So You Want to Can Salsa?

Last Wednesday, my canning adventures in the kitchen began by attending my first NC State Cooperative Extension class. My advisor, Jessica Oswald, was the instructor for the class, “So You Want to Can Salsa?” I have been anxiously waiting all summer for the chance to learn how to can, so I was super thrilled to attend this class in Alamance County.

Jessica did a wonderful job of explaining how to use a water bath canner and how to use precise measurements when chopping your ingredients and filling your mason jars. If there is one thing that I learned from this class, it was discovering how scientific the canning process actually is! It is very important to use only tested recipes when canning, and to make sure you are using the correct ratio of ingredients. It is also important to pay attention to the headspace you leave inside the jars, as well as the processing time in the canner. If any of the procedures are done incorrectly, your food can potentially become spoiled, which is a food safety concern.

In this 4 hour class, we learned how to make a spicy tomato salsa and a zesty salsa. I do not typically enjoy spicy foods, but the spicy tomato salsa (with chili peppers and jalapeno peppers) was my favorite! Check out the standardized salsa recipes taken from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving, as well as all of the pictures that I took along the way!

Spicy Tomato Salsa

Yield: 6 pints

6 lbs. tomatoes

9 dried hot chili peppers

3 cups diced red onion

1.5 chopped cilantro, tightly packed

15 cloves garlic, minced

6 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced

1 Tbsp. salt

¾ tsp. dried red chili flakes

¾ cup red wine vinegar

Wash tomatoes; drain. Peel, seed and dice tomatoes into ¼ inch pieces. Remove seeds from dried chili peppers; place chili peppers in a small bowl. Pour boiling water over chili peppers just to cover. Secure plastic wrap over bowl and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Drain half the water. Puree chili peppers and remaining water in a food processor for 1 minute until smooth. Combine all ingredeitns in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until mixture thickens. Ladle hot salsa into jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.

De-seeding the jalapeno peppers...they are so hot I have to wear gloves!

Blanching the tomatoes helps the skin to peel off easierAll of the ingredients needed for the spicy it's time to cook!Spicy salsa boiling in the potPacking the hot salsa into the hot jars...leave room for headspace!

Processing the jars in the hot water bath canner The finished product!Zesty SalsaYield: About 6 pints10 cups chopped, seeded, peeled, cored tomatoes (6 lbs)5 cups chopped and seeded long green peppers (2 lbs)5 cups chopped onions (1.5 lbs)2 ½ cups chopped and seeded hot peppers (1 lb)3 cloves garlic, minced2 Tbsp. cilantro, minced3 tsp. salt1 ¼ cups cider vinegar1 tsp. hot pepper sauce (opt.)Combine all ingredients in a large saucepot, adding hot pepper sauce, if desired. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Adjust two piece caps. Process 20 minutes in a boiling-water canner.Chopping, dicing, peeling, and coring tomatoesZesty salsa...yum!Zesty vs. spicy...which do you prefer?


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