Salsa is one of those things that so easily spices up those dreary February days when it feels like summer will never, ever come.
Last summer I canned a batch of tomato salsa and a batch of peach salsa. We loved the flavor of both before canning but after canning? Ho hum.
I have to tell you though, by February when we cracked open the jars we were dancing with joy. I’m not sure if the flavors improved after melding for a few months, or if we just had one of those camping experiences where you taste canned beans and wieners and proclaim them to be the most delicious food on the face of the earth, clearly because of the situation and not the substance.
I can tell you that I’m taking no chances this year. I’m canning lots of salsa. I’ll skip the peach salsa but the tomato salsa I will make several batches of. Use the best quality apple cider vinegar you can get your hands on – preferably Rockridge Cider which you can get at any fall Seattle farmer’s market.
Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Makes about 12 – half pint jars
- 10 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes (I use my Roma mill to do all that work for me.)
- 3 cups chopped, seeded green bell or sweet peppers
- 3 cups chopped onions
- 3 cups chopped, seeded hot peppers or a mix of mild and hot
- 1 1/4 cups Rockridge Cider Apple Cider Vinegar
- 15 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 6 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro and/or shizo
- 6 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 2 – 3 teaspoons ground cumin
Sterlize jars by placing in the canner pot with a few inches of water and steaming for 10 minutes. Place metal lids in warm water for 5 minutes to soften the seal. Keep the jars in the pot until you are ready for them.
In a large, stainless steel or porcelain stockpot combine everything and bring it to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and stir until slightly reduced and the vegetables begin to soften.
Carefully ladle the hot salsa into hot jars up to 1/2 inch of headspace. It’s nice to have a ruler handy to measure the headspace since too much of it can leave you open to food spoilage and too little can compromise your seal. Remove any air bubbles in the jar by gently tapping it on the counter. If bubbles remain use a clean knife to dislodge them. Wipe the rims clean then place the lid on the jar and screw the band on tightly.
Place the jars in your canner, filling with water to an inch above the top of the tallest jar. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes at a rolling boil. Remove the canner from the burner and let the jars rest in the water bath 5 minutes before removing. Always lift the jars straight up when removing. Cool them on the counter overnight or during the day then check for seals once they have cooled and store in a cool, dry place.