Why settle for second best when you can have your very own homemade salsa? Chef Blondie has known the answer to that question for years. In her Test Kitchen, she demands that you never, ever settle for second best. And that is why I challenged her to show me that she could devise a homemade salsa mix recipe that would satisfy the palate and bring joy to a family gathering.
As you may remember in the post How to Make Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix, Chef Blondie accepted my challenge. She allowed me to observe the soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen Staff in action. I recorded how they assembled and combined the ingredients for the salsa mix. Then, I observed the preparation and canning of the salsa. Finally on July 30th, I participated in the debut family taste test. – In all respects, Chef Blondie surpassed my expectations!
Making this Salsa Recipe Your Own
Dear Reader, it is up to you to make this recipe your own. If you enjoy salsa with chips, use it in taco salad, or combine it with any number of Tex-Mex recipes, then you should print this recipe and start using it right away.
Remember, this recipe is based on a mix of ingredients. You can change ingredient measurements to suit your individual tastes. That is what Chef Blondie has done. – If it worked for her, it certainly can work for you.
Please note that the recipe provided here contains four separate sets of instructions. The first set is the most important. It describes how to prepare the salsa itself using the Farmhouse Salsa Mix and a few other ingredients.
The next three sets of instructions explain three different ways of storing the salsa: in the refrigerator, in the freezer, and long-term storage by processing and canning. – The choice of methods is yours.
1. Level of the homemade salsa challenge
Because the Farmhouse Salsa Mix is already prepared and ready to go, the challenge on preparation day is minimal. Yes, you must scald, skin, core, and chop the tomatoes. And yes, you may have to mince some garlic, but these are but minor tasks.
2. Selection of good-quality salsa ingredients
It’s up to you to source good tomatoes. They can be fresh, frozen, or canned. In fact, when the Test Kitchen conducted this test, Chef Blondie used both fresh and frozen tomatoes.
3. Use of cooking and canning techniques
The Test Kitchen Staff is renowned for their adherence to the best kitchen practices. Cleanliness and technique are the watchwords for all when they conduct a test. On this test day, the staff was doubly aware of their practices because they knew I, Persnickety Pierre, had my eye on them. – Their every move was the epitome of high culinary art.
4. Development of superior salsa taste and flavor
There is only one way to be sure that you have developed superior salsa taste and flavor – hold an open and honest taste test. And so, a taste test was held in the kitchen of Daughter #2. (You might recall that she received two Persnickety Pierre’s Paw of Excellence Awards – See the post here.) The official judges were Daughter #2 and Son-in-Law #2. I also tasted the salsa, but I recused myself because of my close association with the SFH Test Kitchen.
5. Presentation of homemade salsa & the judges’ decision
Immediately upon our arrival, Daughter #2 quickly set a tasting table. She was quite wise in using cup-shaped chips. They are perfect for getting just the right amount of salsa with each chip. – Then the kitchen went totally silent. The tasting had begun.
I dare not attempt to repeat the compliments or describe the sounds which happy tasting judges make when they encounter a salsa that truly matches their high expectations. Let me merely state two things. First neither official judge had anything but praise for the salsa. Next, when Chef Blondie said the she would take the salsa jar and remaining contents home with her, both of the judges quickly and quite adamantly said that the salsa would stay with them.
So, there you have it! Chef Blondie accepted my challenge. And because she did, two happy tasting judges, the entire SFH TK Staff, and I, Pierre LeChat, are much happier people now.
Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa
- 6 lbs. fresh tomatoes (about 18 medium) - substitute frozen or canned tomatoes; 6 cans (14.5 oz each) petite diced regular or low sodium tomatoes, undrained
- 3.8 oz Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix mild, medium, or hot depending on which option was selected when preparing the salsa mix
- ½ cup White Distilled Vinegar (5% acidity) or cider vinegar (5% acidity)
- Wash tomatoes. Scald for 3 minutes in boiling water
- Dip into cold water.
- Cut out cores. Remove skins. Chop tomatoes coarsely. This should yield about 10 cups tomatoes. If using canned tomatoes, do not drain liquid.
- Combine tomatoes, white distilled vinegar and Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix in a large non-reactive saucepan. Do not use aluminum.
- Bring mixture to a boil. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Your Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa is ready!
Immediate Use Instructions
- Pour into containers and let cool. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Store covered in refrigerator up to 1 week.
- Pour into freeze-safe containers and let cool. Store covered in freezer up to 1 year. Store thawed product in refrigerator up to 1 week.
- Prepare home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer's instructions for sterilized jars.
- Pour hot salsa into clean hot pint canning jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rip and cap each jar as it is filled.
- Process jars for 40 minutes* in boiling water bath canner. Turn off heat, carefully remove canner lid, and let jars stand for 5 minutes in canner. *Processing time listed is for altitudes less than 1000 feet. At altitudes of 1000 feet or more, increase processing time 1 minute for each 1000 feet of altitude.
- Remove jars. Let jars sit undisturbed to cool at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
- Test jars for airtight seals according to manufacturer's directions. If jars do not completely seal, refrigerate and consume within 1 week. Use shelf-stable product within 1 year.