When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Salsa

Life is funny. You can be humming along, just fine and dandy, feeling like you’ve got it all under control, and then all the sudden, the transmission goes out on your car. Two days before a craft show. In the middle of the road. When most of your available funds are tied up in fall craft show fees. Worst timing ever.

But at least I made it to the farmers market first! My car was towed home with a bushel of tomatoes on the seat ready to be made into salsa.

Ready for peeling

Ready for peeling

Making salsa from a whole bushel of tomatoes is a great way to keep your mind off your troubles. For one thing, it’s such an insanely huge undertaking, it’s going to take you the better part of 2 days to get it all accomplished.

For one thing, salsa is serious business around here. I may have mentioned my Tostitos addiction at some point? And runny food processor made salsa is not going to cut it. I’m sorry, it’s just not. This recipe is the best homemade salsa EVER.

At least I had help with the peeling...

At least I had help with the peeling…

So you’re going to have to hand chop all those tomatoes that you just cored and peeled. Then you’re going to have to let as much of the juice drain out of them as possible before you cook them down to a nice chunky salsa texture.

the assembly line

the assembly line

And of course salsa doesn’t just have tomatoes. There’s 18 green peppers to chop, 20 or so jalapenos, and 12 cups of onions, not to mention all those limes you have to juice to get 3 cups of juice (which you never manage to buy enough of, and always end up substituting bottle lemon juice for the extra). And of course you forgot about peeling 30 cloves of garlic as all the paper is getting stuck to your fingers.

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This gadget makes nice square diced peppers. And it's fun for your kids too!

This gadget makes nice square diced peppers. And it’s fun for your kids too!

So yeah, you really don’t have time to worry and feel sorry for yourself. Especially when you have to bike (car is busted, remember?) down to Dollar General to get the tomato paste, because you don’t have enough of the homemade stuff from last year left. But at least you can pick up some chips and beer while you are there.

By the time you actually get the salsa finished, it’s around midnight, and there is no way in hell you are canning it tonight, so that gets left until tomorrow.

I mixed all the pots together in here to get even distribution of spices and vegetables.

I mixed all the pots together in here to get even distribution of spices and vegetables.

The next day you get canning first thing (around nine, because you woke up late, because you were up until after midnight, remember). After you have your 29 pints of salsa canned, you get to work on the skins and cores, because there is no way you are wasting all that free sauce. (check out how to make sauce from your skins on northwest edible life)

And then there is all that juice that you drained from the raw tomatoes, which really must be cooked down and canned…

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Once you are done with all of that (3.5 quarts of sauce from the peels, 2.5 quarts of juice), the kitchen is a disaster and you have no desire to clean it up. That can wait. 2 days later you finally manage to get ever last pot done and the sink scrubbed out, and you vow to never make a sextuple batch of salsa again. At least until next year.

Yum.

Yum.

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2 thoughts on “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Salsa

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