Homemade Tomato Salsa

Homemade, original salsa makes good gifts, freezes safely and can be enjoyed with a myriad of foods. 

homemade tomato salsa

You might be thinking I finally harvested my bumber crop of tomatoes..
IMG_2470It isn’t  so.  Nevertheless, I am blessed.  Nothing makes me happier than when friends share  basketfuls of homegrown vegetables from their summer gardens. Because I can’t eat these fast enough, (and because I’d like to preserve the taste of summer for at least a little longer), I made homemade salsa. It’s so good I couldn’t resist eating it right out of the jar…homemade tomato salsa

And here’s something I ‘m just learning: unless I want to send my salsa to a laboratory for testing, I’m taking a chance if I can the stuff!  Salsa is a combination of acid and low acid ingredients; it is only appropriate for boiling water canning, if and only if, the level of acidity is adequate to prevent botulism. Hmm, I’m going to forego even caring about the level of acidity in  my original salsa because: freezing is a safe option for preserving untested, original salsa.  And it’s sooo much easier than canning… so go this route ( unless your planning on gobbling it all up, straight from the jar in the next week!)

Just in case you can’t eat it up fast enough,  here are a few more options to make sure  your homemade, original salsa doesn’t go to waste. Give it away to friends, family, your kids’ teachers, or  the next person who walks down the street (you’ll be hailed a culinary goddess,  because nobody can buy salsa this good!)  Use your imagination and serve  food with mucho salsa all week. For inspiration, some ideas are below.

creative uses for Salsa

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Homemade Tomato Salsa

(make about 3 1/2 pints)

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 12 medium tomatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/3 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 8 oz. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Kosher salt (pure without any additives)
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Instructions

1. In a large sauce pan, cook tomatoes, uncovered, over medium heat 20 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid. Return to the pot.

2. Stir in green peppers, onions, red pepper,  celery, garlic, jalapeno, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar,  salt, hot pepper sauce and reserved tomato liquid. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered, 1 hour, stirring frequently. Store in refrigerator for up to one week or freeze.

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Peachy Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks or Summer Stacked Salad

A twist on the classic caprese salad includes  grilled zucchini  and fresh ripe peaches.

Peachy Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks

Disclosure: I have received a Produce Box mentioned in this post free of charge. I was not financially compensated for my time for writing this post. Opinions are my own.

The concerns of someone with a food and nutrition career are diverse. Today my  thoughts focus on a ginormous problem: food waste:  Estimates conclude  1/3 of our food is wasted, and the problem  occurs throughout the entire food chain, from agricultural production, manufacturing and processing, transportation, in retail, restaurants and ultimately in homes.

Don’t be discouraged. We are good people! Individuals and organizations are working to change  the situation. Case in point, The Produce Box is one local organization using farm to fork solutions aimed at the problem: 

•  They have expanded their services to include state-wide direct delivery. Now all residents are able to support NC farmers. If you live in North Carolina, sign up here.

•  Outreach programs send fresh produce to families not able to afford it. Every week they send hundreds of pounds of extra bulk produce to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina . Last week 114 Hero Boxes were delivered to local veterans across North Carolina.

• During the  summer, Produce Boxes were dropped off at YMCAs for kids living in food deserts to share at home.

• Everytime you order from the Produce Box, a portion of the proceeds go to helping those who need a helping hand.

•Finally,  the Blogger Box, a new  marketing campaign, is helping to ensure 100% of the harvests from all 40 Produce Box farmers is put to good use. Last week, the  folks at the Produce Box asked me to build a box,  and they put my name on it.  How cool is that?  The box, available for delivery this week, features produce I love (selected  from a list of items ready for immediate harvest),   along with a personal recipe  for using the ingredients.

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My recipe, using local, in-season produce was inspired by what I ‘m seeing in culinary magazines and on restaurant  menus this summer. I’m putting a twist on the classic caprese salad by adding  grilled zucchini  and fresh ripe peaches. Here ‘s the resultPeachy Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks

Remember, by eating local and in-season,  you not only nourish your body with healthy and delicious foods,  you support your farm-neighbors, give back to the community, and aid the efforts to reduce food waste.

Peachy Grilled Zucchini  Caprese Stacks

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 2 zucchini (about 3/4 pound) each cut diagonally into 12 slices
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 vine ripe field tomatoes, cut into 6 (1/4 inch thick slices)
  • fresh basil
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 slices
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium peaches, pitted and sliced

Instructions

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. Coat both sides of zucchini with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place on hot grill racks and grill 4 minutes per side.

3. Combine canola oil, white wine vinegar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and honey in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

4. Arrange 8 tomato slices on a platter, top with basil leaf and stack with 1 zucchini slice, and 1 cheese slice. Add to stack (continuing to tuck basil between layers) with 1 zucchini slice, 1 tomato slice 1 cheese slice and 1 zucchini slice.

5. Drizzle with honey mixture. Sprinkle with cherry tomato halves , sliced peaches and fresh basil.

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