I spent all of last weekend at a cozy home in the woods with 70 pounds of tomatoes and a good friend. We made fresh tomato juice, canned tomatoes, made salsa, and had an all-around grand time together.
I called this endeavor Tomato-fest. I posted many photos on Facebook and Instagram. I had people contact me to ask for recipes.
This has been a good year for tomatoes. I think that many folks with gardens this year have tomatoes coming out of their ears. Here’s one of the recipes that I made during tomato-fest. Enjoy!
Tomato-fest Garden Salsa
You can make this recipe for immediate enjoyment or you can process your jars of salsa in a water bath canner to preserve it. I have done both. This year I wanted to preserve this salsa so that I will have jars of garden fresh flavors around into the winter months. I prepared a batch 3x’s this recipe. If you have a large quantity of tomatoes, you can multiply this recipe easily. You could use any kind of tomatoes that you like. I had an abundance of roma’s.
Equipment you will need:
1 large mixing bowl
A cutting board
A sharp knife
A large baking sheet
Aluminum foil or silpat non-stick baking mat
Ingredients for 2 quarts of salsa:
4 lbs of roma tomatoes (you can use any tomatoes that you have in abundance)
1 medium red onion
juice of 4 limes
1 bunch of cilantro
2 roasted Serrano peppers
1 fresh jalapeño
1 tablespoon of sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tablespoon of black pepper, plus more to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a silpat baking sheet or aluminum foil.
Core the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes in half and place them in a large bowl. Once you have all of your tomatoes halved and cored, toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of sea salt and 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper. Allow the tomatoes to macerate with the salt and pepper for at least 5 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup of olive oil to the tomatoes. Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil until the tomatoes are lightly covered with the olive oil.
Place the tomatoes on your lined baking sheets, skin side down. Pour any juice from the tomatoes onto the baking sheet. Roast the tomatoes in the over for 40 minutes. They should just be showing some charred color when you take them out.
While the tomatoes are roasting: Peel a red onion and cut it in half and set aside. Pick the leaves from the bunch of cilantro and set aside. Juice the limes using a citrus juicer or by cutting them in half and squeezing the juice by hand. Set the lime juice aside.
For the Serrano peppers: You could roast them in the over with the tomatoes. If you have a gas stove, you can roast them directly on the fire for a more full flavor. Either way works fine. If you go for the charring directly on the flame, you will have to place them an ice bath after you char them on the stove-top. Once the peppers are cooled, peel the outer layer of the skin off of the peppers. Your peppers are now ready to use. I processed the peppers with the seeds and all.
Let the tomatoes cool for 20 minutes or until you can handle them easily. Once they have cooled, you will process the tomatoes in batches in the food processor. I pulsed them until just slightly chunky. I wanted to make sure that the salsa would be chunky enough to stay on a tortilla chip. This is definitely a measure of preference. How chunky or thin do you like your salsa?
Place the onion in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer the onion into the bowl with the tomatoes. Place the cilantro in the bowl of the food processor and add 1/2 cup of the lime juice. Pulse until the cilantro is finely chopped. Transfer the chopped cilantro into the bowl with the tomatoes.
Mix all of your added ingredients into the tomatoes. This will be when you will begin tasting for your preference. Keep in mind to add a little at a time. You can always keep adding. You cannot remove salt once you add it in.
I kept my salsa very basic. When I open one of the jars, I can always add more chiles to make it spicier if I want.
I processed my salsa in a canner, so it will keep for several months. I placed the closed jars in a canning pot for 10 minutes. My goal in deciding to only process in the canner for 10 minute was to maintain the fresh taste of the cilantro and lime juice.
Lesson: With the busy lives that we lead, it can be challenging to make room in our schedules for concentrated time spent with our friends. Thankfully one of my best friends and I really enjoy being in the kitchen together. We rolled in a productive canning project into spending quality time together. We laughed, we danced, we sang, we ate well, and we worked until we could work no more for two days. The outcome was 30 quarts of preserved tomato goodness and an appreciation of the time that I had with my dear friend. Our tomato fest fed my heart and soul and nurtured our friendship. What creative ways do you carve out time for people in your life that is nurturing to self and the friendship?