Saturday, September 22, 2012

Canning Salsa

This last Thursday I attempted to make and can homemade salsa. We have a plethora of beautiful veggies that was given to us by my mom-in-law, who happens to be an amazingly talented gardener. Every year she grows heaps of herbs, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, carrots and peppers. My husband isn't really a tomato person, and we had too many for me to finish on my own, so I was very excited about the idea of using some to can salsa.

I wasn't really sure how it would turn out. I'm really much more of a fresh salsa kind of girl. I love to just chop up fresh tomatoes and pepper, add a bit of cilantro, garlic and onion, add a splash of fresh squeezed lime and I'm in heaven.

I started out with these cute little tomatoes. Mind you, this is only about half of what I used in the recipe and maybe a quarter of what we have still in the refrigerator. In the end I used probably close to seven cups of these little tomatoes. To prepare the skins for removal I boiled them for 45 seconds and then let them sit in ice cold water. Removing the skins was very easy, but it was also quite time consuming due to the tomatoes miniature size.

After removing the skins, I squeezed out as much of the tomato juice as I could, so that the salsa would not be runny.

I chopped up two green bell peppers, fresh from farmers market.

Here are some of the peppers that my mom-in-law gave us. I'm still not even sure what all of them are. Every cooking show I have ever seen has said to remove the seeds. In my fresh salsas, I like to leave them in because I like a bit of extra heat. I figured though, that since this was my first time making cooked salsa I should probably try to follow the rules just this once.

I cored each of the peppers and removed the seeds (as sloppily has I could to leave a few behind). Look at that beautiful rainbow of pepper!

I Chopped up some fresh cilantro too. I was pretty bummed that I couldn't use my own. I accidentally over harvested a few weeks back and am probably going to have to replant. I chopped one whole onion, one clove of garlic, added some salt and squeezed the juice from one lime.

I then threw the the whole mess in a frying pan and started cooking on high heat.

After just a few minutes the salsa began to cook down and release its juices. This made the house smell amazing.

After everything was cooked through, I threw everything in the blender for about 30 seconds to make a prettier prettier and more even consistency. I then poured it all back into the pan for several minutes of cooking.

Canning the salsa was easy enough, though I had the hardest time finding advice on how to pressure can salsa. Almost all salsa recipes are processed using the hot water bath method, and and as such include either vinegar or lemon juice to increase the acidity. My own recipe included lime juice, but probably not enough to make this type of canning safe. I looked up each of my ingredients and found the necessary pressure cooking time for each. The only one I couldn't find was cilantro, I decided this would probably be considered a "green" and would require one hour of cooking at 10 pounds of pressure. I realize this was probably going way overboard for salsa, but I would much rather be safe than sorry.

Here's the result. I haven't opened either jar yet, but I tasted the salsa before I stared canning. Its much sweeter than I expected due to all of the cooked peppers. I must admit that I was disappointed about the level of heat. I like my salsa with quite a bit more kick, so next time I will not be removing any of the seeds. Still, it should go nicely over chicken or inside enchiladas.

I will let you know how my next batch goes.

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