If you believe the marketing, salsa should not be from New York City, as it does not taste as good as salsa from Texas.
Well, homemade salsa makes Texas salsa look like it was born in Manhattan.
Homemade salsa tastes great, is easy, and gives you bragging rights you just cannot get from a store.
How to Can Homemade Salsa
- Tomatoes – A LOT – at least 15 lbs. I get mine from the farmer’s market in 20 pound boxes and get restaurant pricing. You will have to remove the skins, seeds and a lot of the water, this will reduce the volume a lot, – 15 pounds of tomatoes will only make about 8 pints of salsa.
- Salsa mix (Commercial or Homemade) – Commercial salsa mix sells for about $4.00 per package. A packet will make about a 7 pint jars.
- 2 cups Lemon juice (if you make your own seasoning) or vinegar (if you use a commercial mix)
- Homemade Mix (chop ingredients pretty finely):
- 3 cups onions
- 6 jalapeño peppers, seeded
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 12-ounce cans tomato paste (adds body)
- Salt 1 tablespoon (optional)
- Sugar 1 tablespoon sugar (optional – you use Splenda if you are on a sugar-restricted diet, or simply omit the sugar)
- Black Pepper 1 teaspoon
- Ground Cumin 1 tablespoon (optional)
- 2 tablespoons oregano leaves or chopped cilantro (optional)
- Water bath Canner
- Pint (or smaller) canning jars
- Jar grabber
- Lid lifter
- 1 large pot.
- Large spoons and ladles
- Jar funnel
Remove the tomato skins
- put the tomatoes, a few at a time in a large pot of boiling water for no more than 1 minutes (30 – 45 seconds is usually enough)
- Plunge them into a waiting bowl of ice water.
This makes the skins slide right off. If you leave the skins in, they become tough and chewy in the sauce.
Remove seeds and excess water
- After you have peeled the skins off the tomatoes, cut the tomatoes in half. Now we need to remove the seeds and excess water.
- Squeeze of the seeds and water
- Squeeze each tomato and use your finger or a spoon to scoop and shake out most of the seeds. You don’t need to be perfect, just remove the majority. Another way to do it is to cut each tomato in half, across it, instead of lengthwise. Then just shake the seeds and juice out.
Drain and dice the tomatoes
- Toss the seeded tomatoes into a colander or drainer, while you work on others. This helps more of the water to drain off.
- I save the liquid: once it has passed it through a sieve, screen or cheesecloth, its basically fresh tomato juice; great to drink cold or use in cooking. I have been known to pressure can it (but I don’t have an accepted time for that, so that’s on you)
- Next chop them up – I like 1/2 inch size cubes. You’ll need about 3 quarts of peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes
Get the jars and lids sanitizing
- I was my jars in the dishwasher using the “sanitize” cycle.
- I do that as I’m preparing the tomatoes, so they are both ready at the same time.
- Lids: Put the lids into a pan of boiling water for at least several minutes.
- Mix ingredients in the pot and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer
- Add the chopped tomatoes to the pot
- Add the seasonings and bring to a gentle simmer, just to get it hot (180 F, if you have a thermometer) there’s no need to cook it; only to get it hot enough to ready it for water bath processing to kill any bacteria and denature any enzymes.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Taste it as it cooks. If you like the sauce hotter, add 1 teaspoon of chili powder.
Fill the jars with sauces and put the lid and rings on
- Fill them to within ¼-inch of the top, seat the lid and hand-tighten the ring around them
- Be sure the contact surfaces (top of the jar and underside of the ring) are clean to get a good seal!
- Make sure there are no air bubbles in your jars.
Boil the jars in the canner
- Put them in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling. Process the jars in a boiling-water bath for:
- 15 minutes if you live at sea level to 1000 ft
- 20 minutes if you live from 1001 to 6000ft
- 25 minutes if you live about that
Remove from Water and Check Seals
- Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place
- You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don’t rust.
- Once the jars are cool, check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it.
The USDA says the only change you can safely make in this salsa recipe is to change the amount of spices and herbs. Do not alter the proportions of vegetables to acid and tomatoes because it might make the salsa unsafe. Do not substitute vinegar for the lemon juice.
- USDA National Center for Home Food Preservation