I am astounded by the fast food phenomenon of corn chips and salsa that has invaded our homes. My husband has a daily habit, as do other members of our family (ahem, not called out, but might be in the future), to consume a bowlful of chips and a bowl of salsa on a daily basis. Snack food gone viral? I am offended by the astronomical price and poor quality of the salsas that line our grocery shelves. Not to mention the salt and chemical ingredients. What to do? DIY.
During the late summer and early fall when we have abundant tomatoes, peaches and tomatillos, I put up salsa for the pantry. Never in nearly enough volume to last the year, but enough to get us by for several months. I particularly like this peach salsa.
There are a few tips worth mentioning if you are canning the salsa by water bath. One is first to place the vinegar in the pot and drop each peach in it as it is peeled and chopped. This prevents browning. The second is to remember that peaches absorb liquid and expand like sponges, which means that you need to leave enough head space in the jars and add sufficient liquid. You still will get some air bubbles. The third is to realize that hot peppers in a canned environment mellow as they age. Therefore, what may seem really spicy when the salsa is first cooked will probably be a few notches less so when it’s used.
Peach Salsa adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
½ c white vinegar
2½ lb peaches, about 8, yielding 6 c chopped
1¼ c chopped red onion
2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ c loosely packed cilantro leaves
2 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1½ tsp ground cumin
Prepare the canning jars and lids. I use 12 oz jars.
Prepare the peaches. Boil water in a large pot and place a second large pot, filled with ice water, in the sink. Pour the vinegar into a large, wide saucepan. When the water is boiling, place a few peaches at a time in the pot and remove them within about 30 seconds with a slotted spoon and put them into the ice water. Peel one peach at a time (the boiling water will cause the skin to slip off), pit it, chop it and place it in the vinegar, stirring to make sure that all surfaces have been covered.
Add all remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Ladle the salsa into the hot prepared canning jars, inserting a chopstick or other implement to remove excess air bubbles, taking care not to mash the peaches. Make sure the head space is ¾ inch for 12 oz jars and ½ inch for 8 oz jars after the air bubbles have been removed.
Process the jars in a water bath canner for 15 minutes (20 minutes if you use half-pint jars) after the water returns to a boil. Turn off heat, remove canner lid and let site for 5 minutes until removing to a counter to sit undisturbed until cool.
Makes 1 eight-ounce and 4 twelve-ounce jars, or 7-8 eight-ounce jars