We are so blessed this year with offers of extra produce from friends and acquaintances. Yesterday I received a text asking me if I was interested in any tomatoes to can. Of course, I said “yes” as mine haven’t been ripening very fast. These were reported to be quite ripe and would probably have to be put up fairly quickly. Knowing that my Friday is always busy getting ready for Sabbath, and I don’t have time on Sunday because I am working, I was really hoping they would last until Monday when I could juice them. At that time, I wasn’t sure if I would have to go pick them last night or sometime today, but I was grateful to get them as mine may end up being green tomato mole. The lady who offered them was coming home from a trip with her husband who drives an 18-wheeler. When she texted me to let me know they were home, it was well after dark so we both knew it wasn’t going to happen last night. We decided I would wait for her to call today.
So this morning, I received another text letting me know that there were enough ripe ones for a batch of salsa. And she was also offering plenty of peppers to put in the salsa if I wanted. I arranged to go over after buying groceries for next week. Of course, I had woken up at 7 a.m. and already gone to pick up chicken feed and more jar lids as well as various items at Wal-Mart. Then I realized that I probably should get some gas as I was down to 1/4 tank and no telling where we’d end up going over the weekend. The blessing was that she had already picked the tomatoes and I only had to go over and help her pick any peppers I wanted.
Thankfully, DD and DS decided to go with me. I was hoping that we would be able to go over and come right back just in case I needed to put up the salsa today. We drove over to her house which isn’t that far away and had a nice walk through her garden with DD carrying our bucket. There was a medium-sized bucket of VERY ripe tomatoes waiting and then we checked out her raised beds. After walking through and getting peppers from 5-6 different types of plants, I also had lots of ideas as to how to put in raised beds ourselves. After fighting with the gopher who ruined quite a bit of my plants and seriously curbed what we were able to harvest, I have decided that somehow we need to put in mostly raised beds. She even had soaker hoses hooked up to PVC pipes for watering each of her beds as well as a curved trellis for her cucumbers and large ranch gates down the center of two beds for supuports for plants. And she is also starting a strawberry mint cutting in a pot and a chocolate mint cutting in another pot for me when she harvests them. She had lots of good advice about how to process herbs. Her favorite way is to strip the leaves off and cram them into ice trays with just a bit of water. Then she adds to hot chocolate or other recipes later.
Anyway back to the salsa. We finally started back home with lots of good information and plenty to make a batch of salsa. So before sundown and supper tonight I peeled the tomatoes, added some from our beds that had ripened, onions from our garden, and 1/2 a pint of chopped jalapeñ0s that I had canned two years ago. All of this was put into a 12-quart stock pan and minced garlic, vinegar, tomato paste, salt, cumin, oregano leaves, black pepper, and a bit of sugar were added. After cooking down for 30 minutes, DH helped me fill pint jars and begin water bathing them off. I though I might have enough for 1 1/2 canners of pints, but we ended up with 18 1/4 pints which meant water bathing 3 times for 20 minutes. And this is what we got:
The three 1/2 pints on the right in the front will be given to coworkers on Sunday while the rest will be tucked in storage. The 1/2 pint on the left will be given to another friend when I see her next. The 1/4 pint is just because that is how much there was in the bottom of the pan and I didn’t want to waste it.
As you can see my “single” batch of salsa turned out to be a nice big batch. DH was very helpful and I am grateful for that. DS also took out all of the tomato peelings to his chickens and DD was a real dear when she washed all but the stock pan along with her supper dishes. So cleanup was very easy and we have plenty of salsa to tuck away. This will be a yummy addition to several meals this coming winter! And my favorite sound from this? The “pop” of a jar lid sealing! Tis music to my ears.