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Your spice blend for home-canned salsa

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The salsa we make every year (Jean Pare, Company's Coming) is excellent, but I'm looking for some variation in flavour this year. I'm told that the spices (and sugar) can be safely adjusted in the recipe:

"Spices and herbs add unique flavoring to salsas. The amounts of dried spices and herbs in the following recipes (black pepper, salt, dried oregano leaves, and ground cumin) may be altered or left out. For a stronger cilantro flavor in recipes that list cilantro, it is best to add fresh cilantro just before serving instead of adding more before canning" --from the Nat. Center for Home Food Preservation.

Do you have a favourite tweak or blend of spices that you use in your salsa? The ncfhfp recipe I'm considering is:

7 qts peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes (Roma tomatoes)
4 cups seeded, chopped long green chiles
5 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup seeded, finely chopped jalapeño peppers
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups bottled lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp ground cumin (optional)
3 tbsp oregano leaves (optional)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro (optional

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  1. Wow...that's a lot of salsa. First, I do not make salsa in great quantities because I don't cook the salsa. I use more than one variety of chile as do you, usually a combination of jalapenos and habanero or ghost pepper (bhut jolokia). No black pepper is added. The rest of the ingredients are the same as you cite.

    The salsa is usually eaten with blue corn chips. I use a spoon to eat the salsa and bite into the corn chips after putting the salsa in my mouth. It is easier that way with less mess.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChiliDude

      Yeah, this isn't the fresh, pico de gallo type condiment. My good friend and I do about 5 batches of the above to feed our families---it's more like Pace Picante Sauce than salsa.

      However, it's homegrown, awesome on taco chips, and easy to pack along. I pour a jar into pinto beans as I finish cooking them, use a jar each time I make chili, layer it in 7-layer dip, use it as the base for sloppy joes....it's pretty versatile.

      I'd just like more variation.....maybe a chipotle version, or a richer mix of spices.

      1. re: applgrl

        My twist for richer,more complex pepper flavor is habenero.I don't cut it up and leave it in,just pierce one or two tiny holes and stir in.First flavors released are fruityness unique to habeneros and ghost peppers and the heat comes on in slow stages.Tasting as you go is important.Getting them out before it's too hot is important here.None of us like the numbingly hot that can happen.
        Removal ease,I needle one or more on a string rather than work to go find them.
        Another thing that makes a difference here is fresh lemons and or limes.I juice them to the max,remove the seeds and drop all in.The zest really does contribute a lot.You can get by with 1.5 cups of juice this way.
        A friend has a great chipotle recipe that would be easy to work into your base recipe.I will get the portion changes from her.You have a good,versatile base to work from.

    2. When all is said and done the cilantro will just fade out.The advice to add fresh at when serving is the way to go.

      A resource you may like;The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving:Firefly Books
      Eleanor Topp & Margaret Howard ........most recent incarnation 2007,?2011

      original incarnation The Complete Book of Year-Round Small-Batch Preserving 2001
      much of which came from Put a Lid on It - 1997 and More Put a Lid on It - 1999

      1. Instead of the salt use Campbells Beef bullion. Start with 1/2 can, taste and go from there. Seems like an awful lot of lemon juice, no?