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Eating Well: Ripe garden tomatoes go into tasty salsa

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Garden tomatoes will be ripe and plentiful the next week or two resulting in way too many to simply eat.

On that note, I've had a few individuals inquire about my salsa recipes, which I have previewed in the past, but will be featuring again today as a follow through to the requests.

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Homemade salsa, both the fresh and canned version, is always a wonderful end product and the perfect way to enjoy the fruits of your labor all year long.

The cooked "Salsa" recipe, shared originally by a friend, is sweet and spicy and has proven to be one of the best of the several I've tried. It's wonderfully fail-proof and works best if you drain some of the tomato juice off before you start cooking the batch. Some tomatoes are juicier than others and if the liquid is too great, the salsa will not thicken enough in the simmer process.

The "Fresh Salsa" is also a recipe I've made countless times. It takes a few minutes to make and such a short time to devour, so I might suggest making a double batch because it keeps nicely in the fridge for several days. If you aren't into cilantro, substitute parsley. Also three jalapenos may be a little too hot for some tastebuds so add what you like accordingly.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking.

Salsa

4 1/2 quarts tomatoes

3 1/2 cups finely chopped onions

4 cups chopped green peppers

2/3 cup jalapenos chopped (about 4 with seeds)

4 tbsp. canning salt

4 tbsp. vinegar

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp. cumin

Mix all together in large kettle. Simmer for two hours and place in hot jars and cover with hot lids and rims. You'll hear the jars popping as they seal themselves, usually within an hour's time. (If you leave any salsa on the rims as you're filling each jar, make sure you take a sanitized cloth and wipe the rim clean so it's residue free before you put on the hot lid. Otherwise your jars may not seal. If you prefer to go the extra effort and hot bath them, you can do that also, boiling them in the hot water for ten minutes. I don't ever do this and have never had a problem, but most cooking experts would recommend this. In either case, if it appears that any of the jars of salsa have not sealed, just refrigerate them and use them first.)

Fresh Salsa

3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

1/2 a medium-sized onion, finely chopped (I like the Bermuda)

3 fresh jalapeno peppers, stems and seeds removed, finely chopped

1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 tsp. salt

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Combine all the ingredients in bowl, mix well. Cover and chill at least 1 hour, or until ready to serve.

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