One of my favorite times of the year has finally arrived. Hatch Chili Pepper season!. In Hatch, New Mexico the Hatch Chili Pepper is grown and around August/September time they become available in the store. I really enjoy the flavor of the peppers, and I find that they’re best after they’ve been roasted.
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving book has a great Zesty Salsa Recipe. I use Hatch Chili Peppers in place of the the jalapeno or other spicy peppers.
Things you will need:
Tomatoes: Peeled, cored and seeded.
Hatch Chili Peppers
Apple Cider Vinegar
And of course: clean jars, lids and rings
As with any canning recipe the size of the batch can be adjusted as long as you keep the proportions the same. Peppers and onions are low acid vegetables and too many of them will increase the risk of botulism occurring in the salsa. One of the most important ingredients is the vinegar to keep the acidity up to a safe level.
Now Hatch Chili Peppers have an outer skin that is tougher than most peppers. To get the great roasted flavor, and to remove the skin the peppers need to be charred a bit. I normally rinse my peppers and place them on my gas grill for several minutes until the outer skin has started to turn dark and blistered. I like to keep a little heat in my peppers so I throw them on whole without removing the seeds.
Another way to char the peppers is to use the broiler in an oven or to even heat them on a skillet on the stove. The primary goal is to loosen the pepper’s skin.
Salsa Tip: The heat from the peppers comes from the seeds and the veins inside the pepper. To adjust the heat level of your salsa to a lower level just remove some or all of the seeds and scrape the inside of the peppers. It’s very important to wear gloves if you are handling peppers to reduce getting burned. And as always wash with plenty of soap and water if you do get pepper juice on your skin.
To remove the skin from tomatoes bring a pot of water to a boil and then gently drop the tomatoes into the boiling water. After 15-60 seconds most tomatoes will start to show cracks in the skin. At that point remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and place them in a large bowl full of ice water. Leave the tomatoes for a minute or two to cool down and then use your fingers to slip the skins off. At this point you can also use your fingers to remove the core and seeds.
Don’t forget to check on your peppers and turn them as needed. I have forgotten and ended up with some very blackened peppers.
Dice up the garlic, onions, and bell peppers.
Dice up the cored tomatoes, and combine all the ingredients.
Next take the peppers off the grill or out from under broiler once they are done.
Here comes the fun part, removing the outer skin. I have found laying the peppers on a cutting board and using a knife and fork is the easiest way to peel the skins off. I use the dull side of the knife to hold the top of the pepper and then use the tines on the fork to gently remove the charred peeling.
At this point you can also remove or keep the seeds to modify how hot your salsa will turn out.
I kept about half of the seeds for this batch.
Once the peppers are all ready dice them up and add them with the rest of your ingredients in a large pot. Bring the salsa to a full boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened. At that point it’s ready to go into the jars if you want to can it.
Ladle the salsa into each jar with 1/2 inch head space. This will allow enough room for the salsa to vent during the canning process.
Make sure to wipe the rims if any salsa splashes on to the jars.
Place the jars into a water bath canner for 15 minutes at a full boil for half pint jars. Adjust for altitude if needed.
Once 15 minutes have passed turn the heat off and remove the lid. Wait 5 minutes and remove the jars from the water bath canner.
Now yummy delicious hatch chili pepper salsa all year long! This salsa works great with chips, tacos, nachos, or even as a topping on burgers.