Canning Salsa

Last weekend I was ambitious and decided to make salsa.  Okay, maybe the ambitious part is a lie–in all honesty, I was just excited to use my new kitchen!  Since our garden was such a flop this year I bought a couple boxes of tomatoes, peppers and onions from the local “veggie stand” and was excited about my plans.


See those pretty veggies in my beautiful farmhouse sink? Love it!

Now I don’t really have a recipe that I follow because every year the temperature of peppers varies and it’s impossible to consistently have the same size of the veggies.  I’d say I use about 5 lbs of tomatoes to 8 bell peppers, 2 medium onions, 15 jalapeños and 10 cloves of garlic.  I also add in 1 cup of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.  The first step is to put all of the fresh veggies in the food processor to chop them.  DG and I like our salsa runny so we process the veggies into a pulp and don’t both with peeling the tomatoes first–I just cut out the top part where the stem was attached and any bad spots.  I take the seeds out of the bell peppers, but leave the seeds in the jalapeños.  Put everything into a pot, bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for 30 minutes (try not to let the pot overflow like I did or you’ll have a bad mess to clean up!).

While the salsa is cooking it’s a good time to start getting your canning jars ready.


You can also take a break and play with your kids.


If you don’t have kids, maybe start doing the dishes, because you’re going to have a mess.

I highly recommend putting salsa in a bowl and letting it cool before taste-testing.  When it’s hot you can’t really taste it so it needs to cool down.  Make sure you have a bag of chips for this part, obviously!  For canning salsa I always use red wine vinegar rather than a fresh lime, but for fresh salsa I use a lime.  I’m not sure why, it’s just what I’ve read in the past and what I do.  You may need to add more jalapeños at this point to get more heat.  I used a few Anaheim and other colored hot peppers in my most recent batch and got it really hot, but that’s what we like. When the salsa tastes good, you’re ready to can.

Get the bottles hot in boiling water before pouring salsa into them.


The lids and rings also need to be hot, but just in simmering water.  If you boil them, the seals won’t actually seal.


Then you’re ready to pour the salsa into the hot bottle, put on the lid and ring and put the closed bottle in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes.  When 15 minutes is up, remove the bottle from the water and place it on your counter to cool.  You’ll hear the seals “pop” and that’s when you know that they have been successfully sealed and preserved.  The first time I heard the pop noise I was so excited!

I forgot to take any pictures of the finished product, but that’s how I can in a nutshell.  It’s pretty easy, but fairly time consuming.  You have to work quickly when you’re bottling, so this is where having help would be nice.  Don’t forget to label the jars after they cool too.

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