|The Frozen Chosen|
The good news is I probably will not have to make salsa for the rest of this year or next, as I now have about 5 cases of the stuff stashed. The bad news is... well, we shall see what the bad news is.
I mentioned before, though perhaps only in the comments, that I'm not a big believer in scalding tomatoes to remove their skins before making salsa or sauce or whatever. The ritual of dunk it in boiling water then dunk it in ice water then try to peel off the skin is hard on the hands if not the nerves. The cool tomatoes cool the boiling water and the boiling tomatoes melt the ice and it's just a huge pain in the knuckles and takes too long anyway.
Instead, what I do is freeze the tomatoes, then let them partially thaw. As they thaw from the outside in, the skin is ready to slip off while the inside is still frozen, which reduces the mess all around. Cut one end, slide the skin off, then coarse chop the insides and drop them into the pot for cooking. It's easy.
A little something I've never had before can be seen in the bottom of the middle three jars: a little more than a half-inch of water, separated from the rest of the salsa. It only happened in a few jars, and only in the first batch. It won't be hard to fix**, but it did make me wonder how it happened.
My current guess is this: I used a lot more Beefsteak tomatoes this year than normal (they're the big ones in the picture). And Beefsteaks tend to have a lot more liquid in them than the smaller Romas. Now, normally I drain off whatever water is there before I pop the batch onto the stove: it makes for a thicker salsa in the end. But because the Beefsteaks were still mostly frozen, I failed to drain off that fluid, which then ended up in the salsa, which then separated out during the canning.
That's why -- I'm guessing again -- it only occurred in the first batch. By the time the second batch hit the stove, everything had thawed so the water could be properly drained away.
Perhaps we'll have a re-test next year to verify that theory, or perhaps not. As much as I like Beefsteak for huge and heavy harvests, they're really just more full of water than other tomatoes.
So as of now I'm only planning to plant Romas.
But that can all change with nothing more than a late, Roma-killing frost.
* I recall some fever dreams and my rectum catching fire, but little else.
** Once the jar is finally opened some time in 2019, just shove a long spoon down one side, push the good stuff aside and drain the bad stuff out. Like a big, infected pustule, only tastier.