Canning – a relaxing escape that gives me peace, enjoyment, and a feeling of accomplishment. Beyond the precious jars that result in a few hours of work, it’s my creative outlet. Mince, mince. Chop, chop. Roast. Simmer. Fill, and seal.
It might seem like quite a few tasks, but mustering up the courage to try will make you feel like queen of the kitchen. And honestly, it seems a lot harder than it really is. There’s no better time than now to embark on your first experience. Think of your favorite summer produce, find a canning recipe that appeals to you, and preserve the harvest one jar at a time like I did with this Fiery Roasted Salsa.
We’ve been blessed with a great tomato harvest this year in Minnesota. Enough rain, warm days to help them ripen on the vine, and no bug issues to speak of. The vendors at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market are hauling them in by the bushel, waiting a person like me, who’s eyes are obviously bigger than their stomachs as they carry away 15 pounds of the bright red beauties.
The first time I made homemade salsa about 3 years ago, I wasn’t wowed. I used a recipe from the Ball Canning Book and although the flavor was okay, it didn’t have the punchy, zest I craved. Additionally, the texture just wasn’t my favorite.
The perfect salsa to me: restaurant style that’s smooth but not runny, bold heat, and a background roasted, toasted flavor. I reached out to a friend, the preservation queen herself, One Tomato Two Tomato, had just the recipe that matched my requirements.
Tomatoes, chiles, and peppers are broiled until their skin is black which brings out their inherent sweetness and a dose of smokiness. To put my own spin on her Salsa de Chile recipe, I adapted the dry spices used and threw in a twist – espresso powder. (When adapting certified and tested canned tomato recipes, it’s very important to only adjust spices/herbs for safety because of their finicky ph/acid levels. Read more about that here.)
The idea sparked from thoughts of mole sauce and really great chili, which all use a bit of chocolate to deepen their flavor, but for safety reasons I didn’t want to add chocolate. What gives an additional layer of flavor to chocolate? Espresso powder. I couldn’t resist.
The result – well, let’s just say chips and salsa has been my dinner for the last two nights and breakfast quesadillas have been my jam!
If you’re looking for a green salsa, I love this Tomatillo Salsa Verde, which is also a canning recipe!
Note: This is the water bath canner I use.