Lana’s Sweet Salsa

Here’s a little fun we had in the kitchen with my kids making “Lana’s Sweet Salsa,” from our home grown tomatoes, peppers and parsley, with filming by Karis and video editing by Bo and Kaleo!  A transcript and complete recipe follows. (Recorded September 15, 2013)

Here’s the transcript…

Hi, this is Eric Elder, and here’s what’s cooking at The Ranch!

We’re going to make some homemade salsa.  We’re going to turn these garden tomatoes and wonderful peppers, jalapeño peppers, and onions — Bo is cutting up some great onions, crying over here.  Poor Bo, but he’ll be all right. And we’re going to turn them into “Lana’s Sweet Salsa.” We’ll check back with you in a minute.

All right. Now we’re taking the tomatoes, and we’re going to take the skins off and the seeds out. So we do a process called blanching. Bo is going to put them in the boiling water, put some tomatoes in there. And then it takes only about a minute in the boiling water.

And when they’re ready, he’ll take them out and put them in this bowl over here. And then we just take them out, and you can see how the skin just peels right off. And Josiah is over here, and he’s taking skins off. We run them under some cold water because they’re so hot to handle.

So then he will take the top off. And to take the seeds out, it’s easy to just cut the tomato right in half across the middle so it’s sort of a star shape. You can show them the star shape there. And then he can just use the back of his thumb and just pop the seeds out. You don’t have to get them all out. But if you get some of the seeds out, that makes the salsa taste better. And then when he’s done, he’ll pop them in the tray over here where later we’re going to crush them up when get them ready for salsa.

Now we’re doing the chopping of the tomatoes. We’re just taking the whole tomatoes. We put them in this pan, and then he’s using a little Pampered Chef chopper to chop them up. You can cut them with a knife, but this makes it really easy and just little bite-size pieces so you have them. And I want to separate the water from the tomatoes so I’m pouring it into a strainer because I want some of that water drained off. And I’m actually going to save some of that water for later, and we’re going to put that on the stove and reduce it.

So you just simmer it on the stove for a long, long time. You just let it simmer, simmer, simmer until it gets a nice thick paste in there, and then we’ll have that and it will give us extra bulk and put the tomatoes into the pan. We have about eight cups of tomatoes or more.

Over here we’re doing peppers and just cutting up the peppers. We’ll do the same thing to chop them up. We’ve already done the onions. And we’ve got about 15 jalapeño peppers, and we use plastic gloves when we cut these so I don’t burn my hands. That happens sometimes. And we’ll add the peppers, onions, and tomatoes, and then we’ll start cooking.

All right. We’re getting ready for our next step. While this is boiling for about 20 minutes just bring it to a boil and let it simmer down for 20 minutes. This is reducing nicely. It’s still cooking there. And it’s getting a little thicker. And then we’re going to add all these things. We’re supposed to add some cloves of garlic, but instead of chopping it up we buy it already chopped. So add some garlic in there, some salt, some cumin, some oregano. This is apple cider vinegar. And then we add — it seems like cheating, but it just helps out — a can of diced tomatoes, which you strain them again, put the juice in that one. And then two cans of tomato paste. That will give us a little extra thickness for us.

Joe’s doing some limes over here. We’re squeezing six limes. So that juice will go in the mix too. Put this all in. And Kaleo is over here. She just picked some fresh parsley from the garden, and she chopped it up with the food chopper. And you have to be careful when you pick fresh things. These are beautiful little caterpillars she found, but you make sure you don’t want those in your salsa.

We are now cutting these jalapeño peppers and I can barely talk. They’re really strong. And so that’s why I’m using the gloves, because you really don’t want to burn your hands. They really can burn you. I’m sort of cutting the middle out and then washing the seeds out. It’s the seeds that are even extra hot. So if you want more you can add some of the seeds, but these are already pretty hot. I’m going to put that in, and we’re going to chop them up.

All right. We’re ready for the last step before we get to eat it. This is two cups of the peppers, onions, and tomatoes that were raw that we put in at the beginning. We took out two cups and saved it for the end. It will give it a little fresh flavor. We’re going to pour that in and add more two tablespoons of brown sugar. This is what makes it extra sweet. It’s already been cooking with the other brown sugar. And then that reserved tomato paste we just put in. And so it’s all ready. We let it simmer for five more minutes and it will be time to eat.

And here we are with our final salsa. It’s all ready. We’ve stirred it up and we’ve just been enjoying it. And I am so glad that you watched this and to see how it was made.

I just want to remind you the Bible says, “Do not become weary in doing good, because at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.” Sometimes you have to wait years for things like apples to grow. (Click here to watch our apple video). Other times, just a few months ago we planted some tomatoes, some peppers, some parsley, and today we’re enjoying the fruit of all that with our salsa.

Thanks for coming. We’re glad you were here to see “What’s cookin’ at The Ranch!”

Recipe for Lana’s Sweet Salsa:
(This recipe originally came from Eric’s sister, Marilyn Byrnes, but it was Lana’s favorite!  Hence the name, “Lana’s Sweet Salsa!”)

8 or more C. tomatoes, blanched, peeled, cored and chopped. (Drain off extra juice and reduce it in saucepan for use at the end.)
4 C. assorted green-type peppers….seeded and chopped (anaheim, passillo, hungarian wax, green)
2 C. jalepeno peppers, chopped (16 peppers = 2 C.)
1 1/2 C. onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (reserve liquid and reduce for the end)
2 cans tomato paste
1 1/2 C. apple cider vinegar
6 limes, squeeze for the juice
3 t. ground cumin
4 t. salt
2 t. ground chipotle pepper seasoning
4 T. fresh oregano
4 T. fresh cilantro
6 T. brown sugar

Mix tomatoes, peppers and onions. Hold out 2 cups for the end.

Combine remaining tomatoes, peppers, onions with the rest of the ingredients. Bring to boil, stir frequently and reduce heat
immediately….simmer 20 minutes.

Throw in the reserved raw onions, peppers, tomatoes & additional 2 T. brown sugar. Add reduced tomato liquid. Simmer 5 more minutes.

Put in pint jars, with 1/4″ headspace, in a hot water bath for 30 minutes.  Makes 10-14 pints.

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