Using mixes for salsa a gamechanger | Taste

My family loves Mexican food. One of the best things about Mexican restaurants is the salsa and chips they offer before the order is ready.

Salsa has now become the most common condiment for Americans. It can be found in 80% of our homes. Normally preparing salsa involves chopping several different ingredients — tomatoes, onions, cilantro, green peppers, hot peppers and garlic along with adding various spices. The prep work involved with these ingredients can be time consuming.

But if you want a quicker way to prepare salsa purchase a package of Mrs. Wages Salsa Tomato Seasoning Mix. Using Mrs. Wages mixes you will only add two other ingredients; fresh or canned tomatoes and white distilled vinegar.

Using Mrs. Wages mix is not only a time saver, but it is also a money saver. I bought my mix from Price Less Foods in Elizabethtown. I caught the package mixes on sale for only $1.27 per package.

Mrs. Wages Salsa mixes can be purchased in mild, medium or hot salsa packages.

Using these mixes and the information from foodinjars.com means you can prepare and serve immediately, keeping any extra stored covered in the refrigerator for up to one week. This salsa can be frozen in freeze-safe containers up to one year.

I chose to home can my salsa, which if properly canned, can be kept on a shelf for up to one year.

The ingredients needed to prepare this salsa are six pounds of fresh tomatoes (about 18 medium tomatoes) or six cans of petite diced tomatoes, ½ cup of white distilled vinegar, and one pouch of Mrs. Wages Tomato Salsa Mix of your choice — mild, medium or hot.

I used fresh tomatoes because they are ripe right now. We have both yellow and red tomatoes. I combined the two types.

If you choose to use fresh tomatoes, wash them first. Scald them for three minutes in boiling water. Dip them immediately into cold water to remove the peelings. Cut out the cores, remove the skins and chop coarsely.

You should have about 10 cups of chopped tomatoes. If you are using the petite diced canned tomatoes from the grocery store, do not drain the juice.

Combine the tomatoes, white distilled vinegar and the salsa mix in a 6-quart pot. Do not use an aluminum pot as the acid in the tomatoes will react causing the pot to turn dark.

Bring this mixture to a boil stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Simmering means that the mixture is just below the boiling point. Unless you plan to can your salsa, it is ready.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

If you plan to can your salsa, prepared the home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer’s instructions for sterilized jars. Pour the hot salsa into the jars leaving ½ inch headspace.

Remove the air bubbles and wipe the rim of each jar with a clean damp cloth. Add the lids and rings, but not too tight. Process the jars for 40 minutes in boiling water using a bath canner.

When finished processing, lift the jars from the canner and set on a clean towel in an area free from drafts for 12 to 24 hours. If any jars do not completely seal, refrigerate and consume the salsa within one week. Be sure to label and date the jars.

Your salsa can be eaten as is or used as a cheese dip by adding one pound of pasteurized process cheese to 1¼ cups of prepared salsa.

Melt the cheese first and then add it to the salsa and mix well. Serve with your favorite chips or vegetables.

Try adding some of this salsa to your favorite chili recipe for an extra kick of flavor.

Making your own salsa means you can enjoy chips and salsa anytime you want. My husband loves to add this salsa as a topping for his omelets. I think you will become a fan of Mrs. Wages mixes as I found them to be a game changer.

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