Say, what do you do when you've picked a peck of peppers? Make salsa, baby.....
Aren't these lovely? We grew about a billion Anaheim peppers this summer. They went nuts so we are picking them by the bucket load.
And we are making salsa.
Of course I consulted my Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving for "how to." Despite a thousand warnings that we'd all die if we made or processed the salsa incorrectly... we persevered with the preserving. And... its fabulous! Wow - really great stuff. We used the "Zesty Salsa" recipe on my page 82. I liked that they used weight measurements ("about 2 pounds") as I finally broke down and got a kitchen scale. The process went pretty fast with the chopping taking the most amount of time.
My only disappointment was that I couldn't find a canning recipe that included black beans and corn - our favorite. But I figured I could just add these ingredients to a jar of the core salsa after we canned it properly.
And I used by buddy, Drew's recipe found here. Its amazing - we only added cumin, black beans, and corn to a jar of our Zesty Salsa... then we grabbed a bag of chips and commenced to sit on the couch and eat the whole thing. Whoot!
Thanks Drew - you are right, I'll be making this over and over again.
We did learn a few things tho....
First, we ended up with more salsa then we were supposed to... which made me nervous. The ratios are really important or you won't have enough acidity to kill off any of the scary canning bacteria. So I added a teaspoon of lime juice to each pint before I processed them.. just to make sure.
Next, I got irritated at how slowly the pepper chopping was going. So I ditched my slow but safe method of chopping and just started handling the peppers barehanded. Of course I thought I made sure that the peppers weren't too hot to touch. nope.. the peppers just weren't that hot. All was fine until about 30 minutes later.. and my hands started feeling.. funny.. then hot.. then really hot and not so funny.. then there was a lot of hopping around and shaking and blowing on them.
I tried all the remedies... Dawn dish washing soap, soaking in milk, etc. Nothing helped.. and then someone suggested that I use olive or veg oil, rub it around on my hands like soap, and then rinse off. Wow! It totally worked. Apparently the olive oil bonds with the hot pepper oil, neutralizes it, and then helps get rid of it. Of course my farm-y hands are pretty rough and cracked so it took a couple treatments.. but it did the trick.
And yes, next time I'm wearing gloves!