Home Canned Salsa

SalsaI didn’t even look in the garden before we left for the funeral last week.

In this case – ignorance might have been bliss at the time – but it did leave us with a lot of very ripe tomatoes waiting when we got back!

The really overripe ones went to our red wattle pigs,  Diesel and Ethel. So instead of making spaghetti sauce with them – I guess we made pork. 🙂

The rest we’re working up now.  Next up – another batch of Mendi’s salsa!

I love canning my own salsa!  It costs so little and I can control how much sugar goes into it.

This is the salsa we use to make our very favorite easy black bean soup!

Home Canned Salsa
recipe from my friend Mendi

5 pounds tomatoes
3 cup chopped onions
1 cup jalapeno peppers, diced (this is optional)
1 cup cider vinegar
3-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar (I used even less and nobody noticed!)
1 cup green pepper, chopped
2 teaspoon garlic

Peel and chop the tomatoes into chunks.

Mix all the other ingredients with the tomatoes in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and cook until you get a desired thickness. (If I’m in a hurry – we have a thinner salsa. If I have time, we get a thick rich one.)

Make sure you use a heavy pot and stir often to avoid sticking and burning! (Ask me how I know this!)

Pour into sterilized pint jars, seal and process for 30 minutes  in a boiling water bath.

Remove from the canner and let cool for 24 hours on clean towels on your kitchen counter so that everybody who walks by with be impressed with your homemaking skills!

Enjoy all winter long when garden fresh tomatoes are but a distant memory!

Never Fail Rhubarb Jam

Never Fail Rhubarb Jam

There’s nothing better on a piece of homemade bread than a big spoonful of homemade jam! One of our favorite ones is this never fail rhubarb jam.

The recipe from came from my mother-in-law who clipped it from a newspaper years ago.

It’s so easy to make that it has become one of the first 4H cooking projects my kids take to the fair. It’s received a blue ribbon every time!

Rhubarb Jam

Pick, wash, and cut 5 cups of rhubarb into small pieces.

Add 3 cups of sugar and let sit overnight.

In the morning boil the rhubarb and sugar until tender and the rhubarb falls apart.

Add 1 – 3 ounce package of jello (strawberry, orange, raspberry and cherry all work well).

Stir until dissolved and well-blended.

Pour into sterilized jars and seal with flats and rings. Place in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove and cool. Or you can place the jam into freezer containers and freeze.

This recipe makes 5 half-pints. I have doubled it with no problem.


Mixed Fruit Jam

My Mom (otherwise known as Nana) is my guest blogger today and once again shows us that creativity in the kitchen is the key to frugal living…

Mixed Fruit Jelly

Snow flakes are flying past our window, but melting as they touch the ground. Papa & I decide that today would be a good day to defrost the freezer.

To be honest, the reason we defrost is to be able to get reacquainted with the contents! All summer and fall we bring in produce, pack it in freezer bags and stack it in the freezer.

It is a gold mine that needs to be “dug” out occasionally.

Today we found a small bag of raspberries (the last picking before frost), a small bag of cherries that did not fit in the quart bag after last picking, a container of strawberries from a year ago, and another last of the season bag of rhubarb! On the counter was a basket of home-grown pears that are getting ripe.

Now what do we do with them? How about jam!

We followed the directions in our box of Surejell using an average amount of sugar listed for the fruits we had in the pan. Delicious!

I wonder if that’s why you have “mixed fruit” jelly on the restaurant table? Could it be the last little bit of all the flavors mixed together?

Until next time,


Homemade Ketchup


I’ll admit that I don’t have fond memories of homemade ketchup.

There was one year growing up that my mom decided that since all five of us kiddos loved ketchup, she would use some of her bumper crop of tomatoes to can up a homemade version.

It did NOT go over well. It was runny and didn’t look or taste anything like the kind from the store that made the Heinz family millionaires.

So spending time making homemade ketchup was never on my to-do list.

Until we were enjoying a 4th of July barbecue at the home of some friends. Our kids were scarfing down hot dogs and burgers slathered in ketchup.

My host made the comment that my kids sure loved her homemade ketchup.

Her homemade what? I couldn’t believe that my kids were not only eating, but enjoying homemade ketchup! Come to think of it- so did I.

Needless to say, I left with the recipe and it has been a staple in our home ever since.

I bet Mom is laughing right now.

Homemade Ketchup

4 quarts tomato juice (I run my raw tomatoes through my Victorio strainer*)
3 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups vinegar
1/4 cups canning salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
2 small cans of tomato paste (6 oz. each)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves OR 1 tablespoon whole cloves (Take out after cooked)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon allspice

Mix all of the ingredients together and boil for 1 hour.

Dissolve 3/4 cup of cornstarch in a little cold water. Remove ketchup from heat and add the cornstarch, stirring well. bring back to a boil.

Pack hot into hot jars, seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes.

I always keep some empty ketchup bottles around to pour my homemade version in before I serve it. It’s easier to serve from a squirt bottle and you can fool unsuspecting children and visitors!

*The link is to a similar brand.