October 19, 2011

Zucchini Salsa

It wasn't a very good summer for our garden. Because of rains last spring, we planted two weeks later than usual. We got early spinach, lettuce and radishes, which was nice for salads, but when we should have been picking ripe tomatoes, we were sitting on the deck wishing for warmer weather and a longer season. We got plenty of zucchini, but not the quantities that we've had in years past, and maybe that's a good thing! It would be nice to have ripe tomatoes to eat all summer long, but it was a ripe one here and an almost ripe one there that my gardener would bring into the house. It didn't take long to eat them up. Our temperatures dipped the second week of this month and we covered the garden at night for a few days, then harvested everything that was left and tilled the garden.
We've been busy making sausage, too. We made 12# of Jalapeno Summer sausage and 15# Cracked Pepper & Garlic Summer Sausage. We use ground venison along with some ground pork and use a kit like this that includes the seasonings and the casings. After the casings are stuffed, into the smoker they go (each log is 3#). These are delicious sliced up and served on crackers with cheese and a glass of wine! 

My kitchen is lined with bowls and bowls of green and pink tomatoes, a few zucchini on the counter and a few small jalapenos and bell peppers. I already made several jars of piccalilli using green tomatoes and went looking for something different. I found Zucchini Salsa at allrecipes.com. Despite thinking "Eww... zucchini in salsa??", it got such rave reviews and I decided to give it a try. It turned out absolutely delicious and you'd never know there was zucchini in it! I'm going to make a few more batches using green tomatoes. We opened a jar at breakfast the other day and by the time we'd finished, half the jar was gone!

We went antelope hunting earlier this month and I got to take some pictures of this beautiful country, which I'd like to share with you. Oh, yes, we got an antelope and I saved the heart and liver, so I'm going to have a couple special posts for those soon. And yes, I've got the Zucchini Salsa recipe for you, but first, a few pictures...
October Sunrise in Montana
Another view of the sunrise
A few cattle.
A few more... my friend, Rhonda told me that there are 3 cows to every person in Montana!
A couple of trees out in the middle of nothing but rolling hills.
It takes a lot of hay to feed all those cattle in the winter!
Old fence posts.
Ok, on to the salsa... this recipe got a 5-star review from 85 people and in reading the reviews, it was no surprise to see that everybody made theirs just a little different, adding this and leaving out that according to their tastes, which is exactly what I did with the original recipe. 

We both loved this salsa, so another couple batches will be made next week. I'll still make a few changes to the recipe below by adding a few more jalapenos and leaving out the tomato paste, which I thought gave the finished salsa too much of a canned tomato taste. I think by leaving it out, we'll end up with a fresher taste.

I plan to do a blog post on canning soon, but there is lots of information to get you started here.

Edit 10/23/11: I made another batch of salsa with the following changes: Omitted green peppers and tomato paste. Used a total of 10 jalapenos with seeds. This made a hot salsa, which we prefer. If you prefer spicy, find that recipe here.

Zucchini Salsa - adapted from Food.com

10 cups peeled and grated zucchini
4 large onions, chopped
4 green peppers, seeded and chopped
¼ cup plus 1 T Kosher salt, divided use
5 large jalapenos, seeded and pureed in food processor
2 T dry mustard
1 T granulated garlic
1 T cumin
2 T red pepper flakes
1 T black pepper
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup lemon juice
5 cups chopped red or green tomatoes
12 ounces tomato paste

Day one: In a large pan combine zucchini, onions, green pepper and ¼ cup salt. Mix well, cover and let stand overnight. Do not refrigerate.

Day two: Transfer vegetables to a colander and let drain for one to two hours. Return mixture to the pan and add pureed jalapenos, mustard, garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes, black pepper, vinegar, lemon juice, 1T salt, tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix all ingredients well.

Cover pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately ladle into sterilized jars and seal. Process in a water bath for 20 minutes (for altitudes between 1000 and 6000 feet).


  1. Mastering Sausage is on my to do list someday! I may be contacting you for tips. Can't wait for a canning post or two. Canned a few pickles for the first time in my life this year, waiting to see how they turn out.

  2. I have been on the edge of my seat waiting for this post. What an interesting salsa recipe. I too have a counter full of pink and green tomatoes and some ripe, I must make a batch of this salsa this weekend. The dry mustard and tomato paste are interesting additions.

    BEEEutiful photos Karen. I love our high plains out here. So much of it looks just like Colorado.

  3. I like the smoker but I like even more the pictures.
    When can I star packing my DH to your town. That is his dream to live there. :)

    You know Karen there is another recipe that uses a few tomatillos and zucchini, with jalapenos.

    And some people in Mexico uses them instead of tomatillos when it is hard to find them to make a green salsa.

    Interesting, right?



  4. The landscape where you live is just gorgeous! And i love that photo of the bales of hay...so picturesque!

    This salsa sounds delicious. I love recipes that don't need to be stringently followed and come out delicious no matter what!

  5. I would have to say that this is the best way to use up all that dreaded zucchini! Too bad about your garden this year, that farmers out this way had a hard time with the rain too. Heart and liver, now me wonders what on earth you will be doing with those?!

  6. Love the zucchini salsa recipe. Thanks

  7. The salsa looks delicious. I would not have thought of zucchini.
    Your sunrise photos are breaktaking.
    Love the cattle, and the two trees, NICE!
    You are talented Karen. Gorgeous photos.

  8. Great post, Karen! The hay fields around here are one of my favorite things about Montana. There's just something about vast fields of rolled hay-bales with mountains in the background - poetic! The salsa sounds like a great way to utilize the zucchini blessing. ;-)


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