OMG! Peach Salsa
(one taste and you'll get the name)
This recipe makes about eight, 8-ounce jars... we usually get a little more (snacks!!)
1/2 Cup White Vinegar
6 Cups Peaches, peeled, pitted, chopped, (blanching tips to follow)
1 1/4 Cups Red Onion, chopped
4 Jalapeno Peppers, finely chopped (if you want more flavor from the pepper than heat, be sure to remove all seeds and, especially, those white "ribs" running up the inside of the pepper)
1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped (make sure to remove the seeds and the white ribs from your bell peppers as these are what makes them bitter)
1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro, loosely packed, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 Clove of Garlic finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
First, prep your water bath canner, jars, bands, and lids. As always, we recommend the Ball Blue Book as our everlasting guide to all things canning. If this is your first time canning, pick up a copy.
Next, get those skins off your peaches! (Blanch and Shock Technique):
Heat up a large pot of water to a rolling boil. We use a spider (wok tool) to gently place our peaches into the boiling water and prevent scalding splashes. Once you have the pot loaded with just enough fruit that they can still easily move around in the boiling water (about 5-6 peaches for our stock pot) take a moment set out a compost bowl (ours is one of those white, ceramic ones that looks like a garden pail... sits right on the counter top for easy access and still looks great) next to a tub of ice cold water (preferably a big bowl of ice and water sitting in your sink). Watch your boiling peaches carefully for signs of readiness; e.g. light cracking or pruning skins. This will happen in 2-3 minutes tops. Remember, you aren't trying to cook them, you just want to loosen the collagen bonds between the fruit and the skin (well that just sounds gross, doesn't it??).
Anyway... you'll only need to boil the fruit for a couple of minutes to loosen up the skins. Using your spider (you gotta get one of these if you're going to do much of this... it's GREAT!), scoop out the fruit one at a time from the boiling water and plop (gently) into the ice water. Wait for them to cool enough to handle. The rule of thumb is equal time boiling to time chilling. You may need to add more ice to the bowl half way through the process.
After your fruit hits the icy water, you'll notice they start to "crack." This is the skins letting go of the fruit because of the whole heating-cooling-expansion-contraction thingy... Jason is better at explaining the science of while all this stuff works... but, since I'm typing and he's just editing from the background, I'm not going to blah blah about it. Okay? Good... moving on...
Once they are cool enough to touch just start peeling them with your fingers. Usually, the skins will slide right off but you might need to coax them a little with a small paring knife. If that's the case, no biggie, just takes a little more time and your patience will be rewarded. As each piece of fruit is defrocked (nekkid fruit!!) we return it to the cold water to keep it from cooking further.
De-seed and Chop That Fruit: Cut around each peach going from top to bottom. Peaches have a nice seam to follow! If you are using “cling free" peaches the fruit will then pull easily in half if you gently twist your knife and the stone will then pop right out. If not, cut around in another circle again, (peach is now quartered lengthwise), and gently work the fruit from seed. This can get a little messy, but take your time and you'll get it. Your patience will be rewarded. Once seeded, chop into chunks…
Continue this process with all your peaches.
You’re now ready to make salsa!
- In a large, stainless steel saucepan, combine the Vinegar, Cumin, and Cayenne Pepper. Bring to a boil.
- Add all remaining ingredients.
- Stir constantly but gently as you bring this to a boil over medium-high heat... if your mouth isn't watering at this point, there's something wrong with you! LOL
- As the ingredients come to a boil, all the sweetness, heat and warm spices mingle together in a conspiracy to seriously tempt you to go get a spoon... but don't! Wait for it…
- Once you reach a full boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently and patiently until the salsa thickens slightly. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking. This should only take about five minutes.
- Remove from the heat right away or you'll have peach paste.
- Ladle the hot salsa into your hot prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
- Remove all air bubbles with the help of a bamboo skewer. Adjust the headspace if you need to by adding more of the hot salsa.
- Wipe down the rims to ensure no errant stickiness makes its way between the lids and a solid seal. Remember: bacteria = bad!! Center the lid (grandma always called them flats) on the clean rim, then screw the band down to fingertip tight. No He-Man stuff here, just fingertip tight will do the job. Oh! Do be careful, the jars will be hot. Again, please refer to the Ball Blue Book for a more in depth explanation of the ins and outs of canning techniques if this is your first time.
- Finally, place the jars in your water bath canner making sure they are completely covered in water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the canner lid. Wait five more minutes then remove the jars to your protected counter top or pass through surface to cool. TAADAAA!!
One of our favorite uses so far is to mix the salsa with a little fromage blanc and use it to spread on fresh bread, scones, crackers, or just eat with a spoon!! LOL
Again, if you are canning this salsa to store in your pantry for future use please follow these EXACT instructions and proportions or check with your State Department of Agriculture or State Extension Food Safety Office (they can be found online here: http://nchfp.uga.edu/links/links_home.html ) Failure to follow safety guidelines will mean you will not have happy results and the resulting bacterial growth in your jars is very, very harmful.
If you decide to eat now and refrigerate the rest OMG! Peach Salsa should be consumed within 2 weeks. (Like that's gonna be hard)
Be sure to let us know how you like our recipes and also tell us how you have been using them. Enjoy!
talk to you soon...