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Every year, my husband and I set out a family vegetable garden. We love having fresh fruits and veggies to eat in the later summer and early fall. Another thing we love is preserving some of our food so we can enjoy it all year long. Today I want to tell you how easy it is canning homemade salsa from our garden!
Our favorite plants to grow in our garden are green beans, corn, tomatoes, and peppers. My last post covered how easy it is to can green beans. In this post, I’m going to share how we make our salsa and also can it. This is another easy recipe that you might want to pin for later. Let’s get started with the supplies needed!
- 15-20 medium tomatoes
- Spice mix
- Garden peppers (whatever variety you grew)
- White distilled vinegar
- Large pot
- Canning jars
- Canning rings and lids
- Jar funnel
- Deep canner
- Jar remover
Part 1- Prepare Your Tomatoes and Peppers for Homemade Salsa
The first step in canning homemade salsa is preparing your produce. One way is to make sure they are fully ripe before trying canning with them. We usually pick our tomatoes as soon as they start turning color. Then we set them on an outside table where they will get a lot of sun. This will usually ripen them up in a day or two. Peppers don’t last as long off the plant. So I usually wait to pick them until they are ready. Now comes the fun part!
Wash and Core Your Tomatoes
The first big step to canning salsa is washing your tomatoes. This step ensures you have a clean and healthy product when you make salsa. It also gives you time to look over your tomatoes for any bad spots. I usually dump a bucket of tomatoes in the sink and wash them under running water.
After washing, it’s time to core your tomatoes. To core them, you simply cut a circle around the stem of the fruit and pull the core out.
I also take this time to cut out any bad spots from my tomatoes. This way, I can see the inside of the tomato. Then I know all my tomatoes are good before I start processing them.
Some people who garden say you should peel your tomatoes before cutting out the cores. But I’ve found that by coring and cutting out the bad spots early I save some time working on them.
Peel and Chop Your Tomatoes
Now you’re at the step of canning homemade salsa where you peel and chop your tomatoes. This sounds like a crazy long process, but it’s actually fairly simple. The keys are a boiling pot of water and a food processor.
In a large pot of boiling water, I drop 4-5 tomatoes in at a time. I let them boil for 2-3 minutes. When I take them out (using thongs of course) I quickly put them in ice water for another minute or two. Then wala, the skins easily slide off the tomatoes! It’s so super easy and will save you a ton of time.
Once the tomatoes are peeled, I put them in the food processor and chop them up. This usually takes about 10 seconds to get a good consistency. My husband doesn’t like tomatoes so he doesn’t want tomato chunks in his salsa (I know this doesn’t make sense). So he would rather make a more liquid salsa.
Wash and Chop Your Peppers
If you have some homegrown peppers, it’s a great idea to add them when canning homemade salsa. Not only are you adding fresh ingredients, but you also know where and how the peppers were grown!
Before using peppers in anything, you definitely need to wash them. Bell peppers have a lot of grooves, so be sure to wash them thoroughly. Most other peppers aren’t as bumpy, but you still need to wash them!
When cutting up the peppers, I usually core them first and pull the seeds out. Then, I chop them into small chunks and set them aside to add to the pot during part 2!
Part 2- Mix Together Before Canning Homemade Salsa
Now we’re ready for part two of canning homemade salsa- cooking it. It’s important to cook the salsa before canning it. For starters, cooking allows all of the spices and flavors to blend together. This will make your taste buds explode!
Another reason to cook the salsa before canning is the water bath. When canning green beans, you pressure can them. This method ensures that your green beans are safe to eat months later. Since I don’t pressure can my homemade salsa, I need to cook it before canning it.
Add Your Dry Ingredients and Vinegar
As soon as I chop my tomatoes, I add them to a big pot. After I get 15-18 tomatoes in there, it’s time to add the dry ingredients and vinegar.
For years, I’ve used the Mrs. Wages Medium Salsa Mix to make my salsa. You can find it on Walmart.com or at most grocery stores. It has a great blend of spices that taste wonderful with my fresh tomatoes.
This year, I’m developing my own recipe for the spices. I will still use Mrs. Wages in some of my salsa. But it’s kind of exciting to develop my own recipe!
Vinegar is another ingredient to add when mixing in the spices. Tomatoes have some acid in them. But, they may not have enough for properly canning homemade salsa. So you need to add some white distilled vinegar, usually at 5% acidity. Some recipes call for cider vinegar, but I’ve only used the distilled kind in my salsa. This recipe calls for 1/3 cup of vinegar in it.
Put in Homegrown Peppers to Add Some Kick
At this point, you can start cooking your homemade salsa. Cooking and canning homemade salsa with vinegar and spices is all you need to do. It will taste great and your family and friends will love it! But at our house, we take it a step further.
As we are canning homemade salsa, I like to add some fresh peppers from our garden. Adding your own peppers will give your salsa a “fresher” taste. Not only that, but you can use the different types of peppers you grew to make salsa with some heat!
In our house, we make 4 different levels of heat with our salsa. Our medium salsa uses a simple spice mix along with some homegrown bell peppers. These peppers add a little different flavor without making it any spicier.
We also make three levels of hot: Hot, Double Hot, and Triple Hot. On the lids, we use H, HH, and HHH to label which salsa is which. For the regular hot, we add some bell and banana peppers. The banana peppers add a little kick, but not too much.
Now, for the double and triple hot, we add some jalapenos and chili peppers. And I add more of them to the triple hot than the double hot. So for a small batch of double hot, I would probably add 2 jalapenos and 2 banana peppers to the mix. With a triple hot batch, I would add twice that much. I also grow some chili peppers that I might substitute for the jalapenos. It just depends on what we have on hand.
Part 3- Start Canning Homemade Salsa
You’re almost there! All you have to do for this part is to cook your ingredients and prepare your jars and lids. After that, you’ll put them in a water bath for canning homemade salsa.
Here are your last steps!
Cook Your Ingredients
You’ve mixed all your ingredients together in a pot on the stove. Now it’s time to cook your ingredients before canning homemade salsa. Blending these smells and tastes together will make your salsa flavor pop! Plus your kitchen will smell amazing!!!
Turn your stove on and bring your salsa ingredients to a boil. Then turn down the heat, stirring occasionally, and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes. And now you have salsa!
If you like, you can immediately eat some of your salsa. It will stay good in your refrigerator for up to a week. At our house, we usually can every bit of salsa we are able to. But sometimes we have some salsa left, and it’s not enough to fill a jar. So we’ll put the leftovers in the refrigerator to eat that week.
Prepare Your Jars
As the salsa is cooking, I go ahead and get my jars ready for canning homemade salsa. Running them through the dishwasher to sanitize is a great way to do this. Your jars will be hot, and you know they will be clean too!
I do something similar with my jar lids and rings. The rings can be run through the dishwasher too. I usually put the lids in hot water for a few minutes before using them. The reason I don’t wash them in the dishwasher is to make sure they seal properly.
Sealing the lids is super important for canning homemade salsa. If they don’t seal properly, the food will spoil. And you can only use each lid once. So I avoid putting the lids in the dishwasher. When your jars and lids are ready, you can start filling them with the yummy salsa!
Use a Water Bath to Can Your Homemade Salsa
After you’ve cooked your salsa and filled your jars and lids, it’s time to start canning homemade salsa. You’ll need a deep pot to do this, so you can have up to two inches of water above your jars. My pressure canner is the perfect size to do a water bath canning. I just don’t use pressure to seal the lid like I would for green beans.
I place the jars in my canner and then fill it with water. After the canner is filled, I turn up the heat so the water will boil. Then I keep the water boiling for 40 minutes so my salsa can process correctly. After 40 minutes, I turn off the heat and allow the jars to set for 5-10 minutes.
Once they’ve had time to set, I remove the jars with my jar remover and set them on my counter. After 12-24 hours I check the seals to make sure they have canned properly. Any salsa that doesn’t can goes in my refrigerator to eat quickly.
Enjoy Your Homemade Salsa
That’s all it takes for canning homemade salsa! Now you’re ready to enjoy your salsa for months to come. Writing down these instructions has made me start craving some chips and salsa!
Before taking it to the pantry, I label the lids of the salsa with a sharpie. I put the year it was canned, along with the level of heat we cooked into it (M, H, HH, HHH). That way, there are no surprises when we open up a jar!
What do you all think? Would you ever can your own salsa or other vegetables? Leave a comment and let me know.