Friday, September 17, 2010
Food Storage Friday: Homemade Salsa
When I think of food storage I think oats, beans, wheat, rice, potatoes and pasta. These are staples. Staples are important, they are your base. But it is also important to store things that help the staples go down a little easier. (Because no one wants to live off only the staples.) This week I invited a friend over and we made salsa. Salsa is almost a staple in our house. And I have a reputation for making good salsa. (A few friends were upset when I announced that I would be quitting my last job because I would no longer be bringing chips and salsa into work.) So here is the secret of my great salsa, which I learned how to make from my mom. I believe she learned how to make it from a friend when we lived in San Antonio.
18 tomatoes (give or take)
3 bell peppers (red & green)
6 Anaheim peppers
6 cloves of garlic
1 yellow onion
8 green onions
1 & 1/2 large bunches of fresh cilantro
2 Tablespoons of lime juice
1 Tablespoon of white sugar
1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of salt
1. Rinse and chop produce. 2. Combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer uncovered until contents has gone down about an inch. (About an hour and a half.) 3. Taste frequently and add more ingredients as necessary. 4. Can according to canner instructions. Makes between 5-6 pints.
My friend asked me if the flavor decreases over time. Honestly I don't really know. 30-40 jars of salsa lasts us a max of 6 months. Does it lose it's potency over time? Sure, maybe. We never wait long enough to see.
My friend and I were discussing whether or not making your own salsa is cost efficient. I figured that if you add my hourly wage x 4 (for chopping, cooking, canning & clean-up) + jars, rings and lids (which have to bought in packs of 12) + a new canner and canning tools (as it's not convenient to borrow my mom's anymore) + the cost of ingredients (I find that fresh produce is more expensive in St George than anywhere else I have lived) ÷ 6 ≈ $31 per jar of salsa. Dang, that's expensive salsa. However, I will continue to make it for the following reasons. 1. I like making salsa. It's more fun to chat with a friend while working in the kitchen than it is to purchase mediocre salsa from the grocery store. 2. The cost will decrease as I won't have to purchase a canner, jars or rings again. 3. Although my garden was a failure this year, I have family and friends who have more tomatoes than they know what to do with and also know that I like making salsa. So the tomatoes were free, which are the most costly ingredient. 4. While I'm at work I also have to pay a descent amount for daycare, whereas while making salsa I can be productive and listen to them squeal in the backyard. 5. And of course, I make really good salsa. So, although I may do other canning projects in the future, I now no longer have any illusions that canning my own food is saving me money.