Kitchen Experiments – Salsa

The cool fall weather has been calling me to the kitchen once again – it is time for canning. This post is coming a few weeks late because it is past high tomato season, but this year the tomatoes just keep coming. Who ever heard of tomatoes still on the vine in mid-October. Actually, for me, this is the first year that I actually picked tomatoes from my garden! For the past 4 years my tomatoes have gotten the blight so this was an exciting year for sure! I did not have enough tomatoes for canning, so I went to my local farm in Mt. Bethel, PA – Baarda Farms.  This is the nicest family owned farm!  They are so welcoming and love what they do.  They are a no-spray farm and are willing to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with anyone willing to listen.

I made salsa last year and it was delicious.  It was so good that my niece couldn’t get enough and wanted my salsa over the store-bought brand.  I made about 18 pints last year and we finished it up in August. This year my husband thought that we needed to make a lot more salsa so he ordered us two boxes of tomatoes!  What fun we had in the kitchen.  It took us all day, but we made and canned a lot of salsa.  Here is the recipe that I used:

Annie’s Salsa Recipe

8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained 2-1/2 cups onion, chopped 1-1/2 cups green pepper, chopped 3 – 5 jalapenos, chopped 6 cloves garlic 2 teaspoons cumin 2 teaspoons ground black pepper 1/8 cup canning salt 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 1/3 cup sugar 1 cup 5% apple cider vinegar 2 cups (16 oz.) tomato sauce 2 cups (16 oz.) tomato paste

Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Pour into hot pint jars, seal and process in a boiling water canning bath for 15 minutes.

Makes about 6 pints.

I like my salsa cooked and more like a chunky tomato sauce than a fresh salsa, so I cooked mine a lot longer than 10 minutes.  I bought a pressure canner last year when I made my salsa and boy does it save time.  You don’t have to sterilize your jars, just make sure that they are clean.  I had the canner going all day!  Here is what I made by the end of the day…

salsa

42 pints!  I think that my friends will be getting salsa for Christmas this year!  There is still a lot more canning to do.  Apples are in season now so watch out!  Applesauce and apple butter are next! I may try my hand at some pumpkin butter as well.  I will keep you posted!  Happy fall!

Kitchen Experiment – Parsnip Pancakes

Parsnips.  An interesting vegetable.  Maybe you have noticed them at the grocery store and thought that they were a pale carrot. They kind of look like that.  Maybe you were like me and ignored them for years because you just didn’t know what to do with them.  In the past several years I have added them into my repertoire and have used them in stews, soups, and roasted them with carrots. They are delicious with a slightly sweet flavor.  But every 4 days I do not want to eat roasted parsnips so I needed to find something else to do with them.

parsnip pancakes

Parsnip pancakes!  What a treat!  It was just like a potato pancake but with a slighly sweet flavor.  I shredded the parsnips and mixed in  buckwheat flour, because it was a buckwheat day, and in place of the eggs, I used arrowroot flour mixed with water.  I patted them into patties and cooked them in a non-stick skillet.  I served them with applesauce for dinner and then ate them for breakfast the next day!  I am thinking that when I can add potatoes into my diet, I will try potato parsnip pancakes.  Parsnip day is tonight – I might have to make them again for dinner!