It all turned out ok

salsa, 2015

What a day! I started making a batch of salsa at about 9AM. Of course, that starts with gathering and washing jars, etc. I made this recipe last year & absolutely loved it. IMHO this year’s is good, but not as good. Read on to find out why. Here’s the recipe for 1/2 batch – the size I make. Feel free to double it.

Janet’s Fruit Salsa

  • 10 large tomatoes
  • 3 large onions
  • 2 red sweet peppers
  • 1-2 red hot peppers

Peel the tomatoes. Roughly chop everything and put it in the food processor. Pulse to chop some more. (No need to puree.)

Put the mixture into a large kettle and add:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 4 peaches, peeled & chopped
  • 4 pears, peeled & chopped
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 1.5-2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cloves-in a tea ball or bag

Boil till desired consistency is reached. Pack hot into hot jars & process. Makes 7-8 pints.

Things didn’t go according to plan. Why? Well, I got the tomatoes, onions, & peppers in the pan and measured in the sugar and salt. OH NO!! I put in enough of both for a FULL recipe and I’m only making half! I scooped out what I could, but couldn’t get a full 2 cups worth. But it was already wet. Does wet sugar measure the same a dry sugar? Who knows?

So I put what I scooped out into a measuring cup, added more salt since I thought I got all/most of that since it was on top of the sugar, and set about getting the fruit prepared & in the pot. The peaches I’d purchased were not great. Mealy and not so sweet. Darn! High quality produce makes high quality products; the reverse is also true. Too far into it to do anything about it now.

While the salsa was cooking down seemed like the perfect time to install the fan/light in the kitchen. I had any number of challenges with this, having little to nothing to do with the fan itself. Although I will now happily concede that Hunter’s “5-minute fan” has it all over their “regular” fan. I had to spend a good 20 minutes doing steps that I didn’t have to do with their 5-minute fans.

After what seemed like an infinite number of trips up and down the ladder I finally got it installed. And pulled the chains. And nothing worked. WHAT??!! Did I do something wrong in one of the first steps?

kitchen fan

Then my brain said, “Go downstairs and check the panel box.” Because of course, like my kids, I didn’t turn off the breaker before I started. So maybe I tripped it. But my electric stove and kitchen radio were still working.

I didn’t see any tripped breakers, but did flip the switch on the one that was appropriately labelled. Back upstairs. No change in functioning. Sit and fume a bit. Back downstairs. I did find one breaker that looked a bit odd, so flipped it. Back upstairs. Voila!

Now the salsa’s ready to can. However in the meantime I realized that I no longer own a canner, and my largest pot, which I might use to do a hot water bath, was full of salsa! I had 2 options. I could transfer the salsa to another pan (it had cooked down enough to fit in my smaller pan), clean the pan I’d emptied, and do the hot water bath in 2 batches since the most I could fit in the pan would be 5 jars. Or I could do the oven canning method, which is HIGHLY frowned upon by ‘the professionals.’ I decided since this was mostly tomatoes (acid food) and had vinegar in it, I’d risk the oven method.

By now it was 2PM and I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet! So I ate a bowl of yogurt with blueberries & Grape Nuts, then went outside with Jack for our afternoon walk while the salsa was in the oven. We came back and I decided I might as well finish weeding a garden area that needs to be done before the landscapers come. Unfortunately, this area was full of not only those thick, wild violets, but also maple tree roots. I found out very late in the process that at some point someone had cut down a maybe 3″ diameter maple from here, clearly large enough that they used a small chain saw. No wonder there were tons of roots! I did too much and now my back is aching.

I still have about 25″ of AF’s wrap to weave, and although I was mentally committed, physically I can’t do it before I head out to my first meeting of the local book club. I’m going to sit outside with Jack and let the ibuprophen I just swallowed take hold instead. Sorry, JM & A! I PROMISE I’ll finish tomorrow!

2 comments to It all turned out ok

  • Alma

    Here’s the thing, Peg. There are very few mistakes, but NEW recipes. So what if this batch is a little sweeter. That doesn’t mean bad. Maybe this year’s hot peppers are hotter than last year’s, so will make up for the difference.

    I never heard of the oven method. Sounds like it ought to be OK with tomatoes and vinegar.

    You are ambitious X 3!

  • Judy T

    Mama said there’d be days like this….
    Hopefully tomorrow will be much better!

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