In the northern hemisphere, it’s midway through summer already. (It’s the end of July…already?!) I’m always shocked at how quickly time flies by in the summer. Anyhow, a few months back we planted a small and humble vegetable garden. Some of the plants were directly from seeds and others we bought as little seedlings. Needless to say, I think there’s something radioactive/incredibly fertile in our soil. There’s an overabundance of vegetables. There are massive zucchini, armfuls of tomatoes, an assortment of spicy and bell peppers, fresh basil, eggplant, and cucumbers. We even have two watermelons! Here’s what we’re dealing with:
This is just a small collection of vegetables. We pick a harvest like this about once every other day. It’s getting out of hand. We’ve contemplated turning the yard into a farm. It’s mostly a joke, but I think it could be fun.
After sizing up this big pile of veggies, I figured making a salsa would be the easiest way to make use of as many ingredients as possible without letting things go to waste. As it turns out, salsa doesn’t have to be a difficult thing to make, and I promise you that once you’ve tasted fresh homemade salsa, you will never want to buy jarred salsa ever again.
First things first: wash all your vegetables, especially if they came fresh from the garden. No, there aren’t any pesticides, but there is a ton of dirt…and pests. Start off by putting on a large saucepan of water to boil. Next, cut off all the stems from the tomatoes before stewing them, it’ll be easier to do this now rather than later. This recipe called for measurements by the pound, so I had my kitchen scale handy and set to pounds to help me approximate the amount of tomatoes I would need for this recipe.
After cutting all the stems, place the tomatoes in the boiling water to loosen their skins. This shouldn’t take any longer than 5 minutes in boiling water. Drain the tomatoes, peel the skins, and crush them to a desired consistency.
Next, I mixed the chopped tomatoes with garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, cayenne pepper, and cumin in a saucepan with the stewed and crushed tomatoes. I brought the mixture to a boil and then smashed the tomatoes by hand with a whisk. (I suppose now would be a good time to ask Santa for an immersion blender.) After the salsa came to a boil, I mixed in the chopped onions, spicy peppers, and chopped cilantro. I boiled it off a little longer just to reduce the salsa to a thicker consistency. After removing the salsa from the burner, I let it cool and then portioned it out into smaller containers. This particular recipe yielded about 2.5 quarts of fresh homemade salsa.
Keep your salsa refrigerated until ready to eat! Unaltered, this recipe makes a very spicy salsa. I chose to use less spicy peppers (only about 3 peppers) and removed most of their seeds before adding them to the saucepan to reduce their spiciness. This salsa would be great on tacos, as a topping to a chicken dish, or accompanied by tortilla chips.
How do you like your salsa? Chunky or a bit thinner? Super spicy or just plain old mild? How else do you use salsa in your cooking? Let me know, I’d love to hear!
Fresh Homemade Tomato Salsa
- 6 pounds tomatoes
- 1/4 pound tomatoes chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 red onion chopped
- 1 white onion chopped
- 1 yellow onion chopped (I omitted this because we only had red and white onions)
- 1 pound jalapeno peppers chopped (I used Portugal peppers and not nearly a pound, but if you like spicy, go for it!)
- 1/3 bunch fresh cilantro chopped
- Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Briefly place 6 pounds tomatoes into water to loosen skins and set color. Drain, peel and crush.
- Mix chopped tomatoes, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, cayenne pepper and cumin into the saucepan with crushed tomatoes. Whip to desired thickness.
- Bring to a boil. Mix in red onion, white onion, yellow onion, jalapeno peppers and cilantro. Continue boiling until vegetables are soft and mixture has reached desired consistency.
- Remove from heat and refrigerate until serving.