Monday, September 23, 2013

Apple Salsa

We live nestled in between several apple orchards. We planted two five-in-one dwarf apple trees three years ago. Those trees are not yet producing and in the 4 years that we have lived here now, three of those years have had late frosts that wrecked havoc on our local orchards. This year was a good year for apples, yet the prices have definitely crept up over the years - they are averaging about 30 cents more a pound now.

We have been incredibly blessed this year by my husbands coworkers, who ended up with a large surplus of plums, pears, apples and grapes that they have very, very generously shared with us.
I have been working on processing apples for several weeks and am just now nearing the end (with the mad thought to maybe get just a few more, because I am sort of in love with canning apple pie filling!)

Not having to pay a premium (or, um, at all!) for these fruits means that I have been free to experiment with things I normally would not make. I hope to share a couple of those with you over the next few days, but the one I am most excited about it is the apple salsa.

I adapted this recipe from the apple and tomato chutney in the Ball Complete Book of Preserving. I believe it to be safe since I eliminated some lower acid ingredients and increased the vinegar. Please be aware however that it is NOT a tested recipe.

Also, maybe someday I will remember to take process pictures. And also take pictures with my camera instead of phone. I was going to pull the jars up from my basement to get pictures of all of them, but I currently have a squirrel (possibly) down there while I await the return of The Menfolk to check and see if he's gone!

Apple Salsa
yields about 7 pints

2 cups white vinegar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
6 cups peeled, cored and chopped apples
8 cups peeled, cored and chopped tomatoes
1.5 cups chopped red onion
1.5 cups chopped red peppers
2 jalapenos, chopped (if you want less heat, seed and de-vein)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 cups brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

1. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar and apples. I pour the vinegar in and add the apples as they are chopped to prevent browning. Add tomatoes, brown sugar, onions, red peppers, jalapenos, garlic, salt and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.

2. Ladle hot salsa into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed by adding more salsa.

3. Process for 10 minutes in boiling water bath.

Notes: This does make a thin sauced salsa. The I removed a total of 7 cups of fruit (2 cups tomatoes, 1 cup raisins and 2 cups chopped cucumber) and increased the vinegar by a cup. I would think you could certainly safely add the 2 cups of tomatoes back in and reduce the vinegar back down by a cup if you'd like. I prefer to err on the side of caution when changing canning recipes and I don't mind the additional vinegar, I simply drained a little off at serving time.

So far I have only eaten this piled on some toasted thick sourdough bread (and untoasted, but toasted is better) but I'm excited to see how else this lovely little sweet and spicy salsa can be used. I'm thinking some cinnamon tortilla chips would be delicious!

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