Sunday, October 18, 2009

Making Salsa to can

My home canned salsa is something that my family looks forward to.

Making salsa is a lot of work but oh so worth it.

Step One: Prepare the tomatoes. I cut mine up and run them through a food mill to remove the peels and seeds. If you don't have a food mill, you will need to peel and seed them. You want to cook them down to the consistency of tomato sauce or your finished salsa will be runny. I start with about 8 quarts of tomato puree - for smaller batches, you can cut the recipe down.

The type of tomato that you use will make a big difference. I use roma times that have more meat and less juice.

After I have started the tomatoe puree cooking down, I chop up the rest of the vegetables.

Step Two: Cut up 8 cups of peppers. I make a mild salsa that my child can eat so it is about 3 cups of hot peppers and 5 cups of bell. The hotter you want it, increase the amount of hot peppers while reducing the amount of bell. Also take into account the heat of the peppers you are using - some peppers are hotter than others. Always better if you aren't sure to go milder.

Add the peppers to the tomato puree as it continues to simmer and cook down.

Step Three: Next chop and add 5 cups of onions. I use a mixture of red and white onions, but any will do.

Step Four: Next I mince 6 cloves of garlic. Use less if you aren't a garlic fan. I am of the school that you can never have too much garlic in anything. It is so healthy and good for you and I just like the taste.

Step Five: Add 1 1/2 cups of vinegar. This is a necessary step to raise the acidity of the salsa so you can safely can it in a boiling water bath.

Step Six: Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Always use canning/pickling salt - never use table salt - it will discolor.
Step Seven: Optional - add minced fresh cilantro. I add it if I have it but don't worry about it if I don't.
Step Eight: Let the salsa cook down until it is a good consistency. To test I take some and put it in a small dish and put it in the refrigerator to cool. Then test it on a chip and see if it is too runny. This is also a good time to see if the flavor needs adjusting before canning.

The salsa has cooked down to the right consistency. I have about 6 quarts in my 8 quart stock pot. The tomatoes have reduced themselves by about half - it was down to 6 quarts when I added the other vegetables and that brought it back up to full, now it has cooked down again to the 6 quart mark.

The salsa in a small dish for sampling.

Nice and thick on the chip.
Step Nine: Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Making sure you sterilize the jars and lids right before using.

The finished salsa. This recipe makes 6 quarts.