Southern Cookin' Makes You Good Lookin'

Random Rantings about Food and Such

Plum Crazy Salsa

on 08/10/2011

Remember the old Pace Picante Sauce commercials?  “This stuff was made in New York City!  NEW YORK CITY?!  Get the rope.”  Love that!  Well, at my house, the best salsa comes from…West Virginia.  Eek!  I know, i know.  My Texan ancestors are turning over in their graves.  Have to put a caveat on the previous statement.  The folks in this house who say that it’s the best salsa are also very prejudiced.  Very.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that i’m getting to where i can different batches of salsa so that everyone gets what they want.  For Michael and Stef, it’s not super hot and more pureed than chunky.  For Ash, i make what i call “Bam!”  Habanero hot.  She likes the glaze to melt off the dishes when the salsa touches them.  So, anyway, back to salsa.  We were in dire need.  The last jar had been gone through and i’ve been waiting for the maters to get to the point where there were enough to start salsa production for the year.  One of the things about living in WV versus down South–it takes a lot longer to get tomatoes each year.  (Insert heavy sigh.)  BUT…batch number one made its debut today!

I have a standard salsa recipe that i use because it just works.  Now, as i said, i tweak it to match the tastes of my family but it’s the same basic recipe.  Today, we did something a little different.  What a shock, huh?  Yeah, yeah.  I may not be the most stimulating conversationalist but you can’t accuse me of being a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to the kitchen.  Back to business.  Today’s cast of characters totally changed the look of the salsa we usually have around here and a comment from the cashier at Orr’s Farm started my evil recipe-tweaking brain to thinking.

Here’s what we had.  Yellow tomatoes.  Yup, those are tomatoes, not peaches.

Purple bell peppers.  Aren’t they gorgeous?

Jalapenos–sorry, they were the standard green color–and what i think were Blushing Beauty bell peppers.

 And here’s where we took our walk on the wild side–plums, basil and Greek oregano.  Yep.  Seriously.  Oh, and i used part apple cider vinegar with the white vinegar and applesauce instead of tomato paste.  :0)  Guess what?  It turned out good!  A slightly fruitier sweetness to it than the traditional.  And an interesting color too.  Not what you expect from salsa.  I’m going to include the standard salsa recipe and today’s Plum Crazy Salsa before i forget how i did it.  Because i will.  Forget, that is.  Salsa is a little time consuming, but, children, it is worth your time.  Forget that stuff from New York City.  Unless you live in New York City and then you’ll have to come up with your own thingy.  Maybe you could say, “West Virginia?!  Get the rope.”

Traditional Salsa

36 medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped

4 green bell peppers, diced

3 large onions, diced

2 cans (12 ozs) tomato paste

1 3/4 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1 medium sweet red pepper, diced

15 garlic cloves, minced

4–5 jalapenos, diced (the fewer seeds you leave, the less heat)

1/4 cup canning salt

1/4 to 1/2 tsp. hot sauce

Cook tomatoes over medium heat, uncovered, for twenty minutes.  Drain, reserving 2 cups liquid*.  Return tomatoes and reserved juice to kettle.

Stir in all other ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for one hour, stirring frequently.

Ladle into sterilized, hot jars, leaving 1/4″ space at top.  Process in water bath for 20 minutes.

Yield: 10 pints

*I use my “leftover” tomato stock to use in place of water to cook a Mexican-style rice or when cooking beans.

Plum Crazy Salsa

28 medium yellow tomatoes, skinned and chopped

8 medium plums, skinned and chopped

4 purple (or green) bell peppers, diced

2 tsp. onion powder

6 ozs. applesauce

1 cup apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup white vinegar

3/4 cup cane sugar (Sugar in the Raw) or white or brown sugar

3 Blushing Beauty or other small sweet peppers

1 1/2 Tbs. minced garlic

2 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped or 1 Tbs. dried basil

2 Tbs. fresh Greek oregano or 1 Tbs. dried oregano

4–5 jalapenos, diced (the fewer seeds you leave, the less heat)

1/4 cup canning salt

Same drill.  Cook the mateys and plums together before draining and adding the other goop.  Stir and cook, stir and cook, stir and cook.  Process.  Done!

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