Hi all! I have been meaning to get this post up for some time now but have just been so busy with my new job! I will update you all on the job and yoga teacher training soon, but for now just want to share my recipe for homemade spicy salsa- care package approved! This recipe is especially great for fellow military spouses who are looking for something different to send to their hubbies overseas!
It is common military spouse knowledge that the guys love getting “sweets-in-a-jar” (cake, brownies, bread, etc.) sent to them overseas. The jar/canning method is an awesome way to keep things fresh while they make the long journey to wherever your deployed loved one is. My hubby definitely enjoyed the cake-in-a-jar (recipe coming soon!) I sent him for his birthday, but overall my husband is more of a salty/spicy guy than a sweet guy (when it comes to food! not life– he is the sweetest man alive :)) This is one area we are definitely different– I love dessert and sweets, the sweeter the better; my husband on the other hand would rather have sushi for dessert, or….salsa! Salsa is his absolute favorite food and the spicier it is, the more he likes it! So… I decided to make some spicy homemade salsa-in-a-jar and send it all the way to Afghanistan so my man could enjoy his favorite food, made with love 🙂
*Disclaimer: This recipe is for a very spicy chunky salsa! (Well according to me, anyways– my husband said it could have been spicier, but he likes his tortilla chips topped with sweat and pain..) You can adjust to your liking by varying what kind and/or the amount of peppers you use.
- 8 to 10 small-medium sized tomatoes ( I got my tomatoes fresh from the local farmers market so they were varying sizes/shapes)
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 green bell peppers, sliced
- 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
- 1 serrano pepper, sliced
- 1 habanero pepper, sliced
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 lime
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 4-5 160z wide-mouth mason jars
1. Remove seeds from the habanero, serrano, and jalapeno peppers and set aside in separate containers (use gloves or a utensil– do NOT use bare hands!!! I made this mistake, and thought my face was going to melt off after I scratched it!). You will add some of the seeds back into the salsa later, but this allows you to adjust the spiciness to your taste.
2. Turn oven broiler on high.
3. Arrange sliced peppers, chopped onion, and chopped garlic onto a foil-covered baking sheet and place under broiler for 5 minutes or until the tops are browned and slightly charred. Turn oven off and set charred veggies aside for now. **I forgot the foil, and my pan retained the heat from the peppers for days! (I had some spicyyyy asparagus that week!) I highly recommend covering your pan– plus it will help char your veggies even more!**
4. Slice your tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add give them a good chop in your food processor. I left the skins on, but you can remove them if you prefer.
5. Transfer tomatoes to a large mixing bowl.
6. Add charred veggies to food processor and give them a good chop.
7. Add processed veggies to the tomatoes and give the mixture a good stir.
8. Add the chopped cilantro and cumin to the tomato/pepper mixture.
9. Squeeze in half of a lime.
10. Now is when you can adjust the salsa to your spicy preference. It will already be quite spicy at this point, even without the seeds, so this might be enough spice for you (it was for me)! I canned two jars of the salsa without any seeds added. Like I said though, for my husband the spicier the better, so I added just a small bit of seeds from each of the peppers to the rest of the mixture and canned two more jars of spicier salsa (marked with an X). Add a teeny bit of seeds at a time and taste test– it won’t take much to get super spicy! **Again– use gloves or a utensil when handling seeds!!**
Now your salsa is done and you are ready to jar it up! Leave a little bit of space between the lid and the salsa (i.e. don’t fill the jar to overflowing.) *I recommend boiling the flat parts of the metal lids (not the screw-on part) for 5 minutes and then sealing them straight from the boiling water- I think it makes for a tighter seal, but I may just be nuts. Use tongs to transfer the flat piece onto the jar (as it will be hot!) and then screw the lids on tightly. You will hear a small pop after a few minutes which will tell you your lids are sealed and ready for shipping!
PACKAGING FOR SHIPMENT OVERSEAS:
Once your jars are filled and sealed, place each into a large ziploc bag and then bubble wrap tightly! You will want lots of padding for each jar and you will want to pack them tightly together. This way they don’t bounce around and are less likely to break on their trip overseas. I used a medium flat rate box and packed in 5 jars of salsa. None of the jars broke (hooray!) but despite all my best efforts at sealing the jars, my husband did tell me that some of them were leaking a bit due to the pressure changes throughout travel. This is why I added putting each jar into a ziploc bag before individually bubble wrapping them, just to help with any potential leaks! It won’t be the prettiest package upon arrival, but I’m certain your loved one won’t mind once they realize what it is 🙂
I sent tortilla chips along in a separate box. I was able to fit two bags into another medium flat rate box. However, as I’m sure my fellow milspouses know, the mail to AFG is rather finicky, so my husband got the salsa about a week before the chips arrived. That didn’t stop him and the other marines from digging right in though! They improvised 🙂
My hubby was so excited about this special treat and I was so happy he was able to enjoy his favorite food! He has already asked me to make a weekly salsa shipment to him– so I plan to experiment with some other salsa variations, and will be sure to share them with all of you!
Whether you are eating this salsa yourself, or sending to a lucky loved one, I hope you ENJOY!! 🙂