Ok, so made the salsa today. Used all 20 pounds of tomatoes, yep. It ended up making a fuckton of salsa! The original recipe called for 7 quarts of tomatoes, by the time I was done prepping the tomatoes, I had 11 quarts, so I adjusted the recipe. The only things I truly doubled was the amount of acid and salt, both to ensure preservation. I smudged around the rest of the recipe a bit too, less sweet peppers, more fresh garlic :) The original recipe said it would make 13 pints... I ended up with waaaay more than that.
Equipment: 18 pints and 20 half pints
Yer usual water bath stuff, canner, lifter, lid magnet, funnel...
20 pounds tomatoes- yielded 11 quarts
5 cups sweet peppers, I used a couple purple bells and a bunch of orange horns
6 1/2 cups onions- what yielded from 1 3 pound bag
1 cup hot peppers- I used 4 serrano and 2 jalapeno
2 heads garlic
2 1/2 cups lemon juice- bottled
1 1/4 cups lime juice, from 8 limes
1/4 cup pickling salt
1/8 cup whole pequin chilis
3 tablespoons ground cumin
5 tablespoons dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 T hot pepper powder, Growbox Hill blend
So first I blanched, shocked, slipped skins, cored, and chopped the tomatoes. I used my 8 cup measure to count off how much tomato there was. Once I hit 8 cups, I dumped it into the stockpot and repeat. I didn't start the heat under the tomatoes till I was totally done chopping. And started it on medium low.
I used my mini processor to chop up the sweet peppers, onions, hot peppers, and garlic- no way I was going to hand chop that much stuff! Each time I was done and dumped the ingredient in, I stirred it in well and put up the heat a smidge- the point was to slooowly bring the heat up so I didn't scorch the salsa.
Then I measured in 2 cups of bottled lemon juice. Why bottled? Because the acidity is guaranteed level and steady, and that isn't always the case with fresh fruit. After I was done juicing the limes, then I added additional lemon juice to make my full measure.
Started my water bath canner
I put in the salt, ground up the pequin chilis and put that in. Brought up the whole mess up to a low boil for 10 minutes
Added in the cumin, oregano, cilantro, and since it didn't have the kick I wanted yet, the hot pepper powder. Keep it at that low boil for 20 minutes.
Then start jarring and processing- process time for pints is 20 minutes.
After I got the pints done, I transferred the salsa into my medium stockpot to make the rest of scooping out and processing easier. Scooping the last 6 quarts out of a 20 quart pot is a PITA. After I got done filling the first dozen half pints, I emptied the pot again into a smaller pot. Sure it makes for a bit more washing of kettles, but the ease makes it worth it. And the last transfer also let me know just how many more jars I would need.
I processed the half pints at 20 minutes just like I did the full pints.
Started the whole process at 11:30 in the morning, last batch of half pints got pulled out at 5:30
Total: 18 pints and 20 half pints of salsa, whew!
Something to note- since I was working with a rather large amount of salsa, I kept a medium low heat under the pot to keep the product properly hot during the entire canning time. When I got down to my last couple quarts in the smallest pot, the heat was on low.
I also got the other half of the sweet potatoes dehydrated today- I decided to set up the dehydrator in my loves office so it wouldn't have to struggle against the extra humid environment of the kitchen today. With what I dried up yesterday, I had to upgrade my recycled container to a much larger one than I used last time.
I did not get around to canning up the banana peppers- by the time I was done with the salsa, I said screw doing any more canning today. And it was getting to be time to make some dinner.
I also did not get the onions and leftover peppers on the dehydrator- I decided to try out dehydrating the tomato skins instead. Since the peppers and onions can wait a day or two, and the tomato skins were fresh, the tomato skins took priority. After they are well dried- suggested is 125 for 24 hours to get super crisp- then I will toss them into the freezer for a while before grinding into powder. Why the freeze? It helps get the stuff super crackle stage to help with grinding.
And now, a pic of the canning so far.. At least what also hasn't been eaten so far :)
The front 4 rows are the salsa I made today. 18 pints, 20 half pints. In the background in the cartons are the rest of the jars, all pulled out of the pantry and awaiting my hauling them off to their shelves. Considering you CAN NOT stack canning jars on top of each other, is it any wonder I now need to shuffle them off to their own storage space?