Over the summer, my housemate Lika got into learning how to make salsa, jam and other foods that can be stored in a jar. Her aunt loves making those kinds of foods from scratch and she taught Lika. She even gave Lika a kit for jarring, and Lika brought it with her to school. For her first jarring adventure at school, she made homemade fiery peach salsa. I have never jarred nor have I ever made homemade salsa, so I told Lika I’ve love to help and she was happy to have my assistance.
For the salsa, the ingredients are:
- 6 cups peeled and diced hard, unripe peaches
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup cider vinegar (about 5 percent acidity)
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup bottled lime juice
- 1/4 tsp. of salt
- 2 dragon/habanero/other hot peppers, seeded and minced
- 2 garlic clove, mined
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
From there, making the salsa is quite simple.
- Combine all ingredients except the cilantro in an enameled Dutch oven.
- Bring to a boil over high heat until sugar dissolves.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
- Once cooled, store in a covered container and refrigerate. If storing in jars, it is necessary to properly sterilize the jars beforehand. When jarring for this recipe, fill and seal with 1/2 inch head space and process for 10 minutes.
However, jarring is more difficult than making the salsa. To jar, you will need:
- Extra lids
- Wooden spoon
- Spoon rest
- Wax/parchment paper/foil
- Cookie sheet
- Ceramic dish
- Pots for boiling cans
- Jam rack
- Jam lifts or tongs
- Clean towels
- Paper towels
When jarring, it is imperative that you are very careful. Because you are preserving food, you want to make sure that the jars are not contaminated in any way. To jar, you need to follow these steps:
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In large pot with ceramic rack, bring jars to boil.
- Maintain for 10 minutes, then lift jars out and place upright onto cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Put in oven until ready to use.
- For the lids, bring a small pot of water to a boil.
- Place lids in ceramic dish spaced out.
- Pour boiling water over lids.
- Once the desired food to jar is prepared, remove jars from oven.
- Ladle the food into the jars, leaving proper amount of head space. Wipe rims of jars and clean with paper towel dipped in hot water. If a jar is not filled up to to head space, then refrigerate and do not process.
- Use tongs or lid lifts to place lids on each jar. Place bands on jars and screw until fingertip tight.
- Lower jars back into pot of water and do not tilt. Bring to boil and boil for time specified in the recipe.
- Transfer jars onto towel lined wood surface and let sit, undisturbed for at least 12 hours. Jars should make popping noises when sealed. If jars fail to seal, move to the refrigerator and use within a month.
Regardless of whether you jar this salsa or store it in the refrigerator, it’s delicious. The salsa has a spicy kick to it but the sweetness from the salsa helps to mitigate it. Enjoy with chips, in a burrito, over blackened salmon or anything else you wish to pair with it.