Family Traditions – Turning Up the Heat


Make that year number two.

I recently gathered my beautiful daughters, some with babies in tow, to cook and bottle salsa.

This family tradition is a new, not-to-be-missed event.

Yes, it’s that good.

And, yes, I craftily devised a way to get some help while making memories because… that’s what I do.

There really is something about working shoulder-to-shoulder with the people you love that generates more consideration, tolerance, and joy.

So here’s to new family traditions that heat up kitchen, the palate, and the heart.

Family Secret Salsa

{What makes this salsa work is that you don’t have to prepare the tomatoes first. There’s no boiling or peeling if you use thin-skinned, Roma or other variety of plum tomatoes. Everything is simply whirled in a food processor and then cooked, placed in sterile canning jars, sealed, and processed.}

  • 14 quarts fresh plum tomatoes, washed and cored
  • 14 big garlic buds, chopped
  • 6 cups chopped onions
  • 4 cups chopped green peppers
  • 7 jalapeno peppers (seeds removed and chopped – leave the seeds in if you want more heat)
  • 4 yellow/green Anaheim or Big Jim peppers (seeds removed and chopped)
  • 1 carrot, peeled cut in thirds with the ends removed
  • 3 teaspoons leaf oregano
  • 3 tablespoons cumin
  • 8 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 9 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons plain salt (non-iodized)
  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper
  • 1- 7 oz can green chilis

In small batches, use a food processor to pulse tomatoes, onions, garlic buds, carrot, and peppers to a desired consistency. We prefer a chunk-free salsa.

Place pureed mixture in a large {20 quart or larger} stock pot. Do not use an aluminum or copper pot.

Add oregano, cumin, oil wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and the can of green chilies to the mixture in the pot.

Mix everything together, cooking on medium-high heat for at least 3 hours or until the salsa has been reduced by about 1/3 in volume. Stir frequently.

When done, put the salsa in hot pint jars, add lids, and rings. Let the jars rest for about five minutes before processing in a hot water bath or steam canner. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for processing.

We always save some of the salsa from the pan to put in a bowl and eat warm with tortilla chips. Then it’s on to the next batch!

-Fills approximately 20 pint jars

Now it’s your turn. share your favorite family traditions with us.

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Christine Bowman
Firecracker. That’s how my husband described me when we first met. I like to think that it was a compliment pertaining to my penchant for high-energy go-go. I am the token baby boomer in this group. The one who is stalling when it comes to elastic waistband pants and evenings in the recliner. This fearless desire to roam the earth started quite early, when as a toddler, my father would nail my bedroom door shut so that I wouldn’t head out in the wee morning hours going door-to-door in search of breakfast or a toy. True story. Today, our beautiful life consists of an empty-nested, second marriage, 10 children, 13 grandchildren, and a yen for travel and discovery. I ski. He golfs. And together we play tennis and work on creating memories and traditions that bind our collective hearts together. After years of shopping center marketing, ad agency ownership, and some social media giddy up for the education and medical esthetic industry, I’ve learned that I am most at home sharing my love for a good story and the next adventure.
Christine Bowman

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