By Robbie Johnson
Tropical Salsa: Pineapple & Chili Pepper There’s nothing quite like a fresh salsa, vegetable relish, or a spicy homemade chutney to wake up those taste buds and bring out the best in meat, poultry and seafood dishes, not to mention serving as tasty appetizers for those impromptu beach parties and anchorage gatherings. I have a half-dozen favorites that I rotate among, but this pineapple and chili salsa has received such rave reviews over the years that I almost always have a couple of jars in my galley’s pantry. I use only fresh tropical fruit and juices, and I typically process six 8-ounce jars at a time, using my big enameled metal pot that also serves for boiling lobsters and making jambalayas. I explain the simple processing technique below after listing the ingredients, and the same processing method is also used for preparing relishes and chutneys. INGREDIENTS: 4 cups fresh papaya, peeled, seeded and cubed 2 cups fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cubed 1 cup golden raisins 1 cup fresh lemon juice 1/2 cup fresh lime juice 1/2 cup fresh pineapple juice 1/2 cup Anaheim peppers, seeded and chopped 2 tablespoons green onions (scallions), finely chopped 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
PREPARATION: (1) Start with a large soup pot, one big enough that you can sit six 8-oz. Mason jars in the bottom. I have a rack that holds the jars up off the bottom of the pot. Fill each of the jars half-full with water so they won’t float when you pour water into the pot around them. Pour enough water into the pot until the jars are two-thirds covered. Bring the water to a simmer; it is not necessary to boil it for pre-sterilization. The next cooking step is going to kill all bacteria anyway. (2) In a large stainless steel saucepan, mix together the papaya, pineapple, raisins, lemon juice, lime juice, pineapple juice, Anaheim peppers, scallions, cilantro and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring until slightly thickened (about 10 minutes). (3) Remove the hot jars one at a time with tongs and fill them with the hot salsa, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles by poking down the sides with a spatula. Adjust headspace, adding salsa as necessary. Wipe rim with a vinegar-soaked napkin, and center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight. (4) Fill each hot jar in turn, returning the filled jar to the hot water in the pot, finally adding water until all of the jars are completely submerged beneath the water. Cover with lid and bring water to a boil and process for 15 minutes, then cut off heat and remove the pot’s lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove each jar with tongs. (Careful! They’re hot!) Place jars on a towel-covered countertop, and allow to cool. (I usually drape a towel over them so they will cool slowly, unaffected by a draft.) As the jars cool, you will hear a series of sharp “pings” signaling that a vacuum has formed inside the jars. Notice that the lids are now all concave from the vacuum. The processed salsa will keep fresh for months if you can resist eating it for that long! A party appetizer favorite of mine: Serve it with grilled pita bread brushed with olive oil. Robbie Johnson lives aboard a steel Tahiti Ketch and is the author of Gourmet Underway – A Sailor’s Cookbook. Order his book at www.gourmetunderway.com.
News & Views for Southern Sailors
SOUTHWINDS September 2010