Tomato/Tomato Paste Salsa

Yield: About 7 to 9 pints

3 quarts peeled, cored, chopped slicing tomatoes

3 cups chopped onions

6 jalapeno peppers, seeded, finely chopped

4 long green chiles, seeded, chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 (12 ounce) cans tomato paste

2 cups bottled lemon or lime juice

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon ground cumin (optional)

2 tablespoons oregano leaves (optional)

1 teaspoon black pepper

Caution: Wear plastic or rubber gloves and do not touch your face while handling or cutting hot peppers. If you do not wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes.

Preparing peppers: The jalapeno peppers do not need to be peeled. The skin of long green chiles may be tough and can be removed by heating the peppers. Usually when peppers are finely chopped, they do not need to be peeled. If you choose to peel chiles, slit each pepper along the side to allow steam to escape.

Peel using one of these two methods:

Oven or broiler method to blister skins ? Place chiles in a hot oven (400┬░) or broiler for 6 to 8 minutes until skins blister.

Range-top method to blister skins ? Cover hot burner (either gas or electric) with heavy wire mesh. Place peppers on burner for several minutes until skins blister.

To peel, after blistering skins, place peppers in a pan and cover with a damp cloth. (This will make peeling the peppers easier.) Cool several minutes; slip off skins. Discard seeds and chop. Hot pack: Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and heat, stirring frequently, until mixture boils. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle hot into clean, hot pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes.

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