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An Embarrassment of Tomatoes: Mango Salsa

I like tomatoes. I am currently overwhelmed with tomatoes.

So, today I thought I’d share my Mango Salsa recipe. It is delicious: sweet but not cloying, with a nice heat. It makes a lot. It is easily customizable to your spice level, which is great because I like things on the spicy side. You can freeze this salsa very successfully. And most importantly, it uses a lot of tomatoes!

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Living in an arid part of Colorado, I was lucky to get a bowl of two of Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes from our plants over the course of the summer. Plants would die. Plants would get too hot. Or too cold. Or shredded during hailstorms.

Last fall, we moved to a rural property in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio. This was my chance, I thought gleefully. At last, we can have a great, productive garden! I lovingly started my seeds. By mid-May, I had 25 robust tomato seedlings of multiple varieties. (Diversify! I thought. When you get that predictable die off, surely something will make it through!)

I planted the seedlings in the new garden. Everything grew. Every. Single. Seedling. Even one that had broken off at the base (thanks to a large night intruder) that I ended up sticking hopefully back in the ground, returned phoenix-like to robust health. I was awed. And slightly terrified.

It is now September, and the plants are six feet tall and still putting out flowers. I have an embarrassment of tomatoes. Juliettes. Paisanos. Big Beefys. Brandywines. Sun Golds. Sweet 100s. I am hauling pounds of tomatoes into the kitchen every other day. I have been making tomato sauce and salsas for weeks. I am dreaming about tomatoes. I am exhausted by tomatoes. On the off chance any of you are experiencing similar tomato angst, I thought I would share our Mango Salsa recipe.

 

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Ingredients:*

10 good-sized Roma tomatoes. Peeled, seeded, and cored. (Don’t worry: I’ve got some tips for you.)

1 bag (16 oz) frozen mango chunks cut into bite-sized pieces – or use fresh mango. I was just sick of chopping things up. Fresh mango frankly seemed overwhelming.

2 bell peppers – red or green, chopped

½ cup red onion, chopped

2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped. Or more.

¼ cup fresh lime juice

Big handful of cilantro, chopped

1 cup brown sugar

2 cans tomato paste

2 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

* Kick up the base recipe any way you like. I add roasted Anaheim chiles (yes, from our garden!) for a little more heat and depth. I also like adding extra garlic or roasting a head of garlic and using that instead.  Remember, with those roasted peppers, peel their blistered skins off before adding them to your salsa! Want it less sweet? Reduce the brown sugar.

How to Make It:

Deal with your tomatoes first. Believe it or not, my Paisanos are so firm I can use a vegetable peeler to get just the skin off. I prefer them peeled in my salsa, but it isn’t a requirement, if you don’t mind chewing tomato skins. You have some other options for peeling. If you want to fire roast on the grill or oven roast them, that also works like a charm. I have used both fresh and roasted tomatoes successfully with this recipe.

Peeling tomatoes

For oven roasting: Heat the oven to 450F. Cut the tomatoes in half and core and seed them. Place the tomatoes cut side down in a rimmed baking pan, like a jelly-roll pan. Bake for 30 minutes. The tomato skins will turn a little brown and crinkle up off the flesh. Remove from the oven and cover the pan – ideally with another jelly roll pan. Let them steam for 10 minutes. This will help loosen the skins. Lift off the top cover and just pull the skins off the tomatoes. Voila! Roasting gives the tomatoes a great flavor, as well.

Or you can do it by blanching: cut a small X in the bottoms of the tomatoes. Drop them in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds to a minute. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and put them immediately into a bowl of ice water. You’ll be able to peel off the skins with your fingers.

Don’t waste those skins – add them to your compost pile! We’ve got a kitchen compost bin that works great. No smell. No fruit flies. We add our veggie scraps and then take it out to the compost pile every day or so.  Found it on Amazon: Top Rated Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin 1.3 Gallon-Includes Charcoal Filter.

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Once you’ve got the tomatoes peeled, cored and seeded, add them to a large pot along with all the other ingredients above. Yes, just add everything to one pot.

Stir to mix your ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to an hour until everything is tender. About half-way through cooking, taste and adjust your seasonings. Add more peppers if it still isn’t spicy enough for you.

Let it cool completely before putting it in freezer bags. One method that works nicely is to set the freezer bag into a drinking glass, fold back the top, and then fill. That way you don’t get any salsa spilled on the zip-lock part and everything stays mess-free. I put about 2 cups in each quart-size freezer bag, and then lay flat to freeze. I then put the quart bags into a gallon bag for extra freezer protection and to keep the batch together. Label and date your bags.

I’ve kept this salsa in the freezer for three months successfully. It could probably go a lot longer, but we eat a lot of salsa! Enjoy!