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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Peach Salsa

My home is at a high altitude but in a river bottom, where freezing air settles, so my peach tree has born only twice in its seven year life. This was one of those summers and we've relished this gift from Mother Nature. Our peach season has come and gone (well, there are a few peaches still in the fridge). I've bottled peach halves, jam, peach BBQ sauce, conserve, and this salsa which has proven to be my favorite method for preserving the fruit. Even if you don't want to can it, this is tasty enough you could divide the recipe and keep the salsa in the fridge for a week, if it lasts that long.


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Peach Salsa


Adapted from: Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-round by Marisa McClellan
Yield: The author claims the yield is 4 pints but I've made this three times and produced no more than 3 pints. 

6 cups peeled, pitted, and chopped peaches (about 4 pounds)
1 1/2 c distilled white vinegar
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 chopped onions (1 large onion) (red is very pretty, but not necessary)
1 c chopped red bell pepper (about 1 large pepper)
3 jalapeno peppers, minced (I'm a wimp and used 1- 1 1/2)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teas salt
1 teas ground cumin
1/4 teas cayenne pepper, you can leave out (which I do) or increase depending on heat tolerance

Prepare a boiling water bath and pint jars. When you start cooking the salsa, you can start bringing the water to a boil. Have your jars in the water so they will be hot when you ladle the salsa into them. Place the lids in a small saucepan and when closer to topping the jars, cover with boiling water.

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot. I like to mix the vinegar and the sugar together first and then add the peaches, stirring with additions. This kept the peaches from discoloring while I continue chopping. Bring all to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. The author allows it to simmer about 10 minutes but in high altitude that is too short a time for the juices to reduce. She instructs to simmer until the salsa no longer looks watery. Taste and adjust with additional jalapeno or vinegar, if needed.

Ladle the hot salsa into the jars, and leave 1/2-inch headspace. With a damp paper towel, wipe the rim and place the lids and rings on the jars. Tighten but only with your finger tips. Process for 15 minutes at sea level, add additional minutes for higher altitudes:

1,001-3,000 ft--5 additional minutes
3,001-6,000 ft--10 additional minutes
6,001-8,000 ft--15 additional minutes
8,001-10,000 ft--20 additional minutes

When finished, turn off the heat, remove the lid and allow jars to rest for 5 minutes to cool off slightly. Remove the jars and allow to sit for 24 hours before labeling and storing. Remember to test the seals and if any jar didn't seal keep the salsa in the refrigerator before use.

This is great for use as a fruit salsa but the author recommends it as a simmer sauce for chicken legs and thighs.

Note:

If you want this to be hotter, increase the cayenne, not the jalapeno. The canning recipe is balanced and safe as it stands. If you change ingredients you shouldn't process the salsa in bottles but refrigerate.

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