I am getting better at batch processing food for canning. There was a nice swing of chop-boil-mill going on yesterday Apples are on sale here so we went to our local produce market and stocked up with 37 pounds of galas, pink lady, braeburns, fujis, and honey crisps. I was going for 50 pounds, but stopped when the box they gave us was getting pretty full. Good thing too, my sink can’t hold any more!
I made a previous post detailing how I make applesauce and apple butter, so see that if you want instructions. I filled up the crock pot for butter, and jarred the rest. In all 37 pounds of apples produced a full crock pot (4 quarts of sauce -> 10 half-pints of butter) and 7 quarts of applesauce (a very full stock pot!). This is a good size because my crock pot was full, and my canner only holds 7 quart jars. Next time I have a weekend at home I can use a few sauce jars to make more butter. Hooray for fall!
Based on my previous few attempts I am producing 1 quart of sauce for just under 3 pounds of apples. 50 pounds would get me a full crock pot and two rounds of quart jars in my canner. That would be a full afternoon!
Let me start by saying that I love salsa. It can be a wide variety of things with different techniques, ingredients, and styles. I have experimented a bit with different versions of salsa and wanted to document a few key ways to make it. First off, Pico De Gallo is delicious, but not what I am going for. Pico is with fresh, uncooked, ingredients. I am looking for a cooked salsa that I can can (in a jar) for future use. Fun fact, salsa means “sauce” in spanish!
I am not going to do a lot of ingredient variation in my experiments. I have a set of things that make a good salsa and want to focus more on the salsa making techniques than the ingredients. Specifically how the vegetables are chopped or milled, and how they are cooked. Texture is an important part of eating, and the process of cutting or smashing could release different flavors. Similarly, the cooking method can impart or alter flavors. I am going to break up the different techniques into a table and slowly check off each version, documenting as I go along.
There are really three ways of getting this done as I see it. Chopping by hand, food processor, and food mill. The hand method can provide select sizing of ingredients, and not “mush” anything along the way. It is very slow, and I like a finely chopped salsa. That leaves chopping ingredients via a food processor and a food mill. I have used the food processor with good results, but it can liquify the ingredients too much sometimes. The mill will be new to me, but promises consistency. I will be using this attachment to process the ingredients.
The raw ingredients have to be cooked. I have used two different techniques to cook them. First is to chuck everything into a pot and cook it all down. Easy, effective, and it mingles the flavors. This works well for canning, because you have to heat everything up enough to can it safely. The other way is to sear the ingredients on a hot cast iron skillet before combining. I have done this with out any cook-down, and it yielded great results! This would still require some time in the pot before canning.
I made a 2×2 salsa matrix to show how the combination plays out. Think of it as some sort of salsa round robin challenge. May the odds be ever in your favor!