Step 11: Some of you may not like spicy salsa. I get that. Add a small amount of jalapeno, about a tbsp. anyway. The tiny amount will not add much spiciness, but it will add a nice depth of flavor. If you like your salsa really spicy, add as much as you like, or even try a spicier pepper. I just want an obvious kick, but nothing too hot. About 2 tbsp. was enough for me. Remember that the salsa will get spicier as it cooks and processes.
The key to this recipe is to char the tomatoes and peppers on the stovetop. I tried to do it in the oven once and roast the tomatoes & peppers, bad move. It will take you about 20 minutes, but sooooooo worth the wait. You’ll need to rotate the veggies from time to time, so all the sides are pretty even. Here is what the vegetables will look like once they are done:
Mexican food, essentially, mirrors the country of Mexico itself: a proud indigenous culture attempted destroyed by an overpowering invading force but managing to somehow withhold enough principles and key elements to remain entirely its own while becoming something decidedly new: A mix of tradition and innovation all stirred up in a melting pot for some 500 years to create flavors that are neither Mesoamerican nor Spanish, but decidedly Mexican: hearty, comforting, powerful, colorful and full of spice!
I continued looking for the perfect canned salsa recipe and finally found the one that is now our favorite in a book from the library that published only tested recipes (I wish I had the title, but I just copied the recipe all those years ago before blogging). It used just one small can of tomato paste and only 3/4 cup of vinegar, so it’s still thick and the vinegar doesn’t overpower the flavor. (NOTE: according to the USDA, it is safe to substitute bottled lemon juice for the vinegar in this recipe if you wish, but NOT the other way – it is not safe to substitute vinegar for lemon juice in other recipes, since lemon is more acidic than vinegar.)
Made a half batch last weekend and loved it. My Roma’s finally started ripening this week so we just made a full batch. Instead of putting the tomatoes in the oven to peel the skins, I fired up or grill (Big Green Egg) with some extra hickory chunks and smoked/roasted all of the veggies first. Peeling was still a breeze and now our salsa has a delicious smoky kick to it. Otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Delicious!
You did forget one important detail however in the sanitizing.. YOU HAVE TO SANITIZE THE LIDS, and do not touch the rubber part of the lid as your oils in your skin will cause it to be unusable. I have canned for years, as does my mother in law.. I would not hesitate to can ANYTHING, meat or veggie.. :) Just remember to sanitize the jars and lids!!
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