Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Zucchini Salsa

Yummy note:
This is my first year with a much larger garden. I will say right now that my garden has been getting out of hand lately with the weeds and ground cover. I was doing fairly well early on, but it has recently got crazy-so if anyone has tips to control the weeds for next year, I'm all ears. I am honestly about ready for it all to be done for the season. The early raspberry bushes are done and have been pruned, the pumpkins are going well with about 6 pumpkin babies, however the vines have also took over a good portion of the garden. I am still getting a handful of peppers and zucchinis, too, which is nice for a late harvest. And then there's the tomatoes, they are close to fizzling out. However, I really got a decent crop out of my tomato plants this year, so I can not complain about that. I've planted a few different varieties, ranging from roma to heirloom, so I've been able to get some nice batches of salsa and tomato sauces. A few years ago, a friend introduced me to this zucchini salsa, which is similar to this recipe below. The biggest difference between the two, is the time involved in making the salsa though. The original recipe takes a 2-day approach with the zucchini in a brine overnight, while this one incorporates a sautéed zucchini instead and only takes a few hours start to finish realistically. Both recipes are on the mild side and not a lot of heat, but you could easily ramp up the heat by putting in more jalapeños and their seeds or a hotter pepper. This recipe yields about 8 pints of salsa.  

Zucchini Salsa

8 cups of tomatoes (peeled and chopped)
olive oil 
1 1/2 lbs of zucchini (about 6 cups shredded) 
1/2 tsp salt 
4 cups of diced sweet onions 
jalapeños, diced 
1-2 habaneros, diced 
2 bell peppers, diced (either red, orange, or green)
4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, diced 
6 garlic cloves, diced 
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt 
1 tsp ground black pepper 
1/3 cup of light brown sugar 
1 lime, juiced and zested 
1 1/2 cups of vinegar, 5% acid
12 ounces of tomato paste 
1-2 tbsp fresh basil or 1-2 tbsp fresh cilantro

Yummy note: This recipe is to be canned using the waterbath canning process. If desired, you could always cut down the ingredients and make a smaller batch and not can this recipe for a fresh salsa. 
Prep tomatoes by placing them in a pot of boiling water. Remove after about 30 seconds or once you see the skin beginning to peel. Then place them into a bowl of ice water to cool before removing the skins. Remove the skins and cores and chop tomatoes. Place the tomatoes in a strainer over a bowl to catch the juices. In a large stock pot, drizzle in a little olive oil and add the shredded zucchini and 1/2 teaspooon of salt and sauté the zucchini until it starts to reduce. After the zucchini has reduced down and is less watery, add in the reserved tomato juice from the chopped tomatoes to the pot and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone. While this is reducing, chop and prep all of your other vegetables. Next, add in all of your other ingredients, except for the fresh basil and cilantro. Simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes. If the consistency seems to thick or chunky for your liking, you can finish up and puree the salsa a bit with a quick pulse of a hand blender. Just be careful not to splatter the hot salsa. Finish by stirring in the fresh basil or cilantro. Fill hot clean sterile jars with the salsa and check for air bubbles with a spatula and wipe the jars edges clean with a damp cloth, and screw on bands. Adjust the bands so they are not super tight, but just enough so that they are on there with slight resistance. Process the jars for 15 minutes in a boiling waterbath canner. If the jars do not seal properly, place the jars in refrigerator and use within the next few days. Store canned jars and use within a year or so. Yields 8 pints. 

Yummy note: New to canning - Check here for some tips - http://www.freshpreserving.com/canning-101-getting-started.html