Hot Cha Cha!

Spent a little time this morning scouting the Civ for half-pint canning jars (none), and then digging up a few from elsewhere.  In the end, I had to buy a new case of jars–could only find the twelve ounce jelly jars and not the half-pints.

Here’s my “secret weapon” for sauces:

Victorio Strainer

Victorio Strainer

It has about ten parts to wash, but it makes quick and neat work of fruits and veggies.  You don’t have to core or cook softer fruits first (like ripe tomatoes), though with this taco sauce recipe I did because it contained lots of peppers and big chunks of garlic.

The strainer has several screens–salsa, pumpkin, berry, tomato/apple–so you can have more of a chunky sauce or a puree.  It directs the seeds and skins out one side, and the sauce down a wide chute.  You can push the chute upward, so it doesn’t drip when you’re dumping the full bowl of puree into a separate pot.

Taco Sauce

Taco Sauce

In the end, I’ve got six jars of hot taco sauce of different sizes.  I’m going to keep more of this sauce than I did last year–I ran out much too soon.  It’s hotter than last year, too–I left all the seeds in the hot peppers.

Recipe is basically a sinful of mixed hot and sweet peppers and tomatoes (about 2/3 peppers and 1/3 tomatoes) plus a head of garlic.  Wash the veggies, cut them in big chunks, put it all in a pot and cover.  Cook on medium-low til everything is soft.  Cool.

Run the soft mixture through a strainer, then reduce by about 1/3 to 1/2.  Add 1/2 cup sugar, a tablespoon of salt, and one cup of distilled white vinegar.  Heat just to a boil.  Fill sterilized jars, leaving about 1/4-1/2″ headroom, and boiling water bath process for ten minutes.

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