Our chest freezer is usually quite full of garden veggies by the time our tomato harvest rolls around. That doesn’t mean they go to waste, just that we have to can the majority of our tomatoes. I prefer canned tomatoes to frozen anyway, though it is far more work to can. Canning salsa is a great introduction to home canning, as tomatoes are acidic and it’s difficult to mess them up. Plus, who doesn’t love salsa? If you have a way to harvest or otherwise get your hands on a half a bushel or so of tomatoes, here’s an easy-to-follow home-canned salsa recipe.
Home Canned Salsa
10 to 12 cups cored, peeled paste tomatoes
3 green bell peppers, seeded
3 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon cumin
2 hot peppers (or to taste)
1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
1 tablespoon canning salt
Scant 1/4 cup sugar
12 ounces tomato paste
Prepare your water bath canner. Make sure your jars (pint) and lids are clean and put your lids in a small bowl of warm (not boiling) water. Your jars should be in simmering water to keep them hot.
Start heating tomatoes in a large stainless steel pot. Depending on how chunky you like your salsa, you could chop them in the food processor or just let them go as is.
Chop peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs together in food processor. Add to tomatoes. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT tomato paste.
Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened. This can take as long as 4 to 5 hours, depending on the type of tomatoes you are using. When the salsa is getting to close to your desired thickness, add the tomato paste to thicken it a bit further.
Ladle hot salsa into pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Carefully wipe your jar rims clean. If your rims aren’t clean, your jars will not seal. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. I keep a roll of paper towels handy and first wipe each rim with a wet paper towel and then with a dry one.
Place lids and rings on jars and place jars in your boiling water bath. Boil in the canner for 15 minutes. Turn off heat, remove cover and let canner sit for 5 minutes. Remove jars and place on a towel.
Let sit for about 24 hours. Check to make sure your jars sealed by feeling and looking at the lid, there should be no flex to the top. You can store these in a dark place for one year. Recipe makes about 6 to 7 pints.