Garden Fresh Tomato and Pepper Salsa

27 May

Tomatoes and peppers are amongst the easiest vegetables to grow successfully in any garden. So if you plant them at the same time, there’s a good chance that you will get a good crop.

Tomato Salsa
You can expect to be able to bottle
at least two litres of salsa from this recipe.

Having said this, tomatoes and peppers (both capsicums and chillies) are from the same solanaceous family, and therefore may suffer from similar problems. Most horticulturists advise that they should be rotated as crops. In fact, the ideal is that they should not be grown within three years of each other.  That’s a tricky one for people like me who simply adore tomatoes and the full range of peppers and chillies.

If you have the space, you can plant in distinctly different areas of your garden, and rotate the plants this way. But not everyone has lots of space. The good news is that tomatoes, capsicums and a variety of chilli types grow extremely well in pots. Then all you need to do is renew the potting soil and carry on growing regardless.

All tomatoes and peppers may be eaten raw, cooked, or used with other foods in a wide variety of recipes. Salsa is a favourite with many people, and there are numerous recipes, some of which involve cooking the ingredients – even though some purists will say that it should not be cooked.

Whichever way it is created, salsa claims Mexican origins, and so it often eaten with tortilla chips, Mexican tacos or fajitas. This salsa is great served this way, or you can use it instead of tomato sauce, over potato chips, fried or scrambled egg, or on plain grilled chicken or meat. You can also use it for cooking.

Salsa Ingredients
This is all you need to make delicious salsa – mostly from your garden.
The ingredients you will need to make approximately 2 litres or half a gallon of garden fresh tomato and pepper salsa are:
  • 8 raw juicy tasty tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cans of tomatoes or tomato and onion mix(400 g or 14 oz)
  • 4 small or 2 large onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • about half a head of garlic (5 large cloves), peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 3 fresh red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • seasoning

You may adjust the seasoning according to taste, but as a guideline, use:

  • about a teaspoonful each of black peppercorns and ground paprika (which of course is a mild seasoning made from red peppers)
  • at least two teaspoons of mixed dried herbs
  • between a pinch and half a teaspoon each of salt and white pepper
Mixed Ingredients
Mixing and getting ready to bottle.

The number of chillies you use will depend on the type you have grown, and how hot they are. If you want to reduce the “hotness” of the salsa, remove the pips before blending.  If you aren’t using home-grown tomatoes, chances are the tomato skin will be quite tough. If so, blanch and peel before chopping.

The quantities here will require about three or four blender batches, so mix the ingredients in each batch. Then mix them all together in a large bowl before decanting into bottles.

This salsa is relatively smooth. If you prefer chunky salsa, don’t blend for very long. The texture will be completely different, but the taste will be the same – well not quite, but still delicious.

This yummy salsa will last for several weeks if stored in the fridge – although if you and your family like salsa it certainly won’t last that long!