Makes 8 Pints of Picante Sauce
A whole lot of our heirloom tomatoes and peppers go up in the freezer for later use.It gives me so many more options for cooking and canning as I need them. There are a few things however that I will go ahead and can up while the harvest is plentiful. Picante Sauce is one of those things, because, frankly we love the stuff. I put up enough in hopes of lasting the whole year through. For Mr. Garden and myself only, that would be 2 pints a month easy. So I like to plan a few extras for some family gifts as well.
Luckily, here in Texas we have a second growing season for tomatoes and peppers. What is awesome about that is the canning opportunities to achieve some different flavors. I grow several different varieties of heirloom tomatoes and peppers in the summer garden and usually have plenty of onions and garlic harvested as well. Also the herbs in the summer time can be different than what I have growing in the fall garden. One of our favorite herbs available as the weather cools in the fall garden is Cilantro. This is an excellent herb for adding to the Picante Sauce. So what I can in summer will have different flavors than what I can in fall.
The Promise of fresh Onions and Cilantro
Of course we love our Picante Sauce good and hot here. But there is a little secret for adjusting the heat of your recipe by measuring the peppers correctly. A good rule of thumb is to separate your hot peppers from the sweet peppers when harvesting to can. In my recipe it calls for 4 cups of peppers. Use one cup of hot peppers for mild, two for medium and three cups for hot. The peppers can be from whatever you are growing. Right now we have an abundance of Serrano Peppers for our hot ones and tons of Shisito Peppers, which are a mild Asian pepper. We also have some bells, Italians and a heirloom called Bullnose that are all sweet peppers. Most of our Jalapenos and other varieties will be grown in the fall garden.
Makes 8 Pints
1/2 gal. chopped heirloom tomatoes
4 cups minced onions (I used Red)
4 cups finely chopped peppers, seeds removed
1 cup 5% white pickling vinegar
3 tbsp. pickling salt
1 tbsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp. fresh ground mustard seed
1/2 cup sugar
Other herb choices according to season and taste (Optional) Suggestions: Cilantro, Oregano, Cumin, Garlic, Celery, Marjoram
1. Sterilize jars in large enamel canning pot. Once the water is boiling, turn it off, but keep the lid on. This will keep your jars hot for filling with your ingredients. It also cuts down on the time for heating it back up for processing. Sterilize caps and bands in a small separate no reactive pot. Just barely bring the water to the beginning of a boil and cut the heat off. Let them soak until your ready to use them.
2. Bring all ingredients to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Place the cap and band on the jars. Process in Hot Water Bath for 10 minutes. Makes 8 pints.