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Canning Cactus Salsa

August 24, 2012

Salsa…  simply says summer, doesn’t it?!

With the summer garden in full swing, it was time to can some salsa!  Daja and I combined our ingredients from the garden (she has a ton of cactus and I have chiles coming out my ears!)  We bought tomatoes, onions and cilantro from the farmer’s market, and got to work.  Here’s our recipe and process.

15 lbs Tomatoes
4 Cactus Paddles (Nopales) Thorns removed, paddles washed, and chopped
4 Onions
1 bunch Cilantro
15 – 20 Serrano Chiles, Jalapenoes, Habeneros etc. (This is really dependent on how spicy you like your salsa.  Use more or less depending on your preference.)
1 ½ Tbls Kosher Salt
2 – 4 Limes for juice (To taste.)

Using a glove to hold the cactus, scrape the tiny stickers from the paddles using a sharp knife.

Can you believe these lovely tomatoes from the farmer’s market only cost $1.00 per pound!

Wash the tomatoes well in a sink of cool water.  Then core them and process in a food processor until they are just chunky.

Allow the tomatoes to drain in a fine-mesh strainer.  Then put all the liquid into a pot set over medium heat on the stove.  Bring the tomato juice up to a simmer and cook until the juice is thickened into a sauce consistency.  (We found this added quite a bit of sweetness to our finished salsa.)

Place the onions, peppers and cilantro in the food processor and pulse until chunky; combine with drained tomatoes in a large bowl.

Once you have the tomato juice cooked down pour in the remaining ingredients.  Bring the salsa up to a boil for just 5 minutes; add salt and lime juice to taste.

Ladle the salsa into sterilized jars leaving 1/4-inch of head room.  Wipe the top of the jar clean and put on lid and band.

Put the jars into the hot water bath, careful not to over crowd, and process for 30 minutes.

And here they are.  Little jars of spicy yummy goodness!

(Linked to Carnival of Home PreservingFrugal Days Sustainable Ways, and Wildcrafting Wednesday.)

7 Comments leave one →
  1. knifty mama permalink
    August 24, 2012 3:29 pm

    i totally could have donated the tomatoes!!

  2. August 27, 2012 3:06 am

    This sound yummy! I didn’t realize you could eat the cactus “leaves”/paddles. I knew you could the tunas.

    Thanks for sharing this at the Carnival of home Preserving!

  3. Elizabeth F permalink
    August 27, 2012 1:47 pm

    So what kind of flavor does the cactus add? I am guessing you use it because it indigenous
    to your area? Do you scrounge it? Cultivate it? I have seen in cans here but see no reason to use as not fresh. If it was fresh in store I probably would not buy as not native to this area. We try not to buy fruits and vegetables not local or can’t grow.

    • Daja permalink*
      August 27, 2012 2:08 pm

      Cactus does grow here really well. A lot of people cultivate it in their yards, but only decoratively. Most people I know do not eat it, even though they grow it! It can be purchased at area farmers markets and grocery stores, though.

      It’s one of those super foods that is really high in anti-oxidants and is being researched for it’s cancer fighting properties. Traditionally, it has been used in South America for that purpose. Many traditional healers use it. It’s soooo good for you.

      It has a texture and taste that would be very similar to okra, I suppose.

      • Elizabeth permalink
        September 8, 2012 1:11 pm

        No, I had okra once on a trip to South, did not enjoy it. Did like grits though, with eggs and salt and pepper.

  4. March 23, 2013 9:31 am

    I didn’t know you could make salsa with cactus! It doesn’t really grow around here. I’d love to try it though. Thanks for sharing on Wildcrafting Wednesdays!

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