21 September 2015

Salsa vibrante

The green tomatoes I picked up last Saturday were intended for mincemeat. Green tomato mincemeat. My mother and I love it... but we're the only ones in our families who do. Maybe I could have converted Little Bear; the boy did go through a phase of crying whenever there weren't pickled beets on the table for supper. But Matt isn't terribly fond of normal mincemeat, so a mincemeat made from green tomatoes was just too weird. After talking about it, and thinking about it, and getting busy and letting the green tomatoes sit on the counter all week and start turning yellowish, I gave up on mincemeat and turned to a more widely-accepted tomato use: salsa.

Salsa verde is supposed to be made with tomatillos, not sub-ripe tomatoes, but I don't think there's much risk of anyone mistaking my green tomato salsa for a proper salsa verde:

It's not exactly green!

Between the green-and-yellow tomatoes, the orange bell peppers, and the red onions, we turned out quite the colorful batch of salsa. About three pounds of tomatoes, two onions, and one and a half peppers yielded three pints to can, plus just about a fourth pint for the fridge. We kept it very mild so that Little Bear would enjoy it, and were fairly happy with how it turned out. It really isn't a tomatoey salsa, almost closer to a pico de gallo in texture and brightness (both in color and flavor!) Next time I will add at least one jalapeƱo, but we will still enjoy this batch. It turned out well for a first attempt!

Salsa vibrante 
6 1/2 cups cored and diced green tomatoes
1 1/2 orange bell peppers, diced
2 large red onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano 
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper 

If you're going to can it, get your boiling water canner ready before you start making the salsa, so that the water and jars can be heating while the salsa cooks. I wound up with not quite enough salsa for four full pint jars, but prep enough jars for four or four and a half pints, in case you wind up with more (your vegetables are bigger, etc.) The water in the canner should come one to two inches above the top of the jars, and be at least two inches below the rim of the pot. Otherwise your stovetop turns into a lake... which it might do anyway, but hopefully not.

Combine tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and lime juice in a large pot and bring to a boil. Stir in cilantro, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer five minutes. 

Using a canning funnel, ladle the hit salsa into the hot jars, making sure liquid covers the chunks and leaving 1/2 inch at the top. Wipe each rim clean before placing the lid on and screwing on the ring. Process jars in boiling water bath for 20 minutes (timing begins once the canner reaches a rolling boil; use these charts to adjust processing time if you're at a high altitude.) Remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed, checking to make sure they're sealed after 24 hours.

If you don't want to can it, you could certainly refrigerate and/or freeze the salsa instead. So far, we can vouch that it goes well with ham-and-egg breakfast burritos, chicken, and scooped up with tortilla chips!

(Recipe comes from this green tomato salsa by Ball.)

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