July 15, 2012

Homemade Salsa - Canned Salsa

Homemade canned salsa - fresh from the garden

Even though we had just finished a relocation across the country and were in a new house with absolutely no place to put in a garden...  I did it anyway.  Just a small one I worked into our landscape on the side of a hill.  The primary reason for the garden was to grow ingredients for my homemade salsa.  

We were at a stage this week where I didn't have enough ripe tomatoes to make a batch of salsa, but my husband was asking almost daily if we had enough yet?  Could I make salsa yet?  He sure missed my homemade salsa....   so I gathered up what we had and it was enough to make half a batch.  So, dear readers;  half the recipe if you wish.  Halved, with about 5 cups of chopped tomatoes, will yield about 4 pints. 

Canning your salsa, you will need two things for sure;  a large enough pot to boil the jars in water that covers their lids and, canning jars with lids and bands.   I don't have an official 'canner' - I have a soup pot.  But it works great for me and since I'm not canning low acidic foods like green beans or meat, I don't have to use a pressure canner.  Water baths work just fine.  An item I would suggest you get to save yourself burnt fingers;  a jar lifter.  This is something I didn't use the first couple years, I just tried to hold on to the jars with a towel as my 'hot pad' holder.  Once I invested in a cheap jar lifter I was amazed at how easy things became!  

Homemade Salsa

10 Cups of peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
5 c chopped onions
3 sweet banana peppers, diced
4 jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 t minced garlic
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 1/4 c vinegar
2 T chili powder
2 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 T sugar

To peel/skin your tomatoes easily just put them in boiling water. Skins will split in 10 seconds - 2 minutes. Remove as soon as the skin splits and lay on a clean towel to cool until you can handle them comfortably - or you can dip them into a bowl of ice water if you wish. Some tomatoes won't split but they are still ready;  if it has been in the water for approximately 1-2 minutes, lift it out and feel it. If it looks tight and ready to burst, yet it feels like a water balloon, then remove it to cool. It's ready.  The second your fingers or a knife touch the skin it will probably split on contact.  Tomatoes can be seeded and the juice canned separately or you can use the whole tomato in your salsa and skip that process.  Up to you.

Mix all the ingredients for your salsa and simmer 1-3 hours.

While simmering, be sure to either run your jars and lids and seals through an extra hot dishwasher cycle or boil them in another pot of water so they are hot and sterilized when you are ready to use them.  Ladle salsa into the jars with about 1/2 inch head space at the top.   Wipe the edges completely clean with a clean cloth and place the lid on it and then the ring.  You don't have to tighten them hard - just a quick twist to hold the seal/lid on during the process.  Now, originally this old time recipe did not call for a water bath.  The heat from the salsa and the jar will seal the lid.  However, I like to boil them in a water bath as an extra precaution for 25 for pints.

Remove from the water, set on a towel on the counter and let them cool at room temperature.  You will hear popping noises.  That is the lids sealing.  When completely cooled, store in your pantry or cupboard.

Tomatoes from the garden, ready to be made into salsa

Immersing in boiling water to easily remove the skins

The skins will split within about 30 seconds and they literally slip right off.

Chop your tomatoes.  No need to be concise. They will cook down. Just chop quickly and toss in.

Ingredients ready to simmer

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