What do robots dip in salsa? Microchips! 

Salsa is the Spanish and Italian word for ‘sauce’, and besides being incredibly easy to prepare (chop stuff up and mix together), it’s also flexible in its variation.

Salsa can be made out of nearly any fruit or vegetable, to suit any sweet or savoury purpose. Chopped strawberries, kiwis, fresh mint and lime juice make a fantastic summer salsa fresca, served alongside cinnamon sugar tortilla chips.

Canning with tomatoes does require a quick science lesson, though: tomatoes are a borderline acidic food, between high and low. This means they require the addition of an acid in order to preserve them safely. In this recipe for Chunky Chipotle Salsa, the lime juice and vinegar provide the necessary acidity (and flavour boost) to make a delicious and lasting salsa.

For beginner canners: don’t be intimidated by acidity science or the 18 cups of tomatoes required for this recipe. The tomatoes will cook down, and following a recipe covers your bases. Plus, if you’re like me, you’ll soon realize that five jars of salsa won’t seem like enough once you get into it!


Chunky Chipotle Salsa

Makes five 500 ml jars

Ingredients:

8 lbs (about 18 cups) ripe tomatoes, diced*

2 cups seeded and diced Anaheim, Cubanelle, or bell peppers

2 cups chopped white or yellow onions

⅓ cup seeded and finely diced jalapeno peppers

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

5 cloves of garlic, minced

⅓ cup tomato paste

¼ cup chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (or ½ cup if you like it a little spicier)

¼ cup lime juice

¾ cup white vinegar

2 tsp salt

2 tsp cumin seeds

Method:

Place diced tomatoes in a large colander or strainer, with 1 tsp of the salt, to drain for 30 minutes to an hour. Dump drained tomatoes into a large pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and boil gently, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Use a pot large enough to hold the jars and fill the pot with water; bring to a boil. Boil the empty jars in this pot to heat and sterilize them. Remove from water and set aside.

Add all the remaining ingredients (diced peppers, onions, jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, tomato paste, chipotle peppers, lime juice, vinegar, salt, and cumin) to the tomatoes and mix. Bring to a boil again, and then reduce heat to a medium-low, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Ladle the hot salsa into the hot sterilized jars, leaving a half inch of space from the rim of the jar. Wipe the rims clean and screw on the lids, then place jars in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Let cool completely, then store the jars of salsa in a cool place.

*The tomatoes can be peeled or left unpeeled. To peel, score an X in the bottom of each tomato, then place them in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute, then transfer immediately to a bowl of ice water. The skins should just slip off.