We picked the first batch of tomatoes from the garden the other day along with some Anaheim peppers and a small green pepper. It was time to make salsa. I’m hoping to can at least 25 pints of salsa of several varieties this year. We eat a lot of Mexican and Southwest food, so we can go though an entire jar in less than a week.
The first salsa of the year is just a basic recipe adapted very slightly from Ball’s Complete Book of Home Canning. The Ball recipe called for eight jalapenos, but I used five Anaheim peppers instead because they are a bit bigger than jalapenos. I also added a half teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and chili powder to add more depth and flavor.
If you are not familiar with home canning practices please read the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s guidelines for water bath canning here. Recipes and directions for headspace and processing need to be followed thoroughly to ensure a safe product. Canning is perfectly safe, but there is little room for improvisation and the amounts of acidic ingredients such as vinegar and tomatoes need to be kept at the correct ratio to other vegetables. Spices can be tweaked slightly to suit your tastes, but don’t change proportions too much. Do not reduce the amount of vinegar and tomatoes and do not add more onions or peppers because this will throw off the acidity level and possibly make your salsa unsafe for canning.
Fresh Vegetable Salsa
Makes 5-6 pints
•7 cups chopped cored peeled tomatoes
•2 cups coarsely chopped onions
•1 cup coarsely chopped green pepper
•8 jalapeno peppers or 5 smallish Anaheim peppers
•3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
•1 5.5 ounce can tomato paste
•3/4 cup white vinegar
•1/2 cup loosely packed and finely chopped cilantro
•1/2 teaspoon cumin
•1/2 teaspoon chili powder
•1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Prepare jars in a boiling water bath canner. Set clean lids aside in a bowl. Set clean rings to the side.
Combine all of the ingredients together in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until salsa thickens. This will take about thirty minutes.
When the water in the canner has been at a rolling boil for a few minutes, pour a few ladles of boiling water over the lids and let them sit for a minute or so to let the rubber rings soften. Remove hot jars from the water and fill with hot salsa, leaving 1/2 inch headspace in the jar. Remove air bubbles with a chopstick or a plastic knife. Wipe rim with a dampened cloth or paper towel. Apply lids and tighten rings until fingertip tight. Process in a boiling water canner 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off the heat and remove lid from the canner when processing is over. Let jars sit for five minutes. Remove from canner and let sit aside on a towel. Test seals after an hour. Refrigerate any unsealed jars. Let the jars sit aside for 24 hours. Label and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.