When summer tomatoes are at their finest it makes sense to can some of them to be enjoyed over the winter. Tomato sauce is one option but if you want to boost the flavor try canning salsa. Salsa is not difficult to can but you do want to follow some safety tips to be sure that the salsa remains healthy and safe to eat.
1. Use high quality ingredients. Tomatoes should be fresh. If overripe or damaged tomatoes are used the salsa could spoil. Use vinegar that has a level of acidity that is at least 5 percent. You can use lime juice but the bottled type rather than fresh squeezed is recommended for safety.
2. When chopping up spicy peppers for the salsa wear gloves. The oil from the peppers can stay on your hands and irritate the skin. Avoid putting your hands near your eyes. Even when you wear gloves wash your hands well.
3. Use pint jars to that the ingredients reach the correct temperature when canning.
4. For sterile canning fill hot clean jars with salsa and leave space between the salsa and the top of the jar that is at least ½ inch.
5. When processing canned salsa in boiling water be sure to leave them in boiling water for the recommended time in the recipe. To avoid burn let the jars cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes after turning off the burner before removing them from the water and putting on the lids.
6. Once the jars have cooled look at the top to see if they are sealed properly. A properly sealed jar will have an indentation in the center of the lid.
7. When you take salsa from storage check to be sure there is no spoilage. If there is mold in the jar or the lid is bulging then discard it. Smelling the salsa is one way to detect spoilage. It should not smell sour or have a strong smell.
8. Label the jars of salsa so you know when they were canned. After one year they should be discarded. The best place for canned food is in a dark dry area with moderate temperatures.
Enjoying salsa that tastes like summer in the middle of winter will be a real treat. As long as you follow safety guidelines and store it properly you can enjoy it until next summer’s tomatoes are ready.