Do you ever just experiment with recipes? With canning, I have to be exact on the canning directions, and if I want jelly or jam, I pretty much have to follow the recipe. You can't imagine how hard this is for me! Even my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe from Quaker gets messed with. I simply can't help the what if scenarios!
So it's no surprise that I messed with several recipes to come up with one for the peach-pineapple salsa. I didn't have fresh pineapple or peaches. I didn't have freeze-dried ones, either. So I went to the food storage to see if I had canned ones, and I did! Here's the recipe I came up with, and the salsa is fabulously good!
It is a sweet salsa, and not at all hot, because you can see there are no peppers in the recipe. If you want hot. Add one or two jalapeno peppers, or if you are crazy, try habanero peppers. If I'd had any orange or yellow bell peppers left after the sweet pepper salsa, I'd have added those, but I didn't so this is what I did.
1 large can crushed pineapple, well drained
1 large can peach slices, well drained
30-35 medium tomatoes, skinned (a few were on the small side)
2 medium sweet onions (I used Vidalia, but Texas Sweets or whatever is available)
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. honey (I used Tennessee honey)
1 T. salt
1 t. favorite pepper (mine is a red/white/green/black combo)
garlic and cilantro to taste
1. Prepare your canner, jars and lids. Jars should be pre-heated in warm water in canner, lids should kept in simmering (not boiling) hot water, and screw bands should be room temp so you can handle them.
2. In large stainless steel or enamel soup pot (at least 6 quarts) combine peaches, pineapple and diced or chopped tomatoes. Small is not necessary, but slices are too big. Bring to a boil and back off heat a little so it simmers.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and spices. Cook, stirring frequently, until it thickens. Do NOT put a lid on it! It will never boil down if the steam can't escape, so put the hood fan on and let it simmer. If it sticks to the bottom, do NOT scrape. You'll wind up with small burned bits. That's not a disaster, since you can pick them out later, but it's easier not to.
4. Depending on how well drained and how juicy the tomatoes, it will take 5 to 30 minutes, possibly longer, to get to salsa consistency. When it does, leave it simmering on the stove, and ladle salsa into jars, one at a time. It's very helpful to have the wide-mouth jar funnel that comes with most water bath canners, or can be bought in a set of utensils for canning. It keeps the mouth of the jar cleaner and keeps the salsa from spilling over the outside of the jar.
5. As you ladle into each jar, fill to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar, then remove ladle and use a paper towel or old, soft towel to wipe the lid are which will come in contact with the sealing lid.
6. Get the sealing lid on quickly, and screw a ring on. Do NOT tighten too much. Just hand tighten the ring. It isn't there for eternity, just while canning and cooling. Then it can be removed, though it doesn't have to be.
7. Place jars in canner, either in a basket or on a rack that keeps them off the bottom of the pot. Something comes with a canner for this purpose. Make sure the jars are covered by at least an inch of water. Put the lid on and bring the pot to a boil. After it starts to boil, start timing. I did mine at 20 minutes, though 15 is often recommended for salsa recipes. However, some of the recipes had 20 minutes, and since I was winging it, I decided to be safe and make it 20.
8. Turn off heat, remove lid and let sit at least 5 minutes. I usually go for a little longer. If you have a basket that will sit on the side of the canner and not fall back in, then pull up the basket and let it sit to cool another 5 minutes.
9. Lay a towel out on your counter top. You do NOT want the hot jars to come in contact with the cooler counter top. Lift jars with a jar lifter to avoid burns. Try not to tilt the jars. Don't worry about water on top of the jar. It will evaporate, and if it doesn't, you can dry it later. Line jars up on toweling, with space around every jar.
10. Almost immediately, you should hear the lovely ping of sealing jars, one after another. Some people call it a pop, but it's a ping to me. =)
Leave the jars alone for 24 hours. Don't touch them, no matter how tempting. It may feel cool on the outside, and the inside is still warm.
Yield: about 12 half-pints or 6 pints.