Saturday, October 9, 2010

Salsa Day 2010

Today was the day!! Doesn't Lisa look all nice and fresh??  She came a'knockin' around 9:15 this morning, aprons in hand, all ready for the salsa fiesta!! We look great when we start--and a little soupy by the end of the day!
We have our method down to a science now!! (I found the picture Lisa!!) Here we are that first year of making salsa back in 2003.  In my old kitchen, with one tiny pot and that antique blue enamelware canner (which now graces the top of my cabinets as decoration!!).  We used only the ingredients from my garden, and made probably enough salsa to last us a month.  I had been canning for a while, but it was Lisa's first experience.  I have to say it was love at first bite!! She was hooked. 
We have been making salsa every year since then!  We found that we could make a lot more salsa if we bought ingredients to enhance what we grew.  We also decided that huge cans of tomatos that are already washed, skinned, diced, and measured are our friends!  We graduated from those two tiny pots, to the operation you see in my blurry picture above--a pressure canner (that we operate on our propane grill--ingenius right??), a water bath canner, and two huge pots of salsa cooking happily on the stove at all times.  On the back countertop, you will also find two more pots filled with ingredients, waiting for their moment on the stove!  We usually get right to work.  It's beautiful harmony, our salsa-makin' music!! We have done it so many times that we just work--saying little about what needs to be done next--we just DO, chit chatting in between chops, measures, spills, and tastes. 
We have also tweaked our original recipe multiple times--and developed 2 other flavors from it--including chipotle and cilantro/lime.  In addition, we use a pressure cooker to can our fouth flavor--a knock off recipe from a local Mexican restaurant.  We didn't like the flavor with all the vinegar needed to safely can it (it was a recipe used for eating fresh), so we learned to pressure can.  Because there are only four burners and only so much cooktop space, we discovered 3 years ago, that the side burner on our gas grill works magically--and provides extra stress calorie-burning opportunities as we constantly run out to the deck to check the steam blow off valve and the pressure gauge (wow, that sounds tech-y doesn't it :-) But, you do what you have to do!! Last year we made a new recipe called "mix." Because we inadvertantly dumped half of one pot into another pot and then had no idea what was what.  Of course it was terrific! (Lisa, Dev went through every jar today looking for one that was labeled 'mix'! and was very irritated when he didn't find one and found out we didn't even MAKE one!)  This year we played around with black pepper, liking the results! We also got a wild hair and tried peach salsa, with some peaches from my tree that were in the freezer.  And other than the fact that it was the most hideous looking stuff you have EVER seen (like vomit in a jar. .or calf scours. .or. .well you get the picture), it wasn't that bad.  We decided it would be good served over cream cheese with crackers--look out potlucks, here we come!
By around 4:00, we were down to dealing with the mess as we waited on the last jars to can.  We wiped tomato off the floors, the canisters, the walls, the cabinets, and each other.  Our feet hurt, our backs hurt, some of us dealt with carpal tunnel from opening lids, while others of us nursed burning jalepeno hands.  But our hearts were full, and glad, and satisfied! 
We enjoyed each other's company while we worked and played.  At the end of the day, we had around 124 pints of salsa to carry home!! Next year we might hire Camille to help--after all, she can count well, proclaims how beautiful the salsa is, and is good at dumping things in a bowl--if your salsa is a liiiitttle tooooo hot, it may be because someone dumped in some red pepper flakes that were meticulously measured out into her measuring cup while no one (in charge) was looking!! Milk is great for taking heat out of your mouth. . .just sayin'!


  1. 1. Holy cow. I'm so overwhelmed even at the thought of attempting this.
    2. I think I'm glad to be blissfully unaware of what cow scours are.
    3. I have apron envy.

  2. Oh my gosh!!!!!! Look at all those jars of salsa!!!!! I am so jealous! That is awesome! I cannot even imagine having that much salsa on hand...that would be heaven! I am very very impressed. I wish I lived close by...I could do the clean up in exchange for a jar of salsa! Ha Ha!

  3. P.S. Thanks for the wonderful words of encouragement on my blog...I really appreciate it!

  4. OMGosh, I can't hardly wait for my Christmas basket of Melanie's goodies!! (Just so you know,there may be some illegal name switching going on!!!). Looks yummy! The fam and I enjoyed your pear honey this a.m. on some biscuits! It got rave reviews! Looking forward to more of that in my basket, too....just sayin'.

  5. FUN!! I think it's so neat how you ladies do this every year! And I love how Cami is getting into "helping" too! ;-) I think that little lady is gonna rock the kitchen some day!

  6. What fun! And homemade salsa is so yummy, so I am sure yours is just delicious!!

  7. Boy, I did a doubble take on the old kitchen picture. I just love it when you 2 make salsa! You need to publish the chipotle! DJ