other books about canning. Ball is a great place to start.

This recipe makes 4 pint or 8 half pint jars. Or what ever combintation there in you decide to go with. Or can find. That's usually where I end up.


Peaches (nectarines), enough to make 6 and 1/2 cups diced. Like kitty kibble or slightly bigger than peas or corn diced.
Onion, enough for 1 and 1/4 cups diced 
1 (one) Red bell pepper (I'm convinced this is only for color because green fades out in canning), deseeded and pithed (the stringy white bits) diced. The whole thing. 
1/2 cup of white vinegar. It may say distilled on the side. Same thing. Apple cider vinegar works too, as long as the acid content is 5%
Honey. 2 tbsp, liquid (warm up those crystals in the microwave if you need to, no shame) I know, it's a smuckers packet. All about the visuals here. 
Cumin, 1 and 1/2 tsp. use the powder. 
Garlic. 1 clove. Mashed, chopped, or the equivalent measure of diced.

Options I left out* (aka season to taste, or the BTU tolerance of your mouth)
*Cayenne: 1/2 tsp
*Cilantro: 1/2 cup
1/2 cup diced spicey pepper of your choice, seeded or not for heat. - substitution note: I use canned green chile. You know, the tiny 4.5 ounce mild, peeled and chopped ones in the Mexican foods section. This may make me an evil person but I don't have to touch it and I like the spice level and no one has died. Yet. ;) 

I am a spice wuss. I also hate cilantro (I think it tastes like soap). A final note, you can always control for additional heat after the fact. You can't tone it down later.

Cooking instructions:
Put diced fruit, onion, peppers, spices and liquids in a stock pot. Bring salsa to a boil, stirring gently. Simmer 10 minutes, allowing to thicken, stirring occasionally. Pack into jars with 1/2" head space. Process in waterbath for 15 minutes. Allow to rest 24 hours.

Don't forget to label. Hoard from family and friends.  

fun things I relearned making this. It takes six [6] fist sized fruits to do this. Not five [5]. six [6]. Otherwise in the pre-coffee morning fog that says, oh yes, here we go, 6 cups of fruit in the pot, la la, you end up with the picture on the left. A sad half a jar of salsa that cannot be processed. That one fruit makes a difference. I did go nectarine crazy at the store, so there are four left over, and that onion was rather a whopper. So.
One red onion, one can of chilies and two more peaches...

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