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Tomato Zucchini Salsa

It seems like gardeners, especially those who grow food specifically to "put up," consistently have the same two problems- too much zucchini, and not enough tomatoes.  I have single handedly solved that problem.
... and it hardly looks like it has zucchini in it!
You're welcome.

I can't take credit for the idea.  I mentioned this recipe briefly last summer in my post on putting up zucchini.  So whoever came up with that recipe gets a big high five for getting the ball rolling.

But there were several things I didn't like about the recipe.  It calls for too much sugar, I don't like including thickeners (the cornstarch) to canning recipes, and I thought it was too tart and not spicy enough.  And I'm not a big fan of excessive prep work, so I cut that down with a little trick I'll share in a minute.  So I've tweaked it a little (while maintaining a high acid content), and here I present you, the solution to all your woes.  Maybe not all of them, but close.

Tomato Zucchini Salsa
Makes about 6 pints 
  • 10 cups shredded zucchini 
  • 2-3 T. kosher or pickling salt (don't use iodized)
  • 4 coarsely chopped onion
  • 2-4 coarsely chopped and seeded sweet peppers
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo (optional) 
  • 1 T. dry mustard 
  • 1 T. garlic powder 
  • 1 T. cumin 
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 2 T. red pepper flakes  OR 1-2 jalepenos (or spicy pepper of choice, to taste)
  • 1 tsp. pepper 
  • 5 cups coarsely chopped ripe tomatoes (don't mess with peeling or seeding, trust me!)
  • 12 ounces (2 cans) tomato paste
 Salt the shredded zucchini and leave in a colander for about 30 minutes to drain.  Squeeze out excess liquid then dump zucchini as well as the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT for the tomato paste.  Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-30 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced.  Stir in tomato paste.

While you wait for your salsa to cook, prepare your jars and lids, and bring jars to a boil in your canning kettle.

Here's the trick- using an immersion blender, blend the salsa just a little.  This makes the finish product more the consistancy of a thick picante sauce than a chunky salsa, but I actually like it better that way (more control when dipping), and it saves a lot of prep work in the beginning.  But, I don't think I would do it if I didn't have an immersion blender- the idea of dumping hot salsa into a blender seems like a bad one, and I don't know if the result would be overly pureed.  If you don't have an immersion blender just chop a little finer, but you still don't have to peel and seed- I did a batch like that last year and it turned out just fine.

Once your mixture has been cooked and mixed, turn off the heat and remove jars from boiling water bath, dumping some of the boiling water over the lids.  Fill the jars, leaving 1/2 an inch of head space.  Wipe the rims of the jars, place on lids and rings, and finger tighten rings.  Place jars back into boiling water bath and process for 15 minutes (from the time the pot resumes boiling).  Remove jars from boiling water and place on a towel to cool.  Do not disturb for 24 hours, then check seal and remove rings.  Label and store in a cool dark place.

More on basic canning.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do- it was the only salsa recipe I made last year and has been long gone for several months.

This recipe has been shared at Homestead Revival's Barn Hop, Real Food Forager's Fat Tuesday.


Heather said...

I posted about the same thing over on my blog a few days ago. HAHA! That was my problem, too! Too much zucchini, not enough tomatoes! This salsa turned out fabulous!

Peaches said...

What about the safety issue with canning salsa, acidity, and botulism?
Has this canning process be approved by USDA or professional research?
I love the idea and looks great!
But eating and sharing my food with others, safety is a must.

Brandislee said...

That's a valid concern. The typical advice is to stick to blue book recipes and not alter the ingredients. Tomatoes on their own typically have enough acid (although all recipes I have used for canning tomatoes call for added acid to be on the safe side, which I follow). This recipe I trust for personal use because of the amount of vinegar added, but I have never had it tested so you have to use your own good judgement.

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