September 17, 2012
I planted 5 varieties of tomatoes this year, and with 14 plants and only one person in my house that actually eats them (me), you can imagine that I have an abundance of tomatoes. I gave a ton of them away to neighbors and friends, but decided to preserve some of them for myself. I made a couple batches of homemade sauce, but since I haven’t completely mastered that technique yet I’m going to hold off on writing about it until I do.
One of my other favorite things to make with tomatoes is SALSA! Mmmmm. Normally I make a small batch and eat it while it’s fresh, but I did some experimenting with canning/jarring this year. I just sampled my first batch and it was superb, so I made another and this time I documented the steps. Even my daughter said it tastes better than any store-bought salsa she’s ever tried. So here we go…
- fresh tomatoes of any variety or a mix of varieties (approx 1 gallon when chopped)
- 2 large onions (yellow or red)
- 4 or 5 jalapeño peppers
- 1 green pepper
- 2 red peppers
- 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped (approx 1 cup)
- 1 to 2 cans of tomato paste (18 oz)
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/2 cup vinegar
(Edit: I made another batch and added chopped peaches and a few diced Habanero peppers… delicious! Sweet & spicy!)
Prep & Cooking Steps:
I’ll start by saying that this recipe doesn’t require EXACT measurements. I probably had more tomatoes than what I listed above, but I didn’t actually measure them out. You can adjust any of the ingredients according to your taste preferences.
1) First, chop all of the vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, onions). For the tomatoes, I diced the larger ones with knife and then put the little ones in a food processor and pulsed them to speed things up. There’s no need to remove the skin or seeds from the tomatoes – just cut out any bad spots. I removed the majority of the seeds from my jalapeño, but you can opt to leave them in for a spicier salsa.
2) Put all of your diced veggies in a very large pot, and add the garlic, cilantro, tomato paste, chili powder, and salt and mix well. I listed one to two cans of tomato paste because this can be adjusted to your desired thickness. I like mine nice and thick so I used two cans.
3) Bring the mixture to a boil and let simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. While your salsa is simmering, start your canning prep.
4) Just before canning, add the vinegar and stir well.
Canning / Jarring:
These are links to the equipment that I use, which you can see in the pics to the right: 1 pint mason jars, large canning pot and the basic canning kit containing a jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter, wide mouth funnel, tongs and a jar wrench. I actually found my mason jars at the local grocery store for $9 for a set of 12.
1) Fill your canning pot with water and bring to a rolling boil.
2) Sanitize your jars and lids. You can put the jars in the boiling water for several minutes or run them through a sterilize cycle in your dish washer. I prefer to put my jars in the dish washer and put the lids in a small pot of simmering water. (Update: One of our readers pointed out that you should not boil the lids because it destroys the seal. You should sanitize them in hot water around 180 degrees, but not boiling. Thank you, Lisa for the tip!)
3) Ladle the salsa into the jars using a wide-mouth funnel. Fill the jars almost to the top, but leave about 1/2 inch of space.
4) Wipe off the rims of the jars so that they are clean to achieve a good seal.
5) Remove the lids from the boiling water and place them onto the tops of the jars. Make sure they are centered so that the sealing compound around the edges of the lids touches the jar rim. Screw the metal rings on firmly, but not too tight.
6) Lower the jars into the boiling water with tongs. There should be at least 1/2 inch of water above the jars. Place the lid on your pot and let the jars boil for 15-20 minutes.
7) Carefully remove the jars from the boiling water with tongs and set them on a flat surface to cool to room temperature. As the jars cool you will hear the lids “ping” as they seal.
8) Store until you’re ready to serve… and ENJOY!
Tips: For the best flavor, I recommend waiting at least a few days before opening a jar (otherwise you may taste the vinegar). If your salsa separates while in storage, it’s ok… just give it a shake or stir and it’ll be ready to go.
YIELD: 12 Pints or 6 Quarts