End of Summer Salsa

DSC_0174This is an easy recipe for making Salsa.  I have been using this recipe for years and it never fails to bring praise and request year after year. This is a single batch recipe and will make about 6 pints.  I usually double this recipe.  A lot of it depends on whats coming out of the garden.  After this batch, I have put up a total of 37 pints of salsa this year.

5# – Tomatoes

2  – Cups Onions

2  – Cups of peppers

1  – Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4  – C Canning Salt

  • Core and peel tomatoes as shown in my earlier post (Canning and Canning some more). I choose to hand chop my tomatoes.  I like my salsa chunky and I have found that I don’t have as much control using a food processor.DSC_0098 DSC_0100 DSC_0101DSC_0099
  •   I use bell pepper, banana pepper, and jalapeno peppers in my salsa.  Remove the seeds from peppers, rinse each pepper to wash away any seeds.  Also, make sure to remove the white innards of the peppers too. Chop peppers to your desired consistency.DSC_0097
  • Chop onions????????????????????????????????????
  • Combine diced tomatoes, onions and pepper in a large pot.DSC_0107DSC_0110Add apple cider vinegar and salt to veggies and simmer for 10 minutes.  Dip into sterilized jars, seal and cook in a hot bath for 10 minutes.
    DSC_0170Viola!!!!  End of Summer Salsa.  This is a great way to enjoy your garden all winter long.  I take it to the Carolina/Clemson party we have each year which is near Thanksgiving and folks are amazed that its homemade from last years garden.    Enjoy!

Canning and Canning some more!!!

Tomatoes are coming in!!!

Marion and Rutgers tomatoes are some of the best tomato plants for producing the perfect canning tomatoes.

Marion and Rutgers tomatoes are some of the best tomato plants for producing the perfect canning tomatoes.

The fruit of my labor is evident.  This is one of my favorite times of the year, after planting season, I love the harvest.

I planted 24 tomato plants this year. 9 rutgers and 9 marions and 6 heirloom.  When you plant tomatoes, plant enough to give yourself some options for canning.  What a versatile fruit, the tomato.  So far this year I have made 3 batches of salsa, each one a little different and I have also canned 15 quarts of whole tomatoes.  My next project hopefully will be spaghetti sauce.

Before you can do anything with your tomatoes you must first core and skin them.  Below is a quick guide to do that.  This is the first step to preserving your tomatoes whether canning or freezing.

Lets get started.

You will need the following items to make the process easier for you.

  • cutting board
  • parring knife
  • large 12 quart or larger pot
  • slotted Spoon
  • large bowl

Let us begin:

  • Wash your sink and counters tops before you begin any canning process.  Bacteria is NOT your friend.  So take every precaution to get rid of bacteria.  Personally, I’m a big fan of bleach, but if you don’t like bleach you can use soap, water and vinegar.DSC_0096
  • Wash your fruit.  Make sure to remove any dried leaves or soil from each tomato.
  • Fill your large pot half full of water and bring to a full rolling boil.
  • Once tomatoes have been washed drop them into the boiling water. Don’t over fill the pot.
  • Leave tomatoes in water for 2 to 3 minutes and dip them out.
  • Fill the large bowl half way with cold water and drop the blanched tomatoes into the cold water.
  • Continue this process until all tomatoes have been dipped into the boiling water.
  • You will have to replace the cold water frequently to cool your tomatoes off.
  • Take a tomato that has cooled off enough to handle.  Use your parring knife to cut out the core which is the top of the tomato that attaches to the plant. tomato1a
  • The peel should come off easily.  If the skin hasn’t already started to peel away make a small shallow slice around the tomato and the peel should come off. (if you find the skin hard to come off, leave the tomatoes in the boiling water a little longer).
  • Continue coring and peeling until they are all finished.    They should like like this.

    Tomatoes cored and peeled.

    Now you are ready!  You have many options once you get to this point.

    Hopefully soon, we will learn to make the Salsa….stay tuned

Tried and true!



The tomato has to be the number one planted vegetable in the south.  For me its definitely my number one.  It doesn’t matter what type of tomato you are planting, they love the hot humid weather here.  My favorites are listed below:

Cherokee Black – heirloom – hands down best tomato sandwich you ever had.

Rutgers – Best canning tomato

Marion – Tied for best canning tomato

Sweet 100 – Best cherry tomato

I’ve plant 3 Roma tomatoes this year because I heard they make the best sauces.  I will let you know if they are worthy to be listed.  But their reviews have been really good for a couple of gardening friends.


For me pickling is on the top of my priority list.  Preserving the fruit of my labor is huge to me. Of course we all know that the only way to preserve Cucumbers are to pickle them.  But in the summer when they are fresh out of the garden there is nothing better than to peel and slice a cuke, with salt and pepper, the first one rarely makes it to the table. I plant burpless and pickling cukes each year and they do just fine.

3.Yellow Straight Neck or Crooked Neck Squash

I have never figured out the difference between the two, other than one is straight and the other is curved.  Either way you can’t go wrong with summer squash.  I plant twice a year.  We’re lucky here and our growing season is long enough that once the first plants peter out you have time to plant a new crop.  I prefer to plant mine in hills.  Three seeds to a hill.

4. Okra

By far my favorite vegetable to grow and eat.  Okra is the perfect vegetable to grow in the south and it produces fruit for months and months.  I pickle a lot of my okra, I freeze whole pods to put in soups and speckle butter beans, I also bread it and freeze it for consumption in the winter. Once its starts producing fruit you have to cut it everyday because the pods grow so fast.  You can’t let the pods get too big, the bigger they get the tougher they get.  I can’t say enough about this veggie.


4. Peppers

All peppers grow well here in the south.  Bell peppers, jalapeno’s, banana peppers etc.  I grow them, slice them and freeze them for all types of dishes.  They freeze really well and of course you can pickle them too.  A very versatile fruit that you can use all year.  When growing peppers in the south wait till the ground warms up well before planting them.  They do not like cool temps at night.

This is my top 5, but each gardener has their favorites.  The trick is to pick plants that like where they live.  And timing plays a big part too.  For instance, lettuce doesn’t do well in our summers even in the shade.  We do well planting them in the fall because we don’t really have a spring, well maybe we have one day of spring and then straight into summer.  Happy Gardening.