During the spring, I did my tomato starts. I tried to start 36 plants, but with a little kid help, ended up with …64!!! All of these in Heirloom varieties.
With all of this, much of the garden went into tomatoes. Before vacation the first crop came in, but we lost that entire first crop to blossom end rot, which is caused by lack of useable calcium in the soil. So, before goi
ng on vacation in early August, I tossed out some garden gypsum, which doesn’t tweak the soil ph so much (cause really, who wants to have to go and do all of the soil testing…I find it a HUGE bother…), as the flowering was still going on.
It seems to have worked. These last few weeks, my tomatoes have started their second crop and they’re monsters. We’ve got purples, yellows and oranges. They’re GORGEOUS. And HUGE, and, after going to the fair this last week, had I entered any of the bigger ones, I would have won, hands down.
Anyway, after some initial judicious gardening, and later rainfall, the second crop of tomatoes has come in, mostly whole. I’m still having some blossom end rot, mainly on the yellow tomatoes, but it’s very limited otherwise. I think that they’re heavier users of the calcium than the purples and oranges are.
So, with this new bounty on my hands, what did I do? Well, of course I canned them! We danced, the tomatoes and I, doing the first round of salsa.
Medium heat salsa
15 lbs peeled tomatoes (I blanch mine in boiling water and then douse into ice water to skin them), chopped into large chunks
3 chopped onions
5 ears pre-cooked corn, cut off the cob (I used the left overs from dinner than night)
2 bay leaves
1.5 lbs tomato paste
2 green peppers, chopped
I got all of this into a pot, boiling and reducing.
On the side, I did the rest:
2 whole heads garlic
1 bunch cilantro
I just stuck these in the food processor and had at, dumping them into the pot about 30-45 minutes into the reduction process.
After the reduction is where you want it for thickness, add the following
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
10 TBSP salt,
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
8 long red cayenne peppers (this is just what is growing in my garden this summer – you could swap out for any other hot pepper of your choice and adjust for heat.)
Adjust seasoning by playing with both the vinegar and salt – the combination of these two things are what make the salsa more or less piquant.