|(Yes, this is real life...you can see where I spilled Salsa on my towel as I was spooning it into the jars:) )|
In previous posts, I have shared with you all that Rooster Senior is serving in the Bishopric of a Young Singles Adult Ward....and that I have chosen not to go visiting these young folks in their apartments empty-handed. Please know that this is a personal decision I have made....not a requirement put upon me by anyone. These young people are often far from home and appreciate something besides Ramen and Fast Food. Here is another 'item' I have chosen to have on hand to take with us as my husband and I go visiting. This is a Salsa Recipe from Food.com. Not only was the recipe highly rated, but it also allows you to adjust the amount you wish to make and calculates it all for you. Finally......it uses a product that I have come to know and love.....namely Clear Jel. For the recipe, please see this link.
In the past when I have canned Salsa 'by the book', I didn't like it. It was watery, and didn't resemble the types of Salsa my family enjoyed. So, this recipe sounded and turned out to be like a big name brand salsa that you often see advertised on National TV.....that isn't made in New York City.
Now, I had a box of tomatoes....that were not going to wait for anyone. So, on the day I processed them...I only had 2 hours to do all of this. Literally, I had worked at the hospital for a better part of the day, came home (with 2 hours to use for this purpose), and then left home to go and serve hundreds of Young Single Adults a meal for a meeting that evening. So, again I used my tools to help me do this and do it efficiently. It is worth having tools that make your task easier and efficient. You do not have to gather tools all at once.....but just obtain them conservatively over time.
I quartered my tomatoes to get them ready to process.
I placed them in the hopper of my Food Strainer and began to process them.
Using the Salsa Screen on my Food Strainer, this is how the puree came out. If the truth be told, I did strain some of the 'watery' liquid away as these tomatoes were very 'juicy'. I knew it would take forever to reduce the liquid amount down if I didn't. Using a hand strainer, I reserved the pulp but discarded the tomato water (a sin to some of you I know). I just didn't have the time to reduce it down.....it wasn't an option.
Time spent processing about a half of a bushel of tomatoes...20 minutes.
This is called an "Alligator".
You cut the onion in half and push the handle down.
This device chops the onions quickly and they fall into this hopper. Look how uniform they are cut. Time spent chopping a small bag of onions....7 minutes.
I added the onions directly to the puree from the hopper.
In the picture above, I am wearing gloves. This is imperative with onions and cutting Jalapeno Peppers....it protects your hands and you will not smell like peppers for days by doing this. Cutting peppers took me about 5 minutes.
Make a slurry of the Clear Jel Powder and just enough water. Clear Jel helps your Salsa get a thicker consistency. In this recipe, you also use Tomato Sauce, which helps with the thicker consistency as well.
Slowly add the Slurry to your other ingredients. Now, at this point I had to put this pot into my refrigerator as I had to change my clothes and get ready to leave. I did not process the Salsa until the next day. As the mixture was cold, it took a while to heat up to a small boil before it was ready to process.
Here are the jars from the first batch and a little surprise. I love my husband, but he can be a bit of a 'hoarder' at times. I often park in the garage and hurry into the house as the garage is a bit 'visually challenging' for me. However, out of the corner of my eye......I spotted another Hot Water Bath Canner. I asked him why he had this. He picked it up in his travels somewhere and didn't really remember. Well.....because of my time crunch....this was a great bonus to me! I processed 24 pints of Salsa in half the time.
So, what is the take home message here? There are many:
- Use your tools to be efficient and save time.
- Try Clear Jel in Salsa.....it works just great!
- Even busy people can do this....I am proof!
- I now have something to pair with a bag of chips to take with us as we visit with these wonderful Young Single Adults.
If you decide you can do something.....the Lord will make the way for you. You can do this and many other things to prepare and care for your family. You just need to develop the skill sets to do so.