I’ve been blessed to have grown up with homemade canned salsa always on our pantry shelves. I remember my mom and dad taking a weekend at the end of every summer to can all the spicy goodness fresh from their garden! There’s nothing as good as grabbing a can of salsa in the middle of winter. This simple water bath canning process has been passed down and used for as long as I can remember, and here’s the good news, I’m now gifting it to you friend! This step-by-step guide will walk you through your first time or 100th!
Homemade canned salsa
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 use the best salsa recipe to get us through another year.
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!
I’ve tried other homemade salsa recipes for canning, but let me tell share a secret with you, I always come back to this simple yet perfect recipe. Sometime easy is best!
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
Remember, fresh ingredients are key to a great tasting salsa. Hit the famers market the morning of or harvest from your own garden and get busy!
When it comes to making canned tomato sauce, selecting the right type of tomato is crucial for achieving a rich and delicious salsa. Plum or paste tomatoes are widely considered the best choice for canning due to their meaty texture, less juice and low moisture content, and high sugar and acid levels. Varieties like San Marzano, Roma, or Amish Paste are particularly favored for their dense flesh and fewer seeds, which contribute to a thicker sauce. These tomatoes also tend to have a well-balanced sweetness and acidity, enhancing the overall taste of the sauce. Cultivating these tomato varieties in your garden will not only provide a bountiful harvest but also ensure you have the ideal ingredients for creating delicious and well-preserved homemade tomato sauce. For this recipe, avoid using green tomatoes. Also, cherry tomatoes will be way too much work. Save those for salad toppings.
You’ll need about 10 pounds of garden tomatoes for this recipe.
Depending on the kind of tomatoes used, your salsa thickness will change. A good firm Roma works well with salsa, as they are one of the fleshiest tomatoes. However, work with whatever tomato product you’re able to get your hands on. Juicier tomatoes will simply have to cook down longer to remove the moisture and make for a thicker salsa.
To remove the tomato skins, place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Beside it set a bowl of ice cold water. When the water is at a rolling boil, gently cut an X into each tomato, and lower it into water, leaving until you see the skin roll back from the X, 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 pot stove to start cooking down.
Hot Pepper options
Jalapeño peppers are popular chili peppers known for their vibrant green color, crisp texture, and medium level of spiciness. With a distinct heat that can range from mild to moderately hot, jalapeños offer a zesty kick to various dishes. They have a slightly grassy and earthy flavor, complemented by a subtle fruitiness. Jalapeños are widely used in Mexican cuisine, but their versatility extends to different culinary traditions. These peppers can be sliced and added to salsas, stuffed with cheese or meat, pickled, or incorporated into sauces for an extra punch. Given your interest in gardening and homesteading, cultivating jalapeno peppers could be a rewarding addition to your homegrown produce, adding a spicy flair to your culinary creations.
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.
These green peppers, Anaheims, are a type known as New Mexico peppers, and are mild to moderately spicy. They typically have a sweet and slightly tangy flavor, with a subtle heat that ranges from mild to moderate. The heat level can vary, but it is generally milder than jalapeños. Anaheim peppers are often used in Southwestern and Mexican cuisine, adding a delicious depth of flavor to dishes without overpowering the palate with spiciness. They are versatile and can be enjoyed various ways such as roasting, stuffing, or as we’re using it, as an ingredient in salsas and sauces. Given your interest in gardening and baking, incorporating Anaheim peppers into your recipes could be a delightful addition to your homesteading and culinary pursuits.
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.
These are a tasty addition to canned salsa, bringing both flavor and vibrant color to the mix. Unlike the hot peppers, they contribute when added with the hot peppers to create a medium-high heat. Their mild sweetness complements the other ingredients. You can use various colors of bell peppers, such as red, yellow, or green, to add visual appeal to your salsa. Make sure to dice them finely to ensure even distribution throughout the salsa.
Total weight in cleaned and cut peppers total should be four pounds. Mix and match pepper varieties to your preference. Remove seeds for milder flavor. Keep them in for a kick.
Sweet onions, such as Vidalia, Walla Walla, or Maui onions are often preferred for salsa due to their mild and sweet taste. These onions add a pleasant sweetness without overpowering the other ingredients. Additionally, red onions can be a great choice, providing a slightly milder flavor and vibrant color to the salsa. Both sweet and red onions offer a good crunch and texture when finely chopped, enhancing the overall appeal of the salsa. As someone deeply involved in gardening and homesteading, cultivating these onion varieties in your garden would not only contribute to the freshness of your homemade salsa but also ensure a flavorful and well-preserved product for canning.
Using Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is used in this salsa recipe for its mellow acidity and depth of flavor, complementing the sweetness of tomatoes. Its role in preserving canned goods is crucial. While lemon juice or lime juice could provide a citrusy alternative, the choice often comes down to personal taste preferences. Experimenting with substitutions is possible, but it’s essential to maintain safe canning practices for the salsa’s integrity and safety.
When using a water bath canner as your food processor, 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 canner 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!
- 2 lbs Onions
- 4 lbs peppers of choice
- 10 lbs Tomatoes
- 6 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 2 cups vinegar
- 1/4 cup Cilantro Diced (Optional)
Begin by peeling or scalding off the skins of the tomatoes if desired. Finely chop the 10 pounds of fresh tomatoes and place them in a large stockpot, initiating a simmer to reduce the tomatoes.
While the tomatoes simmer, finely chop the 2 pounds of onions and 4 pounds of peppers of your choice. For those with sensitive skin, use gloves and ensure thorough handwashing before any contact.
Add the finely chopped onions, peppers, and other ingredients (6 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 2 cups vinegar) to the simmering tomatoes. Allow the mixture to simmer until your preferred thickness is achieved; this may take a few hours. If using cilantro, it's best added towards the end of the process. Once the desired thickness is attained, let the mixture undergo a low boil for 10 minutes.
Pack the salsa into clean, hot quart jars, or adjust the quantity by halving the recipe and using pints if preferred, leaving a 1/2-inch headroom. Seal the jars and process them for 15 minutes in a simmering hot-water bath. This process ensures a safe seal, and a flavorful and well-preserved homemade salsa.
After processing the jars in the simmering hot-water bath for 15 minutes, carefully remove them from the water bath using jar lifters or tongs. Place the hot jars on a clean towel or cooling rack, leaving some space between them to allow for proper air circulation. Allow the jars to cool naturally at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
During this cooling period, you'll likely hear a satisfying "ping" sound as the jars seal. To check if they are sealed properly, gently press down on the center of each lid. If it doesn't pop back, and there's no flex or movement, the jar is sealed. Additionally, visually inspect the lids; a concave indentation in the center indicates a successful seal. Any jars that haven't sealed properly should be refrigerated and consumed within a reasonable timeframe.
Proper cooling and sealing are crucial for the long-term preservation of your homemade salsa. This additional step ensures the safety and quality of your preserved product, showcasing your commitment to the homesteading lifestyle.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 48 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 38Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 297mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g
How long does canned salsa last?
When properly canned and stored, homemade salsa can have a shelf life of up to 1 year or even longer. The key to maintaining its quality and safety is to store the sealed jars in a cool, dark, and dry place, such as a pantry or cellar. Check the lids for a proper seal before storing, and if any jars didn’t seal correctly, refrigerate and consume them within a few weeks.
It’s important to note that while the salsa may still be technically safe to eat beyond a year, the quality in terms of flavor and texture may start to degrade over time. For the best taste and texture, it’s recommended to consume the canned salsa within a year of the canning date. Always follow proper canning procedures and guidelines to ensure the safety and longevity of your preserved foods.
Enjoy your hard work!
That’s it friends! Grab your tortilla chips and dig in! 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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