Strawberry Salsa (FINALLY)

I’ve been off schedule from the moment I woke this morning…but that’s not a bad thing, but my most awesome mojo I was working with yesterday doesn’t seem to be with me today.  But we’re plowing through towards salsa, nonetheless!

So back to the point…Strawberry Salsa.   When I tell people about it, I’m often faced with looks of confusing and bewilderment–how on earth could tomatoes, strawberries, jalapeno, and green onions be good together?  You just have to trust me on this one–it works, and after folks get over the first tentative bites it won’t be on your picnic table for long.  Two words:  Crowd. Pleaser.

It’s one of our favorite treats this time of year, and a recipe that we were given from our Sister in Law.  Over the years I’ve tweaked it some to fit our tastes, and for today’s purposes I tweaked it some for preserving purposes.  You see, what binds the whole thing together is Balsamic Vinegar and olive oil.  And while balsamic is a super yummy vinegar, but not a vinegar you can use for preserving.

I could insert a really long, boring, and nerdy paragraph here about acidity concentrations, how vinegar is processed, etc etc, but I’ll spare you.  Bottom line, especially if you’re a first time canner, the first vinegar of choice for preserving is White Vinegar, and can only be substituted with Apple Cider Vinegar because they share the same amount of acidity.  Mess with the acidity, and you are messing around with botulism and his nasty cousin Food Poisoning.

So today’s canning took a recipe that was meant to be served fresh, and made it so that we can enjoy it come February when summer time seems light years away.  I did that by reducing the balsamic from 12 TBS a batch to about 8 TBS, and replaced the remainder with about 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup lemon juice (to help brighten the flavors).  I also added about 1 tsp of peppercorns per can because I just think it looks so darn pretty, and I really wanted to make sure when we crack these guys open the flavor is full, bright, and still has bite to it.

It certainly is sitting pretty on our counter right now, and I got to utilize one of my favorite kitchen tricks–using a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the pith and seeds of the jalapeno.

So happy Friday, everyone, and here’s to happy canning!

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PEO Dinner

Tonight was my first solo PEO meeting and there was a “trade a bagged dinner” dinner component.  I was so in love with the shaved asparagus salad I made it again tonight for the dinner.  I also debuted the first batch of strawberry salsa (more on that tomorrow when I get the canner rolling), and the lavender sweet tea.  As I shared with someone tonight, it’s probably a good thing I do work full time because if I didn’t, I would totally spend my days doing stuff like this:

(and did I mention that I did all this cooking and crafting this afternoon in my best 1940’s housewife outfit, my second favorite half apron, heels, and fretting over my parents and friends who were in the path of the nasty Massachusetts tornado?   Good news is the Madre and the Padre are safe and sound, and I didn’t spill any salsa on my shirt.  Victories all the way around!)

Much to my delight the recipient of my bagged dinner loved it, and wanted to swap recipes.  I love it when good, fresh food brings good people together, and gnarly, nasty tornados dodge the ones I love the most!

Strawberry Salsa: A Primer

There are moments where I wonder how I made it to adulthood in one piece.  Like when I make a whole bowl of strawberry salsa and then eat almost the whole thing for dinner.  And legit consider it to be dinner.

Most folks see me as the girl who likes to be all thing domestic, but my dirty little secret is sometimes I’m just not great about doing it for myself.  Shhh…don’t tell everyone!

So we didn’t get around to taking a picture of the salsa because, well, we ate it, but after a play date with one of my closest friends on Saturday, the plan is to go pick enough strawberries to make jam and to can salsa.  It’s the first “to do” on my ever growing “what to do on my massive stay-cation that starts on Friday” list.

But if this primer is any indication, the stay-cation is going to be DELICIOUS!