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Thursday, September 2, 2010

decisions,decisions,decisions

       It's 6:30 on a Thursday evening....Wheel of Fortune has just started and I'm not incredibly motivated to make dinner. A quick glance to the top of the fridge,I see the bag of Fritos on top of the fridge.Yum Fritos. Ooohhh some sort of dip to go with my chips.
 Oh! and a beer that would be lovely.Got my beer,now back to the decision about some sort of dip...hmmm how about some salsa. Oh gosh which salsa to choose,well here are my choices.
(Let's not kid ourselves,it's come back to canning again,but hey fresh tomato salsa in the middle of winter! I'm totally down for it,bring on the snow)
 I have made and canned two different kinds of run-of-the-mill,ol' fashioned,classic tomato salsa. You can buy at the grocery store spice packets to mix in with peeled,cored and chopped tomatoes,cook it for a little bit and ta-da,you have salsa. Now you can chill the salsa in the fridge and then enjoy it a day or so later. The other option is to can it and enjoy it at a later date further down the line,say when it's 32 degrees outside and the only tomatoes available don't taste so great,then it will be pretty-darn-special tomato salsa!
The choices are: Ball brand salsa mix

Or....Mrs. Wages salsa mix.
  Both of the packages had easy-to-follow ingredients lists,clear directions and and options on when to enjoy your fresh tomato salsa. You can either eat it now,freeze it ( I know right,who knew) or can the the fresh tomato goodness and enjoy it in six months when the Wheel is on tv and you're hungry.
 The ingredients and directions for both were pretty much the same:
Ball: Ingredients- 5 14.5 oz can petite-diced tomatoes or 4 lbs fresh tomatoes(yields 9 cups-peeled,cored and diced) and spice packet
        Directions- Combine the tomatoes and contents f the spice packet in  a medium saucepan.
                           Heat to a boil,reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
                           To eat now: cool to room temperature,about 30 minutes,before serving.Or can it: prepare you canner,jars and lids. Ladle hot salsa into prepared jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace,remove air bubbles,wipe rim,center lid and secure ring until fingertip tight. Process in boiling water canner for 35 minutes.
Mrs. Wages : Ingredients-6lbs fresh tomatoes (about 18 medium-peeled,cored and diced) or 6 cans (14.5 oz can petite-diced tomatoes),1/2 cup white or cider vinegar,and Mrs. Wages' medium salsa mix packet
                      Directions- Combine tomatoes,vinegar and spice packet in a large pot and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally ,reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and salsa is ready! The same storage options apply; serve after it's cooled to room temperature,freeze it in freezer containers or can it (the folks at Mrs. Wages instruct you to process the jars for 40 minutes,5 minutes longer than the Ball instructions say,40 minutes is fine too).
    The one extra I added into both salsa batches was hot peppers and garlic. Now don't freak out here it wasn't a ton of hot pepper even though it is known I like spicy stuff,I added just enough to give it a little kick and the garlic rounded out the flavors in the whole thing.
    Ok so I'm sure you're asking yourself... which salsa did she choose. I actually chose the Ball brand BECAUSE it was in the fridge and ready to eat. Both recipes made at least 5 pints and well let's say I'm putting a jar of Mrs. Wages in the fridge here soon to enjoy next week with some Fritos,a cold beer and Wheel of Fortune. Oh what a life,enjoy!
                                    

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