Summer Salsa: Wooly D Style!

Posted by Wooly Dragon on

One mainstay in Wooly's garden every summer is tomatoes and one of Wooly's favorite ways to use them is to make salsa.

Why not just buy it at the store? One word: FRESH! One of my favorite quotes (my, I have a lot of favorites today!) is "Store bought tomatoes taste like disappointment!" Store bought salsa is the same for me. I gleefully await the time when tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and parsley (or cilantro) are ready to use in the kitchen.

Now salsa appeals to people in many different ways. Some like it chunky, some like it smooth. Some like it mild or hot or somewhere in between. Some like the addition of peaches, pineapple or mango; some prefer salsa verde.

I'm including my recipe and how-to's for making my version of salsa. You can add or subtract however you would like.

The key to my success is oven roasting the vegetables. I used to make a salsa using raw veggies (basically pico de Gallo), but it was too watery. Roasting softens everything, evaporates some of the water and concentrates the flavors. Yum!

The Ingredients:

Tomatoes- How many? As many as you want or have. I use the ugly tomatoes from my garden. I may have to cut off bad parts, but it's all good. Had a recent rain and all of your tomatoes are splitting? Make salsa. Have too many slicing tomatoes or cherry tomatoes? Use 'em. Salsa is what I make when I don't have enough tomatoes to make tomato sauce, but if I don't use what I have, they'll rot in my kitchen. Remove the cores and chop the tomatoes into large pieces.

Peppers- Do you like mild or hot salsa? Generally for every batch of salsa, I will use 8-9 big tomatoes (or their equivalent in cherry tomatoes), 3 jalapeño peppers, one medium or 2-3 small onions and a whole head of garlic. I like my salsa medium spicy; so I use one regular jalapeño and 2 mild jalapeños, the variety I use is called "Felicity". There are other versions of sweet jalapeños, like "Nadapeno". Jalapeños grow very well for me, so I grow a lot of them. You can also use a sweet bell pepper. Cut off the stems, split the peppers in half, remove any seeds and chop them into pieces.

Onions & garlic- I peel the onions and garlic cloves. The garlic goes in without any chopping; the onions get rough chopped.

As you chop the veggies (tomatoes, then peppers, then onions & garlic), layer them into a 11" x 15" baking pan (I use Pyrex). You want to be able to spread the veggies into roughly one layer, but you don't want to see the bottom of the pan.

Put the pan into a 350°F oven and start roasting. I start checking the veggies after 30-40 minutes; it could take an hour. The vegetables should be soft and you may see some signs of caramelization on top. As long as you don't burn anything or dehydrate the veggies, it's all good. Turn off the oven. I usually let the veggies cool as the oven does.

Once everything is cool enough to handle, I ladle out the veggies into a food processor and zip everything to the consistency I want. Like it chunky? Zip it less or zip half of it smooth and add the remaining chunky bits. 

Add to taste: salt (I use seasoned salt), ground black pepper, ground cumin, garlic powder (because I really like garlic) and lemon or lime juice. If you like a lot of heat, add some cayenne powder. 

You can use canning jars to store this. I wash out and save glass jars for store bought pasta sauces and use those. I don't can in those jars. I put the salsa into the fridge and try to use within one week, but you can probably can your salsa (follow instructions on how to can tomato products; since I don't can my salsa, I can't share any info on that.) I also haven't tried freezing my salsa, but I may try it this year. It will be interesting to see if the freezing/thawing process does anything to the texture or taste.


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