It's time to can the first (and probably last) batch of homemade salsa. It looks like it has become an annual summer ritual that happens as soon as there are sufficient tomatoes and peppers for a batch. Slicing tomatoes have been a near failure this year due to the wet weather. At first I thought the tomato plants were infected with blight, but now I believe it is bacterial spot. Blight starts at the tips of the oldest foliage and works its way up the plant. If the plant is growing vigorously it can stay a step ahead. This is different, the infection will show up anywhere on the plant and will destroy the flower stalks as well as the foliage.
Fortunately the Super San Marzano tomatoes were not affected until later in the season. The plants are diseased now but a first bearing of tomatoes was unaffected.
The other major component of salsa are the peppers. I planted one jalapeno plant and a serrano plant. Now this is where it gets tricky with raised beds and limited space. I planted the hot peppers on the north side of the bed, assuming that they would be the tallest peppers. In front of them I planted ancho and New Mexico peppers for chili powder. This year I tried a new variety of ancho from Totally Tomatoes, Mosquetero hybrid ancho. Turns out this is a very vigorous pepper plant, about five feet tall now, and shading the hot peppers much of the day, resulting in puny hot pepper plants. The photo shows the many ancho peppers about half-sized on the plants. Anyway, I had to buy some jalapenos from the store.
Then there are sweet peppers, which I like to grill, de-skin and add to the tomato base. I picked these two Mama Mia Gallo sweet peppers. They and another one in the refrigerator were put on the grill and processed into the salsa. This pepper has great flavor, small amount of seeds, really like it.
In addition the salsa got two Tropea onions, a handful of chopped parsley and 5 ounces of fresh lime juice for acidity. There were about 7 1/2 pounds of paste tomatoes. I was trying for enough salsa to fill 7 pint jars, which is the capacity of the canner. There was enough for 6 1/2 pints, so the half jar was set aside for the refrigerator and a 'dummy' jar set in the center of the canner.
Canning salsa is a lot of work. Slipping the skins off the tomatoes, roasting the peppers and cutting the hot peppers and onions to a fine chop takes a lot of time. It makes those bottles of salsa in the supermarket look like they are well worth four or five dollars.