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Jul 12, 2010

How to make 9 lbs of harvest disappear in 2 hours...

did you guess?


Most of you are well aware of the usefulness of this particular condiment as a way to "get rid of" almost anything! It's delicious, nutritious, keeps well, and is always beautiful, whether fresh or cooked and preserved. Of course you can't ask for a recipe, since it's different every time depending on what I have harvested, but here's a short tutorial for putting some salsa away for another day! Beginners are often very leery of canning their harvests, and rightly so, it can be a time consuming operation and food safety is always paramount, so here is another way, just freeze it! I know many of you are well versed in this, but there are always beginning gardeners that just don't know where to start - we were all there once! Canning has its advantages, like shelf life and not having to rely on uninterrupted electricity for your freezer, but for stress free stocking up, freezing is the way to go! I figure I will be stressing over the canner soon enough in September when the backyard is nothing but a tomato jungle, so tonight is all about keeping it simple.

Looking again at today's harvest - Red Norland Potatoes, Quadrato Rossi Bell Peppers, oodles of Heirloom Jalapenos, Heirloom Yellow Sweet Bell Peppers, Heirloom Fish Hot Peppers, 4th of July Hybrid Tomatoes, one more big UFO Tomato, 2 little Cucumbers, and a bunch of Cilantro

We won't worry about potatoes, never a problem using those up, and the 2 tiny cukes will be eaten with a salad for lunch tomorrow.
I will add to this another 7 4th of July tomatoes, 1 UFO, 4 Orange Wellington tomatoes that were harvested over the weekend, and some garlic, shallots, and onions from my stash.

Here we go!

Assemble your ingredients. Use as much or as little of each as you want! Taste whatever hot peppers you have first to give yourself an idea of the heat. I have had jalapenos that ranged from almost sweet to habanero-ish towards the end of summer!

In my case:
1 bowl of all of the above tomatoes, chopped
1 bowl containing 6 small yellow bell peppers & 3 large green bell peppers
1 plate containing 10 chopped Fish Hot Peppers and 8 chopped jalapenos (they were med-hot today)
1 plate containing 2 chopped onions, 1 whole head of garlic chopped, 4 chopped shallots, and a bunch of cilantro
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Lime or Lemon Juice (just a half to one will suffice usually, start with 1/2 and taste)

Use whatever fresh herbs you want! If you have coriander, basil, rosemary, whatever, it's all good!

Step One: Heat up olive oil and add onions, garlic, sweet & hot peppers, cook over med-high heat for 5 minutes
(at this point you may want to remove some and save for later - you can always add more hot peppers, but it's hard to take them out LOL)

Step Two: add your tomatoes and toss

Step Three: add your seasonings and herbs, cover and cook over low heat 20 minutes

Step Four: Let cool a bit, then ladle into containers, label with date and contents, freeze!

When you are ready to enjoy, simply take out of the freezer and let thaw in the fridge. Suitable containers include plastic, glass mason jars with lids (remember to leave 1/2 inch headspace for frozen expansion), even baggies sealed and laid flat on a cookie sheet while they are freezing will enable you to stack them using less space.

Mission Accomplished!
4 pints of Salsa for the freezer, a half pint for using now in the fridge, 2 quart bags of frozen bell pepper strips
(note to newbies: you don't even have to blanch peppers before freezing, they are super easy to preserve for a garden fresh stir fry in winter!)
I love salsa on eggs, omelets, quiche, whatever... we're gonna' need alot of eggs since this is only the first day of the peppers!

Produce has disappeared! (of course it helped that I saw my next door neighbor have a friend over - fresh meat! I promply brought over 2 lbs of those jalapenos, she obviously hadn't got the memo yet)... only these few remain! But what am I going to do tomorrow LOL?

Last year I planted 9 jalapeno plants, waaaayyyyy too many! I still have 7 jars of pickled leftover from last year, and I use 1-2 jars a month! This year I cut it down to 6 plants and there still appears to be a problem, like 2-3 lbs a week! Either they really like producing in Southeastern VA or there is a conspiracy. I am a closet survivalist/prepper, so I will always go with the conspiracy theory! Some people have zucchini problems, I have jalapeno problems! Stay tuned for more exciting ways to dispose of jalapenos!


  1. I'll take my zucchini over the peppers any day. Mine are so stout now that they're even hot to look at. I like them at the start of the season!

  2. I know a quicker way to make even more harvest disappear even faster...invite my youngest son over to your house. He considers me his free "farmer's market"! I'm going to start making him bring his own recyclable bags.

  3. Wow, that is a lot of jalapenos! Love salsa, I've never cooked and froze it before. I'll have to try that.

  4. That looks so good Erin. I can not wait for my tomatoes to come in so I can start on the salsa. Last year I canned several batches, and hubby said Saturday, when he ventured to the canning self in the basement, "almost out of Salsa!"

    When I have too many peppers, esp jalapenos, I freeze them whole in ziplock bags to be thrown into hearty winter soups. They add a great zing of flavor. Just drop them in whole. I esp. use them when making beef, veg., or chicken stock, sometimes adding 2 peppers.

    They are also so good stuffed....with a yummy cheese and herbs and baked. I can smell them now!

    There is also jalapeno jelly. It is great served over cream, goat or yogurt cheese on fresh bread or crackers.

  5. Great salsa tutorial. Thank you!

    Would it be worth dehydrating the peppers and then grinding them into powder? Sealing the powder in glass jars would make it's shelf-life indefinite. [You may need some of the hot flavoring when you move north and won't be able to grow your wonderful peppers so easily! ;o)]

  6. That salsa is quite beautiful! I just love all of the different colors in it..

  7. Salsa is lookin' good Erin!!

  8. Ribbit, next year I am going to grow zucchini as long as hubby is here to help me eat it - God help me then!

    Gran, I can't wait until my kids are old enough to come home and rob me of produce LOL! Then the jalapenos will be their wives' problems :)

    Meemsync, I love fresh salsa too, but I usually make some this way since my kids will eat it if it looks like "store salsa" - I guess they don't realize that it is PACKED with nutrition! However it gets in their mouths, I don't care!

    Lorie, last year I ended up with 30 jars pickled jalapenos, 5 gallon bags frozen whole & 8 gal bags of frozen pre-made stuffed jalapenos - and gave away about 20 lbs! I really need to scale back!

    MamaPea, you could certainly dry them, I think I may do that to the "Fish hot pepper" I am growing since the flavor is hotter and a little more unique than cayenne or jalapeno. I still have memories of me fingering my moms hanging peppers in the kitchen when I was about 10 and then rubbing my eyes... they were cayennes! Can you grow hot peppers there? If not, beware: you just "outed" yourself and opened yourself up to ground and dried peppers arriving LOL!

    EG & Kelly, thanks! That's the reason I grew "Orange Wellington" hybrids this year, I got tired of looking at all red salsa, as a bonus that variety has a bit of a tangy limey - tomato taste so it does well in salsa!

  9. Oh, yummy! I've always thought freezing things in glass was a no-no, but now I'll have to give freezer salsa a try. The jalapenos look lovely. You're welcome to ship some out my way! My only spicy peppers this year are habaneros...

  10. That looks SO delish! Way to go!

  11. Momma S, I think that may be true for plenty of glass, but actual canning jars are okay, they are designed to take either freezer or boiling water! I like them for things with tomatoes since they don't discolor the container. Plus, it's easier to not let things "sit" since I can see clearly what's in the containers in the freezer.

    Thanks, Patty!

  12. I'm so jealous of your harvest! I'm trying to patiently wait here but I'm getting antsy!!

  13. Great idea! I haven't ventured into canning yet so for me freezing is a much safer way to get my toes wet. I purposely prepared for much marinara and salsa freezing when planning my garden this spring. Do you know how long the salsa will last frozen?

  14. Hi Aubrey! They say 1 year in the freezer if sealed well, i've had it last a couple months past then and still tasted great, I used glass canning jars that time. You'll probably use it up before then!