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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Collective Salsa Making and Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

In Kayte Young's first show as host of Earth Eats, we bring you a story about collective salsa making in a summer kitchen, and a roasted tomatillo salsa recipe.

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    Photo: Kayte Young

    Laura Haley working in the canning station, with finished jars of salsa in the foreground.

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    Photo: Kayte Young

    Each batch of salsa starts with a kit. Kits include all the fresh produce, plus white vinegar, sugar, salt and spices.

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    Photo: Kayte Young

    Amina Shabani (left) and Stephanie Solomon (right) enjoy catching up with each other while chopping tomatoes at the processing station.

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    Photo: Kayte Young

    Spices, salt, sugar and white vinegar are added to the fresh vegetables. Vinegar is needed in order to make the salsa acidic enough for boiling water bath canning. Always follow a canning recipe when preserving salsa with the water bath method.

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    Photo: Kayte Young

    Just a small portion of the finished jars of salsa, fresh from the canner. The lids seal (and pop) once they are removed from the boiling water, and begin to cool.

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    Photo: Kayte Young

    Marcia Veldman, owner of Meadowlark Farm, and host of the Annual Salsa Day washes tomatoes, and gets them ready for weighing and adding to the kits.

Today on our show–with its purchase of Whole Foods, Amazon hopes to change the way you get your groceries–that story from Harvest Public Media. Chef Daniel Orr shares a roasted tomatillo salsa recipe, and a group of friends turn the concept of a “share economy” into a festive annual cooking event,

“I have the wonderful opportunity to work with the jalapenos, which is why I’m wearing these blue surgical gloves, so that I don’t end up with hot jalapeno on my face all day,” says Jean Haley, who is working with friends, preparing and canning salsa on a beautiful day in late August.

In traditional farming communities several households might get together to put up the season’s green beans, or get the peaches canned in quart jars with a light syrup, or maybe make enough blackberry jam to last three families through the winter. The phrase “many hands make light work” really comes into play when you’re talking about food preservation. Collective cooking has the added benefit of building community.  Here’s a story of those food traditions revived, and a group of friends making good use of another brilliant farmsteading practice–the outdoor kitchen, or summer kitchen.

Marcia Veldman has the perfect set up at her farm, Meadowlark, in Brown County, Indiana. Many of the vegetables for the salsa are grown on her farm, with the help of some of the very same women preparing the salsa. Her back patio is converted into a spacious and shady summer kitchen, ideal for all those simmering sauce pots and large, enamel canners full boiling of water.

Whether you are new to canning or a seasoned veteran, be sure to consult a trusted canning recipe before preparing and putting up your own batch of salsa. Tomatoes are acidic enough to can using a boiling water bath method, but once you add the peppers, onions and garlic you need to either pressure can your salsa, or acidify it with vinegar or lemon juice. Don’t guess at how much you need to add, consult a trusted canning recipe to make sure your ratio is correct, and your delicious salsa is safe to eat when you pop it open in the dead of winter.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation, from the University of Georgia, provides research-based recipes and methods for all your food preservation projects. You will always can a safe product if you follow their instructions.

And if you’re wanting to make salsa with the bounty from your own garden, but aren’t up for a canning adventure, check out Chef Daniel Orr’s Salsa Verde recipe, or Barbara Brosher’s tomato-based Roasted Garden Salsa.

Stories On This Episode

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Trample Harvests

Scattered cotton modules in Refugio County, Texas.

Texas farmers are still tallying damage from hurricane Harvey as Irma bears down on Florida and the Caribbean.

Human Breast Milk Newest Source Of Sugar


A tech start-up wants to use sugars from human breast milk to make better infant formula and intestinal supplements for adults.

Salsa Verde With Fresh Tomatillos


This is not a raw salsa. We’re going to roast these vegetables off and get them a little carmelized.

With Whole Foods Merger, Amazon Reimagines The Food System

Whole foods market Boston

Amazon delivers Whole Foods to your doorstep, as merger progresses.

Kayte Young

Kayte Young discovered her passion for growing, cooking, foraging and preserving fresh food when she moved to Bloomington in 2007. With a background in construction, architecture, nutrition education and writing, she brings curiosity and a love of storytelling to a show about all things edible. Kayte raises bees, a small family and a yard full of food in Bloomington’s McDoel Gardens neighborhood.

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