This salsa recipe is the one that I make in abundance in the summer and can. That way, in theory, we have lots of good salsa to open during the winter months.
Of course, this is only the second summer that I’ve canned, so it’s only the second summer I’ve made an abundance of salsa. I don’t think last year’s salsa even made it to October. So either we eat a lot of salsa, which we do, or I really need to make a lot more. So I’m determined to do that this month.
I will give you an approximation of my cooked salsa recipe, but I encourage you to create your own recipe that fits you. I don’t like my salsa to be burning hot, but I do like heat. I mostly like flavor. This salsa recipe contains all of the important basic ingredients that guarantee a wonderful, flavorful salsa. But tweak it as you like.
Canned Salsa, or, Salsa for Canning
Lots of tomatoes, probably about 4-5 pounds – I used so many different varieties from my garden that I can’t really quantify them, and I didn’t weigh them ahead of time because I wasn’t sure how many I was going to use
4 tablespoons oil of choice, I use olive oil
3 white onions, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 green chile peppers like Anaheims, finely chopped
6 jalapeno peppers, diced
1 head of garlic, peeled, minced
2 – cartons Pomi chopped tomatoes, 26.8 ounces each*
2 bunches of fresh cilantro, mostly leaves, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
A few pinches of cayenne pepper, optional
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
To begin, seed the tomatoes and finely chop them. Set them aside.
In a large pot, pour in the oil and heat it over medium heat. Add the onions, green bell pepper, and the Anaheim peppers. Saute them for about 5 minutes.
I often chop jalapenos by hand, without gloves. But as a result, I have burned my eyes and nose many times. It’s not pleasant. So it’s really not worth being defiant about jalapenos and other hot chile peppers.
Fortunately, I was given a gift of this chopper, and it works really well on jalapenos! No touching necessary, except for removing the stem. I don’t even de-seed them first. But if you want to remove the seeds, which are what supposedly supply the most heat, use a latex glove. Then throw the jalapeno flesh into your chopper along with the garlic cloves and chop away! It’s just one way to make a nice jalapeno and garlic dice. No chopper? Use your knife!
Add the jalapeno and garlic dice to the onion mixture and cook gently for about a minute. Then add the canned tomatoes and the fresh tomatoes.
Cook the mixture, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes. It should not be watery. If it is, cook a little longer. Then add the cilantro and seasonings. Add the apple cider vinegar and cook for about 1 minute. You shouldn’t be able to smell the vinegar any longer. Turn off the stove, add the lemon juice, and give everything a stir. Let cool.
Someone selling salsa at a trade fair told me that he uses vinegar for that little bit of zing, but then adds lemon juice to cover up the flavor of the vinegar. I don’t know if that really works. Heck, I’m not sure it even makes sense. But I have done it that way for years.
To prepare to can, you need a large sturdy pot with a lid, preferably one with a heat gauge, like this one.
You can purchase the same one as mine at Wiliams-Sonoma.com.
One thing about canning, is that it will burn up your stove. What I mean, is that any bit of residue will burn, and because of the high heat, the brown spots can never be removed. At least I can’t. So I just use the same burner for canning.
You also need jars and lids that have been sterilized. I sterilize mine in the dishwasher. Remove them carefully and lay the jars and lids on paper towels. The important thing is to not put your fingers inside the jars and lids.
Then carefully scoop the salsa into the jars. There a wide-mouth funnel that you can use, but I didn’t use mine today because the salsa wasn’t that messy. Using a clean knife or narrow spatula, tamp down the salsa to remove any air bubbles within. Always leave a “headroom” of half an inch. Trust me on this. Otherwise the jars will leak. Then, if necessary, wipe off the tops of the jars with a clean paper towel.
I filled 4 – 12 ounce-capacity jars and had some left over salsa to refrigerate and enjoy over the next few days.
Place the lids on the jars, and then place the jars in the large pot. Fill the pot with water, at least 1″ above the top of the tallest jar. Place the lid on the pot and turn up the heat to high.
My gauge tells me when to begin counting the minutes to can. I can’t start counting until it reaches the green.
To know how many minutes your jars should be in the waterbath, use a reliable reference, like the one below, because canning times vary drastically. This has a lot to do with the acidity of what you’re canning. Tomatoes are acidic, so all tomato products require only 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the jars from the boiling water. It helps to have this tool, which securely grabs the jars for easy and safe removal. This guy is also available at Williams-Sonoma.com.
Let the jars cool. You will hear a pop from each jar from the vacuum seal. After cooling, test the tops of the lids to make sure they don’t move or pop. They should be somewhat concave, especially if you used the 2-part lids. And as a note, you can re-use the rings, but throw away the used flat lids and replace them the next time you can. They’re cheap.
Store the jars in your pantry and use as necessary. Once the salsa jars are open, of course, refrigerate them. It’s probably wise to always inspect the jars for any strange bubbles or discoloration, and give the salsa a good smell after opening. It’s just about being safe. But seriously, canning is really straight forward.
* If I used approximately 50 something ounces of canned tomatoes, then I’m assuming I used about the same weight of fresh, seeded tomatoes, because it was about a 50-50 mixture of canned and fresh. I weighed a medium, round tomato on the day I wrote this post and it weighed 5 ounces exactly. So, that’s at least ten tomatoes for this recipe. Hope that helps.
note: If you’ve read my notes on how I cook, then you’ll understand why I don’t have precise recipes. The reason? Preciseness doesn’t really matter in home cooking. You can omit the jalapenos and this salsa will still be good. In fact, the above chile peppers came out of my garden, so I wanted to use them. If I had to buy salsa ingredients only at a grocery store, I might have chosen different ones. Also, you can add more cilantro and it will still be good. I encourage you to make this salsa your own. Trust me, it will still work.