Tomato Salsa…home canning at it’s best!

by Michelle on August 4, 2010

I’ve always enjoyed canning, even when I was single I canned Stewed Tomatoes every year. One bushel of tomatoes yields about 10 quarts and this was just enough for me for one year! Now I use about 60 pints of tomatoes a year and I am still running low when April rolls around.

 

I am not a big fan of Mexican cuisine but I tried a recipe for Mexican Rice last year and we loved it. And I later discovered that if I make 2 cups of rice and add 1 pint of Annie’s Salsa and pop it into the oven for about 20 minutes, it is fabulous. So a little bit of work in August canning up Annie’s Salsa makes for a very tummy-warming side dish when we are knee deep in snow! Don’t forget to serve it with a wedge of lime as it makes all the difference.

A little Canning rant….

I do have to warn you about using just any canning recipe that you find on the Internet or in published books as many are just not safe. I know that the recipe may sound good and claims of “I’ve done it this way for years” or “My Mom always did it this way” but please don’t be tempted. If you have an old family canning recipe that you want to make, you can always submit it for testing at your local County Extension Office which is your tax dollars at work so take advantage of it!

And if you are looking for safe canning recipes, keep to the County Extension and University sites or books like Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and don’t ever substitute or vary a canning recipe..NEVER EVER!

 

 

 

WHEW…done with my little rant and on to Annie’s Salsa, which has been tested and is safe! In fact you need not worry about any canning recipe on my site as I am a bit paranoid ever since my Mom gave me her Botulism Lecture some 30 years ago! And I still remember it almost word for word. Mom “I know I did it that way, but it’s not safe and you had better not try it” and then “I’m sending your Dad over!”. LOL!!!

Tomato Salsa
Recipe graciously shared by my friend, Annie

8 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped and drained
2 ½ cups chopped onion
1 ½ cups chopped green pepper
3 – 5 chopped jalapenos
6 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp pepper
1/8 cup canning salt
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vinegar **See note if using a BWB
16 oz. tomato sauce
16 oz tomato paste

Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil, boil 10 minutes. Pour into hot jars, process at 10 lbs of pressure for 30 minutes for pints. Makes 8 pints.

NOTE: If you are using a Boiling Water Bath: Use Pints or 1/2 Pint Jars ONLY. Increase the Vinegar to 1 Cup and process in a BWB for 15 minutes.

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Comments

  • Mimi August 4, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    What a shame I haven’t made salsa in years. Your recipe sounds like a winner.
    Mimi

  • pam August 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    There is nothing like your own homemade and home canned salsa!

  • Kayte August 4, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Oh my that looks so stunning and I love where it had its photo shoot! Before the summer wanes, do you think you can pose some things on that wonderful porch of yours??? Yes, please.

    • Michelle August 4, 2010 at 5:12 pm

      OH Kayte,

      I, too, love my porch. But this year because of my surgery, I never even brought anything out of storage. My porch and patio are both bare except for a few plants and 1 chair for me to sit with my morning coffee.

  • Kim August 4, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    I made that recipe for Mexican rice just the other day. We’re still big fans! I’ve been wanting to learn how to can, but have to admit that it does scare me a little bit. I’m going to have to overcome my fears and give it a go. Your salsa looks delicious and you will be so happy to have it when winter rolls around.

  • Joanne August 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    I never knew that the recipes themselves were so finicky! Thanks for the PSA!

    This salsa sounds SO incredibly tasty. Perfect for the middle of January when all you crave is sun!

  • Bonnie- August 5, 2010 at 12:26 am

    You have been a busy girl. I love salsa. Can I add an AMEN to the rant. So important to follow a tested recipe. I often wonder how many of us got sick in the “Olden days” but didn’t attribute it to bad canning practices when maybe that’s exactly what it was.

  • Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead August 5, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Thanks for sharing this! I’ve actually been meaning to can some salsa this year since I usually just freeze it in 250ml jars since that’s about what I use at once.

    And one can never be warned often enough about how careful you need to be when it comes to canning. It may not be difficult but you certainly don’t want to end up killing your family either!

  • Daisy August 5, 2010 at 8:38 am

    This looks delicious. I’m determined to can salsa and tomato sauce this year, despite the timing. I’m a teacher, and August is one of the busiest months of the year. I’m new to your site; have you posted the stewed tomato recipe? I’d love to see it.

  • Siobhan August 5, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I’ve tried several times this summer to sign up for a canning class and every-time they have been full! Finally found a quilter in my guild who used to be a home ec teacher…she is going to come over next week and walk me through it. Wish me luck!

  • Cristie August 5, 2010 at 9:20 am

    I loved your rant! I don’t have my local extension service number memorized, but I’ve called them several times to see what the new information is on several issues. I completely agree with your soap box. The salsa looks delicious and safe :)

  • kat August 5, 2010 at 9:36 am

    We canned out own salsa for the first time last year & man was it good. I know what you mean about canning recipes & being safe, especially those for tomato based things

  • Susan August 5, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Michelle–I “lost” you. I was just thinking about you and decided to see why I had not read any posts lately. I got here in a roundabout way :) Your new posts are not coming up on my blog roll. The latest one is 3 months ago??? Glad you are not lost and are busily canning! I gave up canning because I am deathly afraid of the pressure cooker :) Maybe I could do a water bath!

  • teresa August 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    i am completely unfamiliar with canning, but this was great advice. i LOVE homemade salsa, this looks delicious!

  • Unplanned Cooking August 5, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Actually that was a good rant :). I didn’t know some canning recipes weren’t safe. I was thinking of trying one this year if our tomatoes ever turn red. But we may end up with green tomato soup again :).

  • Maggy@ThreeManyCooks August 6, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Love the look of this salsa! Would devour it with a bag of tortilla chips! YUM :)

  • Fuji Mama August 6, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    This looks fabulous!!!

  • A Canadian Foodie August 7, 2010 at 5:08 am

    OMGOSH! What a timely post! I cnanot wait to get home and make this. Salasa is deinitley on my fall preserves list, and this one looks perfect… with exactly the ingredients I would put in mine. Thank you SO much for the recipe! Lovely photos, too! YUM!
    I apologize for not keeping up with my readings. We left for Paris mid July and are currently in Belgrade. We’ll be home sometime next week – and I cannot wait to be home. I love to get away, but going home is just as exciting. And this time, In have had so many fascinating culinary experiences, that I cannot wait to practice in my kitchen at home!
    :)
    Valerie

  • Ezzie Brody August 7, 2010 at 6:25 am

    This is a great recipe Michelle. Canning is a wonderful skill and tradition.

    But while I get that you are trying to be cautious on the public’s behalf…I use recipes off the internet all the time. I’ve been canning for more than 30 years and have made a study of the history of canning and what works and what doesn’t…when to hot water bath and when to pressure can so maybe that’s why I am comfortable with what I do. I will say that when I have a question or concern I will consult with experts…which usually means the extension service.

    Having said that, I am also cautious to use fresh ingredients, make sure my equipment is in great shape and if using something I pressure canned I will heat thoroughly before eating. Knock on wood, have not had anyone get sick on my food it’s always been a great way to get through the winter…especially when living in Alaska! LOL.

    • Michelle August 7, 2010 at 12:33 pm

      One is always free to use any canning recipe or method you choose but this is not a practice I would recommend to my readers nor is it one that I follow. In my opinion it is best to be safe and use recipes and methods from reliable sources.

      From the US Center for Disease Control:

      “Prevention and control:

      Many outbreaks of foodborne botulism in the United States result from eating improperly preserved home-canned foods. Persons doing home canning and other food preservation should be educated about the proper time, pressure, and temperature required to destroy spores, the need for adequately refrigerated storage of incompletely processed foods, and the effectiveness of boiling, with stirring, home-canned vegetables to destroy botulinum toxins. A pressure cooker must be used to can vegetables at home safely because it can reach temperatures above boiling, which is necessary to kill botulism spores. Although botulism spores are heat stable, botulinum toxin is heat labile. Botulinum toxin can be inactivated by heating to 176�F (88C). Therefore, heating home-canned foods before consumption can reduce the risk of botulism intoxication.

      C. botulinum may cause container lids to bulge and the contents to have off-odors. Commercial cans or home-canned products with bulging lids should not be opened, and foods with off-odors should not be eaten or taste tested.

      For more information about safe home-canning procedures, contact your local county extension home economist or see the website the Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) at http://ext.usu.edu/publica/foodpubs.htm.”

      At my local flea market, every year I see jars of home canned Pumpkin Butter for sale. But is it safe? NO. Pumpkin is never safe to home can and our Center for Disease Control has been warning against home canning pumpkin for years. Yet I see recipes for canning Pumpkin Butter all over the internet. This is just one example of irresponsible recipes.

      From the University of Georgia, College of Family and Consumer Sciences:

      “Home canning is not recommended for pumpkin butter or any mashed or pureed pumpkin or winter squash. In 1989, the USDA’s Extension Service published the Complete Guide to Home Canning that remains the basis of Extension recommendations today, found in the September 1994 revision. The only directions for canning pumpkin and winter squash are for cubed pulp. In fact, the directions for preparing the product include the statement, “Caution: Do not mash or puree.”
      In accordance with the USDA recommendations, the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service does not have a recommendation for canning these products either. There are not sufficient data available to allow establishing safe processing times for any of these types of products. It is true that previous USDA recommendations had directions for canning mashed winter squash, but USDA withdrew those recommendations and any publications preceding the Complete Guide to Home Canning (September 1994) are considered out of date.

      Some of the factors that are critical to the safety of canned pumpkin products are the viscosity (thickness), the acidity and the water activity. Studies conducted at the University of Minnesota in the 1970’s indicated that there was too much variation in viscosity among different batches of prepared pumpkin purees to permit calculation of a single processing recommendation that would cover the potential variation among products (Zottola et. al, 1978). Pumpkin and winter squash are also low-acid foods (pH > 4.6) capable of supporting the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria which can cause the very serious illness, botulism, under the right storage conditions. If the bacteria are present and survive processing, and the product has a high enough water activity, they can thrive and produce toxin in the product.

      More recent research with pumpkin butter has been done at the University of Missouri. Pumpkin butter is mashed or pureed pumpkin that has had large quantities of sugar added to it, but not always enough to inhibit pathogens. Sometimes an ingredient such as vinegar or lemon juice is added to the formulation to increase the acidity (decrease the pH). However, pumpkin butters produced by home canners and small commercial processors in Missouri have had pH values as high as 5.4. In fact, the pH values seemed to be extremely variable between batches made by the same formulation (Holt, 1995).

      It is not possible at this point to evaluate a recipe for pumpkin or mashed squash for canning potential by looking at it. At this point, research seems to indicate variability of the products is great, and in several ways that raise safety concerns. It is best to freeze pumpkin butters or mashed squash.”

      Being Pumpkin Butter is one of our favorites, I was so disappointed to find out canning pumpkin or squash was not safe. However, you can freeze it with no problem.

  • Jenny Flake August 9, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Looks so greet! love the photos!!

  • Cookin' Canuck August 10, 2010 at 10:59 am

    What fresh, chunky salsa! I would be very happy if I had jars of this in my pantry all winter long.

  • Barbara Bakes September 11, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I have always been a bit nervous about canning, but this sounds so delicious I may just start!

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