Hot peppers give zing to salsa

Posted Aug. 25, 2014, at 3:45 p.m.

by Lois Baxter

Special to The Weekly

Welcome to the Farmers Market Corner. This is a great time of year for enjoying fresh, local produce, baked goods, dairy, meat and more at local farmers markets. During the 2014 growing season, we wanted to share information with readers of The Weekly about the many farmers markets in this area. Each week, vendors or customers from local farmers markets will share tips about unfamiliar foods you can find at your local markets, fun recipes to try with seasonally available produce, and highlights about specific farms you can learn about at the markets.

Did you know there are 12 farmers markets in Penobscot County? Find out which ones they are at the Maine Federation of Farmers Markets at mainefarmersmarkets.org/shoppers/.

Three of those local markets offer a 25 percent matching discount for customers paying with SNAP/EBT (sponsored by Food AND Medicine). They are Bangor Farmers Market, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays at Harlow Street parking lot across from the library; Ohio Street Farmers Market, 2-6 p.m. Wednesdays at the Bangor Grange across from Finson Road; and Brewer Farmers Market, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Brewer Auditorium parking lot, Wilson Street.

The vegetable of the week is hot peppers. Peppers come in two types, hot and sweet. This week

I will concentrate of the hot variety. Hot peppers can be found in many colors and shapes. The

color of the pepper does not indicate the amount of heat it contains and the amount of heat

varies with each pepper. The hottest varieties are the habanero, scotch bonnet, Thai jalapeno

and cayenne. Some milder varieties are cherry pepper and banana pepper. The seeds are usually the hottest part of the pepper. Hot peppers have many uses, mainly in salsas, Mexican food, sauces and other foods that requires a  bit of zing They can be used raw or cooked. When preparing hot peppers, be sure to use gloves and avoid contact with your eyes.

I have been making this salsa recipe for many years. It is a favorite of my friends and family as it is a thick and chunky salsa.

Thick and Chunky Salsa

8 cups of tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained

2½ cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped jalapeno peppers

6 cloves minced garlic

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons pepper

1/8 cup canning salt

1/3 cup vinegar

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1 12-ounce can tomato paste

Mix together all ingredients and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Seal in jars and put in a boiling

water bath for 10 minutes. Note: The cumin makes this hot so for a milder salsa, omit cumin.

Makes 6-7 pints

Lois Baxter volunteers at Food AND Medicine, a nonprofit organization at 20 Ivers St. in Brewer. For information, contact fam@foodandmedicine.org or 989-5860, or visit foodandmedicine.org.

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