I’ve grown up with homemade canned salsa. This is my mom’s recipe that she’s used each fall for as long as I can remember.
Growing up canning
My parents have always been big canners. My dad has a passion for gardening, so he would tend the garden all year long, and come harvest time my mom and him would tag team in the kitchen and create so much canned goodness to get us through another year, and that goodness always included canned salsa.
I remember walking in the kitchen during salsa canning and being able to hardly breath! The onion and jalapeños slicing would make the air thick with heat and my eyes would immediately start to burn.
We couldn’t be without a good hot salsa growing up. Corn chips and salsa were daily snacks in the Denison home. Dad would eat it hot with nothing added, where as my mom, my sister and I would add a dollop of sour cream to smooth out the bite a bit.
To make sure we didn’t run out in the middle of the year my parents would make several triple batches of the salsa and when they were all done we’d have over 20 quart jars of spicy salsa in our pantry.
Yes, we went through that much yearly in our home!
My sister and I loved to play house, and we did it most often in my moms pantry. We covered the concrete floor with layers of blankets and pillows, moved some kitchen items around so we had room on the shelves for our play items, and we’d hang there for hours, make believing and dreaming like little girls do.
I remember laying on the ground looking up at all my moms canned goods. Applesauce, tomatoes for stew, canned jalapeños, peaches, and salsa. The quart jars of salsa were always the prettiest. So many reds, greens, and yellows. It always felt safe and warm in that pantry.
Canning need to knows and concerns
I know there can be a lot of apprehension around canning. The fear of botulism is something all new canners are concerned with, so let me help put your fears at ease. If you follow the instructions, boil for the time allotted, and stick to the correct amount of ingredients so the pH levels are where they need to be, you’ll be fine!
Canning is a way of preserving foods that most of our grandmas, and their grandmas before them used. It’s not complicated. It’s not hard. Actually, many have said, (including myself) that canning can be very therapeutic. So don’t fret, and don’t put off trying to can any longer. Once you do it you’ll be hooked!
I bring a human scale in the kitchen and use it to weigh the tomatoes and other ingredients while canning. It’s an easy trick and helps you keep your amounts correct. Get on the scale by yourself, then get on it with a bowl of tomatoes or other ingredients and subtract your weight. Easy peasy!
Preparing the produce for canned salsa
Depending on the kind of tomatoes used, your salsa thickness will change. A good firm roma tomato works well with salsa, as they are one of the fleshiest tomatoes. Early girl tomatoes as well as beefsteak tomatoes have more juice, and will either make a thinner salsa, or you will have to cook it down on the stovetop longer to help remove the extra water. (I used early girls, and just cooked it down longer. It’s what I had available to me, so I made it work.)
To remove the skins I place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Beside it I set a bowl of ice water. When the water is at a rolling boil, gently lower tomatoes into water and leave until you see the skin crack, around 10 seconds usually. Once skin is cracked remove from boiling pot and pace in ice bath. Grab at skin and it should slide right off. Chop skinless tomato and put in large stockpot on stove to start cooking down.
Make sure to always wear gloves when slicing jalapeños. You can keep it simple (and more spicy) by slicing these peppers up whole, and not removing the seeds. If you want to reduce the spice a bit, or you have the time, you can cut and remove the seeds, but this does lengthen the process a bit and isn’t necessary.
Same as jalapeños, wear gloves (even though these aren’t as spicy of a pepper) and again, no reason to remove the seeds unless they bother you.
When water bath canning, you’ll need a few essentials so make sure to have these items on hand:
Shop salsa canning essentials:
Peel and chop all tomatoes into small pieces, placing in large stock pot. Start simmering to reduce tomatoes.
While tomatoes are cooking, finally chop onions and peppers, adding to tomatoes as you go. Simmer all produce together until you achieve your desired thickness. This may take a few hours, or it may be ready almost right away depending on your tomato selection.
Once you are happy with the consistency, add salt, pepper, vinegar, and cilantro if desired.
Pack into clean hot quart jars. Feel free to use pint jars as well if you don’t go through salsa as quickly. Pints are also a great size for gift giving! Make sure to leave 1/2″ for headroom. Seal. Process for 15 minutes in simmering hot-water bath.
Once jars are done boiling remove lid and allow the boil to come to a stop while the jars are in the bath. Place a folded kitchen towel on the counter and set salsa jars on towel. Once all jars are out of canner, cover with another kitchen towel and leave for 12-24 hours. You should hear the sweet ‘pop’ of the jars sealing over the next few hours. That’s the sound of success my friends!
Homemade canned salsa
- 2 lbs Onions
- 4 lbs Aneheim peppers
- 10 lbs Tomatoes
- 6 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 2 cups vinegar
- 1/4 cup Cilantro Diced Optional
- Peel or scald off tomatoe skins if desired. Chop fresh tomatoes into small pieces and place into large stock pot. Start simmering to reduce tomatoes.
- Finely chop onions and peppers. (Use gloves if you have sensitive skin, and wash hands thoroughly before touching anyone.) Add onions, peppers, and other ingredients to chopped tomatoes. Simmer until desired thickness, may take a few hours. Do not add salt and additional ingredients until you've reach desired consistency. This includes the cilantro. It's best added towards the end of the proccess. Once thickness is achieved, low boil for 10 mintues. Pack into clean, hot quart jars (can also halve recipe and use pints if desired) with 1/2 inch headroom. Seal. Proccess 15 mintues in simmering Hot-Water bath.
Enjoy your hard work!
That’s it friends! It truly is so simple and rewarding. Plus it’s one less think to add to your grocery list each month.
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