Saturday, 5 October 2013

Salsa Verde - Canning Recipe

Salsa verde - a green salsa made from tomatillos- is one of those delightful foods that has a million different functions. Of course it's a fantastic snack: tangy, spicy and salty, put that on a tortilla chip and it's heaven! But it's also an incredibly versatile cooking ingredient. Especially in this house! It has all of our favourite flavours: lime, cilantro, onions, garlic; how can we not cook with it?

The bright acidic salsa pairs well with so many meals. Use it as a garnish for fattier foods like lamb or beef,  an easy marinade for chicken legs, or just have nachos for dinner already!
The other night Chris made a pastry wrapped pork tenderloin with spicy red peppers and onions and served it over a plateful of salsa verde with a little fresh cilantro. It was over-the-top amazing! The salsa verde was so fresh and tangy, it balanced the richness of the pastry and pork perfectly.

Tomatillos are in season right now! If you're in Toronto, look for them at your local market, but if you can't find them, head over to Kensington Market. That's where we found ours and they cost $1.99 for a pound. The following recipe calls for 2 lbs, but I suggest you double it if you are a lover of salsa verde. The recipe is so simple, it won't take much extra time to prepare twice as much. And once those cute little green fruits are out of season, you won't see them again for another year!

If you're not familiar with tomatillos, they are small spherical green fruits that comes from a plant of the same name. The tomatillo plant is a member of the nightshade family.

A few of my personal observations about tomatillos:
they resemble green tomatoes, they are very sticky once you take the husk off, and they smell absolutely terrible (seriously, it's like a rotten diaper)! Yet, once husked, washed and chopped, the tomatillos smell like fresh tart apples. Weird.

Here is our recipe for Salsa Verde (with canning instructions):


2 lbs about 8 cups tomatillos
2 cups chopped onions
1 -4 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro, minced
4 -8 garlic cloves
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tbsp white sugar
1/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste


After removing husks, halve and then coarsely chop the tomatillos.
Add all the ingredients to a large pot and turn the burner on high. Stir frequently and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature and let the salsa simmer for about 20 minutes. Blend using immersion blender, blender or food processor.

Carefully fill sterilized pint or half-pint jars and process them for 20 minutes using the boiling-water-bath method.

Remove husks

Weigh Tomatillos
Roughly chop

Add all ingredients to pot

Let mixture simmer
Blend salsa

This recipe yields approximately 6 half-pint (250 mL) jars.

If you do not have an immersion blender (see pic to the left) and you decide to blend the salsa in a blender or food processor, simply put the blended salsa back in the pot and bring it back up to a boil before you pour it into your prepared jars.

No need to blend if you like a chunky salsa.

Go grab some tortilla chips and enjoy!

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