Sunday, October 9, 2011

Jalapeno Canned Diced Tomatoes

These jalapeno and garlic enhanced tomatoes are the perfect addition to a multitude of different meals.  I like to use them in my homemade chili and especially in my tortilla soup.  Or, basically in anything that has a Tex-Mex appeal.  They are a great way to add in a ton of rich, ripe, intense flavor.  Since the peppers are left whole and un-pierced, the tomatoes are simply flavored by them and the garlic.  They have no heat at all.  But, if the heat of the jalapeno is what you are wanting along with the flavor, just pierce the pepper to let the seeds do their work.  Then you will have some zesty jalapeno canned diced tomatoes.  To each his own is what I always say.

8 cups of ripe red tomatoes (washed and diced)
4 fresh ripe jalapeno peppers (left whole and unpierced)
4 large garlic cloves (peeled and sliced in 1/2)
4 pint-sized mason jars with rims and lids

-Start your large canning stockpot with water to boil (this takes a while) with the lid on. Once your water is boiling in your canning stockpot, submerge your clean jars, lids and rings into the water and recover with the lid. Boil for 10 minutes to sterilize them, but remember to start timing it once the water returns to a boil. Carefully-using special canning tongs only-remove jars (upright), lids and rings and place onto a towel covered cutting board (so you don't damage your counter tops). Replace the lid back onto the pot to return it back to a boil and maintain that boil. Go ahead and start filling each of the jars with about 2 cups of tomatoes, 1 jalapeno and 2 cloves of garlic (making sure that everything is below the bottom lip of the jar top (this is the 1/4" of 'headspace' required to be left void at the top of the jar, if you do not do this they will explode-seriously). Wipe the tops well with a clean damp rag and very tightly fit on the lids with the rings. Using the canning tongs again, place jars back into the rapidly boiling canning stockpot, along with replacing the lid, to process for 35 minutes. Remove the jars with the canning tongs and place UPSIDE DOWN back onto your towel lined cutting board. Allow jars to cool for about an hour or so, then flip them over to stand upright. Either your lids should already have 'popped' to seal or they will do so when they are flipped at this point. If any of your lids are not popped inward, then somewhere there was a mistake made. These un-popped jars are just fine to eat, but must be refrigerated immediately and eaten within 3 weeks. Otherwise, properly sealed jars may be kept in a cool, dry, dark place like a cabinet or pantry for up to 1 year. Once opened, again they must be refrigerated and eaten within 3 weeks. Makes 4 pint jars. Enjoy!

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