In every Puerto Rican home you will definitely find a spicy recipe that gives all of their Spanish dishes that exquisite Caribbean taste. This spice is called sofrito. Sofrito is a mixture of fresh red & green peppers, garlic, cilantro, ajises, & onions. This recipe has been passed down from one generation to another for hundreds of years and it is the most essential ingredient in making most Puerto Rican dish.
This last week I spent an entire morning making sofrito. I only make it 3 times a year and I always end up giving some away to my family. Sofrito is always kept in the freezer and if you pour it into ice cube trays, you can use as many cubes as you like for any dish your cooking to give it a fabulous flavor. Sofrito is mostly used in spicing up meats, soups, sauces, Spanish rice & beans, and in any dish that requires a little more spice to make it just right. Like I said you can freeze it in ice trays to use 1 or 2 cube at a time or you can use freezer jars to store large quantities. It keeps well in the freezer for 1 year...or you can keep it in the refrigerator in a tight closed container or glass jar. It keeps well in the refrigerator for about 3 to 6 months. Since I can a lot, I also can my sofrito and it keeps well for 2 years on my shelves. Today I am showing you how to can sofrito. If you don't want to can your sofriot, then just freeze or refrigerate it.
You will need a food processor or a blender in order to make sofrito.
You will need a tall pot for the jars to boil in & a large cooking pot to heat up the sofrito before canning. You will also need four large quart canning jars. Make sure the jars and lids are washed well before boiling them. Then stand them upwards inside your pot and put them to boil with the lid on for 60 minutes to steralize them well.
While the jars are boiling now you can wash all your ingredients.
garlic (about 3 pounds after peeling).
4 bunches of cilantro...washed well and cut in half...do not use the long stems.
5 large red peppers, cleaned from seeds and cut into pieces...I used 2 large jars of red peppers.
5 green peppers, cleaned from seeds and cut into pieces.
5 yellow peppers, cleaned from seeds and cut into pieces.
1 lb. of ajises...these are small green peppers found in most Spanish stores. They are not hot. They must be clean well from seeds and stem.
2 bag of yellow onions, peeled, washed & cut in quarters
After all your spices are washed & cut now you are ready to make sofrito.
Put into the food processor your ingredients.
Just like this picture below., blend well your spices.
I used an old photo I had of my sofrito being mixed.
Once all of your ingredients are all blended, then put them into a large cooking pot, simmer them for 25 minutes on med. heat, then lower your heat down to low. Once your jars are already sterilized, do not touch the lip of the jar...use a pair of jar handlers to take them out of the boiling water. With a large cooking spoon pour slowly your hot sofrito mixture into the hot jar, cap the jar with the sterilized lid and tighten it well. Then place the jar back into the tall pot and repeat this procedure until all your jars are filled. Then boil the jars for 60 minutes. The jars have to be completely covered for them to seal well.
Then once the jars are done boiling, gently take them out without dropping or tilting them. If this happens you will have to reopen and re-close the lid and then re-boil them again for another 60 minutes because the seal will break from the fall. When you take them out of the pot place them on top of a folded paper towel, let them cool off without disturbance. To check if they sealed properly just press the lid down and if the seal doesn't go up & down then it is properly sealed. If the lid does go up & down then you will have to re-boil them again for another 60 minutes.
I made 9 jars for the shelves and 3 plastic jars for the freezer.
Once the jars have cooled down then place the date you made them on your jars,
now they are ready to be stored away in your cupboards.