Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Canning Salsa

Like many others that I've posted, this salsa recipe is long overdue. I've been using it for about 7 years with a lot of success and just haven't gotten around to posting it on here yet...The main problem being that the appropriate time to post it is smack in the middle of canning season where it's difficult to post much of anything because my life is a little crazy. That being said, please don't take the posting of this recipe as an indication that my life is any less crazy right now. Because let me assure you that that is not the case. In fact, I'll just give you a brief synopsis. Within the past few days, I canned 14 pints + 2 half-pints of salsa, made 4 quarts of pickles, hosted my in-laws, planned a bridal shower and helped with a wedding, got the kids ready for school, weeded the garden to get ready for a company BBQ. That's not even counting my normal jobs as a mother including moderating all the internal squabbling that happens with kids they are ready to go back to school. And honestly, most days the latter seems like what I spend the majority of my time with...but anyway...I apologize for not being quite as consistent with my posts as I would like to be. Life has caught up to me and I'm trying to get it back in balance. Until then...things may be a little hit and miss for a while. And I appreciate your patience.

Back to the topic, this is a great basic recipe for canned salsa. In my opinion, fresh salsa is always the best (this is still my favorite recipe - this year we added some chopped tomatilloes - amazing!). But in the dead of winter when all the tomatoes to be had taste like plastic, we pull out a bottle of this and remember the wonderful harvest season. And enjoy. My littlest boy can down a whole pint of this stuff in one sitting. It's crazy. He loves it even better than the fresh. He and Brandon call each other "salsa buddies" and enjoy their ritual of eating salsa every Saturday for lunch. 

It's been a while since I've posted a canning recipe, so let me just remind you that if you're new to canning, please read over the points from the canning introduction post that I posted a few years ago before you begin. Canning unlike cooking requires a bit more scientific precisionThe nice thing about this recipe is that it's easy to adapt it for your own tastes. It's kind of like a formula that you can start with and change to your own liking. If you like your salsa hot, use a lot of hot peppers. If you don't, use mostly bell peppers. Easy stuff. But be sure you only change the things in the recipe that are changeable. Don't change the amounts or cooking times. Spices can be added or taken out to your liking as well. And I always like to tell you the source for the canning recipes that I post, because these recipes may vary a bit over time as new safety things are tested and that source is here. They have some other great canning recipes on there too if you're interested.

First a few tips for salsa canning success:
  • Always use good quality tomatoes and peppers. Freshly picked is always best and will give you the most nutrition bang-for-your-buck.
  • Wear rubber gloves while handling hot peppers and do not touch your face or eyes until your hands have been thoroughly washed with soap and water. I know this one from painful experience.
  • Invest in a kitchen scale to measure the weights of ingredients. It really is the most accurate way to do it when you're canning. And it will be worth the cost.

Chile Salsa

*Makes 6-8 pints

5 lbs. tomatoes, any variety
2 lbs. peppers (I use a mixture of hot and mild peppers - you can also use canned chile peppers for this)
1 lb. onions, any variety
1 Cup bottled lemon juice OR 1 Cup Vinegar (5% acidity)
3 tsp. salt*
1/2 tsp. pepper*
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced*
1-1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano*
1-1/2 Tbsp. dried cilantro*
1 Tbsp. cumin*

Peel peppers if desired (I never do). Wash tomatoes and dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split. Then dip in cold water, slip off skins, and remove cores. Trim off any bruised or discolored portions. Coarsely chop tomatoes, peppers and washed onions (I use a chopper for this). Add chopped peppers, onions, and remaining ingredients in a large saucepan. Heat to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Fill jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. Adjust lids and process pints or half pints in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes (1,001-6,000 ft).

*Note: The starred ingredients are optional and quantities can be omitted or changed if desired. You can also add other dried spices to your tastes. But for safety, do not change the quantities any of the non-starred ingredients.

Recipe Source: Adapted from USU Extension service

Don't you just love looking at beautiful bottles of food all lined up in a row?

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