Secrets to Canning Salsa at Home

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Whether you grow tomatoes in your garden or purchase fresh ones from the Farmer’s Market, they are the main ingredient in salsa. If you have never tried canning, do not be afraid. The following tips will help you produce the best salsa your family has ever eaten.

What are the best tomato varieties to use?

The absolute best variety for your home canned salsa is Roma tomatoes. They are also the most expensive variety. Other varieties that make great salsa include Beefsteak, Better Boy, and Lemon Boy. Your tomatoes should be firm and fresh, not overripe or mushy. These directions will produce about 8 pints of canned salsa and calls for 15 pounds of tomatoes.

Step one: Prepare your canning jars, lids, and rings

You will need eight largemouth pint canning jars with lids and rings. Sterilize your jars in the dishwasher and run it through an entire cycle. Sterilize your lids and rings in a pot of boiling water for five minutes or so. Sterilize your jars in the same pot if you do not have a dishwasher. Sterilize them while you prep your tomatoes.

Step two: Skin your tomatoes

A quick and easy way to remove tomato skins is to place a large pot of boiling water in your sink and have a bowl of ice-cold water nearby. Drop a few tomatoes at a time in the boiling water for approximately 45 seconds. Immediately transfer them to the ice-cold water. Like magic, the skin will slide off your tomato. This process is necessary because you do not want skin in your salsa. It is too chewy and not appetizing at all.

Step three: Remove the seeds from your tomatoes

Cut your skinned tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds and water from each. It is not necessary to remove all the seeds just try to get most of them. As you complete your squeezing step, put them in a strainer to drain any additional liquid in them.

Step four: Dice your tomatoes

Your next step will be to dice your tomatoes into one-half inch chunks. You will need approximately three quarts of chunks for this recipe.

Step five: Prepare your salsa seasoning

You can purchase salsa seasoning if you wish or you can make your own from fresh ingredients. Follow this simple recipe for truly homemade salsa. Dice these ingredients in a food processor to approximately one-eighth inch chunks.

3 cups – chopped onions
4 cloves – chopped garlic
6 each – chopped and seeded jalapeño peppers
2 cups – lemon or lime juice from bottle
2 – 12-ounce cans tomato paste
1 tsp. – black pepper
1 tbsp. – cumin
1 tbsp. – salt
1 tbsp. – sugar
2 tbsp. – oregano leaves

Step six: Prepare your salsa

Place your cubed tomatoes in a large pot and add your seasoning mix. Heat to approximately 180 degrees, reduce heat, and simmer for one-half hour. Be sure to stir your salsa occasionally. As your salsa cooks, taste it. You can add a teaspoon or so of chili powder if you want it a little spicier.

Step seven: Can your salsa

Fill your jars within one-quarter inch from the top. Seat your lids and hand-tighten the rings on each jar. Place them in a canner. Cover by at least two inches of water throughout the canning process. Boil vigorously for 20 to 25 minutes.

Step eight: Cool your salsa

Carefully remove your hot salsa jars and leave on the kitchen counter to cool overnight. Once cooled, make sure all are properly sealed. If any are not, put the salsa in a clean jar with clean lid and ring and boil again. Have fun making your own salsa this year! Bon Appétit!

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