I love love love salsa! But not the hot hot hot stuff. Yes, I am a wimp. I decided to try my hand at canning some salsa so I could have that fresh from the (Farmer’s Market) garden taste during the Minnesota winter.

I’m also going to warn you – I didn’t really use a recipe. I looked at a couple and had some suggestions from a canning pro (thank, Mary!) but the gist of it was just throwing things in that looked good.

When I asked what kind of tomatoes were the best I was told to use Romas. They are meatier and not as seedier. I used a variety of peppers and onions, fresh garlic and even tomatillos. Don’t forget about the fresh cilantro and limes! I LOVE the cilantro/lime taste combination. There are other things you can add as well like corn, mangos…use your imagination!

It was also recommended that I skin the tomatoes. Do you see how many I have? How the heck was I suppose to do all that in one day? Blanche the tomatoes first – OK I’ll give it a try.

Put the tomato into the boiling water for a short time. Now – I waited until I noticed the skins start to split a wee bit. If I weren’t mushing them to kingdom come anyway I wouldn’t have done it that long. But it was still only a minute or two. Immediately put the blanched tomato into the cold water. Just do a few at a time or else you will end up with tomato soup – and thank you for not asking how I know that.

Amazingly enough the skins just slid right off the tomatoes! Talk about easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!

I put the tomatoes in the food processor and munched them up a bit. I did NOT do that with the rest of the ingredients. I hand chopped those so the salsa would have some substance and not be soupy. You may wonder why I have no photos between this point and the end result? It has something to do with a VERY hot pepper – my mouth – a lot of running and screaming – and a gallon on milk. ‘Nuf said.

I put the munched up tomatoes in a pot. Added the various peppers, onions, tomatillos, crushed garlic, fresh chopped cilantro, fresh squeezed lime juice, salt and sugar. Mind you – I had to taste it to make sure I liked it especially with the sugar and lime juice. The degree of fire will depend on what kind of peppers you use. This topic still holds painful memories so I’m skipping specifics. I brought the final product to a boil and then simmered (stirring frequently) for about an hour to reduce it. Some folks will drain liquid from the tomatoes at the beginning.

Once done I processed by packing the salsa into heated jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. I tapped the jars gently on the counter to remove air bubbles and immediately placed the hot lids and rings on the jars. Do them one at a time in order to make sure you can get the seal right. I also put mine in a hot water bath for about 10 minutes each just to be sure they sealed. I finished off the whole process my letting them cool in a place that is draft free. I love hearing the popping of the lids as they seal. Only one didn’t seal (or maybe it did and I was a but anxious) so I fridged it and had some once it was cold. NUMMY!!!

Zucchini Bread

I have always loved zucchini bread. I’ve never been too good at gardening. I should restate that. I can grow weeds very well! Its the things I want to grow…zucchini being one of those things…not so much. I am always appreciative if I am offered some of the fresh stuff and will never say no! 

I use a very simple recipe. First, the ingredients: 

  • 1 cup Oil
  • 3 whole Eggs, Slightly Beaten
  • 2 cups Grated Zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Salt

I often times add other things like walnuts or raisins. Have even grated some carrot a time or two. But this time it was just as the recipe says!

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans (this makes a double batch of bread).

First things first: grate the zucchini! 

In a large bowl, combine oil, slightly beaten eggs, grated zucchini, vanilla and sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

 Gently add the dry flour mixture to the egg batter, stirring until completely combined. Once fully incorporated, pour batter into prepared loaf pans and bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Serve warm with butter! Very simple and delicious!