Sunday, July 7, 2013

Epic Salsa Adventure

I had what can only be described as an epic salsa-making episode on Saturday.  

I was using the "Zesty Salsa" Ball Blue Book recipe since it called for a whole pound of jalapeños, and my husband's favorite brand of salsa is Mrs. Renfro's Hot Salsa.  Jack is a major consumer of salsa, and salsa-and-chips is one of his go-to snacks, so I REALLY wanted to find a good salsa recipe.  Store-bought salsa isn't cheap!

So Saturday morning I woke up bright and early so I could avoid the crowds and the heat at the farmer's market.  I bought the 11 POUNDS of produce the recipe called for (6 pounds of which were tomatoes) and lugged it back to my car.   Whew!

Next I proceeded to stand in a cloud of hot steam on a scorchingly hot day while I dipped the 6 POUNDS of tomatoes into boiling water so I could skin them.  Then I chopped the mountain of produce the recipe called for and dumped it all in my largest soup pot.  Halfway through the process I realized there was no way this pot was going to be big enough to contain all this produce and had to switch out to my large stockpot.  Even though I was prepping the produce then putting it in the food processor this...... took...... FOREVER.

I got to the pound of jalapeños last, which the recipe called for seeding.  I was worried that if I didn't seed the POUND of jalapeño peppers the salsa would be stomach-rotting, mouth-blistering hot so I started in on that.  The jalapeños I got from the farmer's market were small and really fucking difficult to seed so I ended up throwing in the towel after seeding half the jalapeños.  I tossed 5 unseeded jalapeños into the mix for some heat and figured that was good enough.

The recipe says it will make 6 pints.  I always prep a few extra jars just in case.  This time, after seeing just how much salsa was in that stockpot I prepped TWICE as many jars and ended up filling every single one of them.  Yup... the recipe made twice as much as it said it would even though I diligently followed the amounts called for in the recipe.

We definitely ordered pizza for dinner after that.

The nice thing about salsa is, unlike pickles, you don't have to wait to try a jar.  We popped a jar in the fridge and tried some later that night.

And the salsa was...... watery.  Watery, and not spicy AT ALL.  Jack bravely said the salsa was fine and that he would still eat it, but he gently suggested we should give a few jars away to friends.  It would be one thing to test a recipe and have 6 jars of it to use up (taco soup, casseroles, etc), but to have TWELVE jars staring you in the face is something totally different.  

The tomatillo salsa (again from the Ball Blue Book) that I made earlier in the summer was way better.  And made a much smaller batch.  

Sigh... I'll have to try making salsa again.......... one day.  Maybe when the memories of yesterday's salsa making episode have faded a bit. 

UPDATE 7/8/2013 - I gave a jar to my mother-in-law when she stopped by to drop off a squirrel she had trapped, and she emailed me later that the salsa "is awesome!!!"  So it may grow on us.  


  1. aw. Well, I bet you learned a ton and it will improve next time round.

  2. If it's watery, you could try simmering it to reduce it so the flavor concentrates. Also, like most sauces, salsa only gets really good after a day of two sitting.