Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Some Like it Hot!

My grandfather liked it hot. He had a sinister side to him and loved to tell Grandma it wasn’t. As the story goes, she would taste his salsa under false pretense and then make haste for the water. Let’s just say his halo wasn’t always on square. All of my aunts and uncles took part in the ritual of making and canning salsa. Today, two or three still practice the art.

My mother stopped making salsa when she moved out after high school. I knew of the salsa recipe and knew that some still made it. After an afternoon with grandma one day, I came home with recipe in hand and dove into the world of food preservation. Long story short, my recipe has evolved a bit and is based on my grandfather’s recipe, though I’ve taken out most of the kick and replaced it with a hint of sweetness. My theory is, anyone can make it hot, it takes a bit of skill to make all of the flavors meld together in a symphony.

My symphony consists of these ingredients…

1½ lbs. tomato (peeled and cored then diced)
1½ lbs. tomato (diced)
1 Med. Yellow Onion (diced)
2 Tsp. cumin
½ Tsp allspice
1 Tbsp apple vinegar
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp salt
1 crown of cilantro
1 habanera peppers
2 serrano peppers
2 jalapeno peppers
2 shakes celery seed
1/8 to 3/8 cup spoon brown sugar to taste.

My older kids are growing up today making salsa with their pop. We all have assignments in the kitchen when we do make it, and it flows like clockwork. Here’s what we do…

Kristen starts by boiling water and blanching ½ the tomatoes and removing their peels. She uses a hand food processor to mince the tomatoes. Will mans the cutting board and chops the other half. This produces a chunky salsa. For a smoother salsa, peel all tomatoes. I start chopping on the onions, cilantro, and mincing garlic. Will starts to tackle the spices while Kristen pulls everything together back on the stove and begins to stir. This whole process takes about 45 minutes. I advise putting the sugar and peppers in last. This will allow you to make it to your taste. Whew…

Finished Salsa Simmering

To Can or Not to Can

I’d like to go into canning here, but can’t because the subject is worthy of a small book. Be it safe to say there’s plenty of information around on this subject and too much to explain in this article to make it safe if you don’t know what you’re doing.

My grandfather passed when I was in grade school. I have few memories of the man. When we make this salsa, I always take a minute and think of him and know that he’d be glad to see me teaching the kids this wonderful art of food preservation. -Jason

No comments:

Post a Comment