Saturday, August 6, 2011


I love homemade salsa and thought this last weekend that I'd whip up a batch for canning.  Summer is giving off an abundance of tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro, so I gathered up the ingredients and dedicated a few precious Saturday hours to some intensive chopping and stirring.  However, I was NOT rewarded for my efforts.  Now I feel a little disgruntled that my plan failed for two obvious reasons that I should have seen coming.

First of all, you can't can fresh salsa.  Everything that is to be preserved must first be cooked.  Cooked salsa is not as good as fresh salsa.  Secondly, the recipe I found included sugar.  In fact, almost all of them did.  I'm not sure why, but I assumed that the addition of sugar would be ok.  Afterall, I'd never cooked salsa before.  Let me now be clear.  Salsa should never include sugar.  Garlic, yes.  Salt and lime juice, most definitely.  Sugar, no.

I speak generally, of course, but often wonder why is it that our culture thinks everything should include sugar (or more often high-fructose corn syrup).  My personal theory is that our taste buds have been trained to tolerate and even crave it since most industrially produced food does include it.  It is cheap, it is abundant, and because the government so heavily subsidizes the production of corn, we have to do something with it.  I've found that stepping out of the supermarket and into the garden gives you an appreciation for real flavor and an intolerance for things doctored with manufactured ingredients.  Michael Pollan, a favorite author, delves a little deeper into the subject in his article here.

So, now I have 8 pints of sweet salsa that I am contemplating dumping, which gives new and literal meaning to "all that hard work down the drain."  However, I think filling those jars with plain ol' canned tomatoes would be a better option this winter when the mood for fresh salsa strikes.

The silver lining in the salsa fiasco is my discovery that it is easy to peel and can a tomato.  While it would be virtually impossible to remove the skin from a fresh tomato, giving it a 30 second bath in boiling water makes quick work of removing the peel.  Simply score the bottom of the tomato with an "x" (careful not to cut too deep), dunk it in boiling water for half a minute, remove, and run some cold water over it (to stop the cooking process).  The peel will quite literally slide right off.  Chop, boil, and can.  No sugar required.
Before Hot Water Bath

After Hot Water Bath

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...