Monday, June 20, 2011

Farm Girl makes Salsa

Its another cooking blog.  blech. i thought this was supposed to be about farming?  Well as it happens, sometimes things don't change very fast on a little urban farm.  in the mean time you have to fill the gaps with urban farm life.  Which, for us, involves LOTS of cooking from scratch!

So, Salsa! Hooray!!  Now is an awesome time of year to make salsa, because tomatoes are wicked cheap.  I bought the ones from today's blog for $.88/lb.  Good deal.

Now salsa is one of those great things that if eaten correctly can be a sneaky way to hide veggies in your diet, if you are having trouble working them in.  And research suggests most of America is.  You can put it on eggs for a good high protein, low sugar breakfast.  Or you can mix it with the afore made beans! Or you can be a normal person and scarf it with chips, thus losing all of the nutritional merit points it gained by being made solely of vegetables.

Now most people think salsa and they think of this:
This is the salsa i grew up on.  It never occurred to me, until i was in my 20s, that this wasn't real salsa.  This is Picante Sauce.  I'm not sure what the difference is, by definition, but im pretty sure it has to do with the fact that normal tomatoes dont come out that smooth... or thick for that matter! I'm not sure how they make that happen.  This is not to lessen Pace Picante as a product. As far as processed foods go, its not doing too badly.  I can name all the ingredients without aid of a speech therapist.  Its tomato sauce, onion, jalepeno, onion powder, garlic powder, water, vinegar and salt. not too bad. Nutritionally, its not the worst thing you to eat.  Its not great, its got a lot of sugar in it (although its not a listed ingredient.  is this from the tomato sauce? Science friends?) So what would be the point of ever switching from this friendly looking jar to making your own?

Well first, the ingredients in fresh salsa look much prettier when photographed:

no, thats not a jalepeno but i didnt have one handy so i substituted pablano.


mmmm look at all that COLOR! See if you just bought your husband a fancy camera for fathers day and you need a reason to use it, thats number one why you should make your own.  The second reason is that its easy as all get out.
here it is, in pictures:

 Take 18 tomatoes (romas pictured, if you use a bigger tomato you'll get more salsa but it will be more tomatoey. also less spicy. that might be a good thing), 12 seranos (that makes a hot salsa with romas,  i'd go 8-10 for med and <8 for mild), two white onions, and 10 peeled cloves of garlic.  Cut the tops off the serranos, half the toms and cut out their little stem-holes.  Quarter the onion.  Lay them all on baking sheets.  Roast at 375* until it looks like:

 Wrinkley tomatoes, charred peppers and onions. good stuff.

Then take it all and toss it in your food processor with 2 bunches of cilanto.  If your food processor is the same size as mine, you will have to do this in two batches.  add a little less than 1 tbs of salt with each batch.

 When its done, poor it in a bowl. Thats all.  Then you get this:

      As opposed to this (pace in a bowl):
So there you go. Reason number two to make your own salsa: its dead easy.  And thats a LOT of salsa.  its about 1.5 quarts (6 cups) of salsa.  The small jar of Pace is about one cup.  

Third reason to make your own salsa: Price.  The cost of one small Jar of pace is about $3.  all of my produce cost a grand total of $5.74 (three lbs of toms @ $.88/lb, $.60 in serranos, two bunches of cilantro @ 2/$1, one head of garlic (i didnt use it all) @ $.5 each and 2 onions @ 2/$1, no tax on food in Arizona).   So for the cost of less than two jars of Pace, I made 6x as much salsa.  

And it tastes better.  And looks better on a chip:

There. thats 5 reasons to make your own salsa. Photos, Ease of making, Price, Taste, Looks Good on Chip.

AND! The whole thing lends itself well to my future fall hobby: Canning!  As soon as my personal crop of tomatoes comes in, there will be canning.  Oh yes. Canning indeed!! In the mean time though, tupperwear containers will have to do. =)


  1. Wait until I show Dick this. He makes his own salsa too, but I don't know the recipe.

  2. Just showed Dick your blog. He's ready to thrown down a salsa making challenge.

  3. Oh!!!! Let me know when this throw down is happening I wanna be there! Not as a participant of course but as a judge/panelist/juror!

    In the mean time I bought some cute little Ball plastic cups with lids to store my salsa in when I make it. I am waiting to have 18 tomatoes ripe at the same time so I can start!!! Can't wait! I refuse to use store bought if I don't have to!

  4. And he said, "Let there be salsa", and there was salsa!

    Our romas are a bit smaller than your average grocery store roma so I used 26 of them and our jalapenos are a tinch HOT so I used 4 of them with no seeds and I ended up with moderately hot salsa. I can eat it. It is slightly uncomfortable but not so hot that you can't taste the flavor. I am a bit of a weenie i this department though.

    I will let mine all sit in the fridge together in one bowl for the night and put them each in their own little cups in the AM and put them in the freezer.

    Wow! This stuff is yummy!!!!!

  5. Love this post. I make my own salsa about 3 times a week.

    Salsa Fresca is always a great alternative to all the prep work this type of salsa involves, so on a lazy day I go Fresca.

    I'd also recommend adding some lime juice to your recipe, its my favorite part of the salsa :)