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How to Can Salsa With Fresh Tomatoes

What an absolutely delightful thing it is to learn the relatively simple process of canning in a boiling water bath! Enjoy a simple recipe on "How to Can Salsa With Fresh Tomatoes" along with a Prudent Wife video that shows you exactly HOW to can salsa at home! What could be easier?

This was our FIRST ever canning project, done while tomatoes fresh from a friend's garden, as we were getting our home ready to move. So a lot was going on, and we ended up spending two days canning, making three different types of salsa, filming the entire adventure for you!  So if we can do it at this hectic moment in our lives, for the first time, YOU CAN TOO!

It really is quite easy to learn the boiling-water method of canning! Remember that in canning, everything must be kept scrupulously clean at all times! Cleanliness is next to godliness in this enterprise, and that extra ounce of caution goes a long way toward making a safe final product.

Canning is also about chemical reactions. While some things may not make sense up front, like why cook a fresh tomato salsa for 20 minutes, it is all in the interest of food safety! 

Start with a bucket of fresh, vine ripened tomatoes. Whether from your garden, a friend's or farmers market, make sure you have the best tasting tomatoes available. Clean them (scrubbing gently if they need it). Assemble the ingredients and get to cooking!

Before you begin, wash the canning jars in the dishwasher. If you have a sterilize cycle, use that, and leave in the dishwasher until you are ready to put them in the boiling water to sterilize.

  • Start with a sparkling clean kitchen. Scrub down countertops, stove top and sinks. Keep things clean as you are cooking! 
  • Get all of your canning paraphernalia ready. This includes jar lifters, tongs to lift the hot cans out of the water, pot holders, etc. Clean and sterilize if needed.
  • Assemble all of your ingredients 
  • Get your canning pot ready, filled with hot water and boiling. You will cook the salsa and sterilize your jars at the same time. Having both ready makes a big difference.
  • Get your salsa cooking pot ready.
  • Have a saucepan filled with hot water on the stove, to boil and sterilize the canning LIDS.
  • I kept a tea pot full of hot water on the stove, in case extra hot water was needed.
  • A new, clean pair of Rubbermaid gloves can help with handling hot chili peppers AND hot cans! 
  • Remember, like all Prudent Wife recipes, adjust seasonings to taste the way you want them to taste! We cook for our tastes! You can easily reduce the amount of jalapeno or Serrano peppers to suite your personal tastes.

 Fresh Tomato Salsa Recipe ~ Yield 8 pints

  • 8 jalapeno peppers (use at least 2 or 3, more if needed)
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil (EVOO) 
  •  2 onions chopped
  • 2 whole bulbs of garlic (you can use 5 cloves - 2 bulbs depending on how much garlic you like)
  • 13 vine ripened med to large tomatoes (if you choose to peel the tomatoes, feel free. We chose to keep the skins for extra fiber and nutrients)
  • 1-2 Tbsp of freshly cracked pepper 
  • 1-2 Tbsp NON iodized salt. Can using canning salt or a Sea Salt that does NOT have iodine. DO NOT USE TABLE SALT.
  • 2-6 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 cups lime juice, lemon juice, or a combination of both
  • 1/2 to 1 whole bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • OPTIONAL -- 1-4 chopped bell peppers (we don't like green bells, and did not want to add to the sweetness with other bells) 

Put a large soup pot on the stove, and pour a little olive oil on the bottom. Get out the food processer. Chop onions and garlic up, then over medium flame until softened. This helps release the flavor in each, but can be skipped if you want to. 

While that is cooking, core the tomatoes, cut into quarters and chop 3 or 4 at a time up in the food processor.  You can chop by hand if needed. Add to onion/garlic mixture on stove and keep processing tomatoes until through. As you add these to the pot, it will begin to look like a giant pot of spaghetti sauce. That is okay. Persevere - it is so delicious!

Add freshly cracked pepper, cumin, and lime juice. Add salt after lime juice (it causes the salsa to taste saltier, while using less salt.) The lime juice is what helps adjust the acidity of the salsa to proper balance. Do not skip the lemon or lime juice or your salsa may go bad.

Add cilantro and bring to a slow and gentle boil, and cook for 20 minutes. The salsa must cook for 20 minutes BEFORE processing the first batch. As weird as it might seem to all of us fresh salsa fanatics, this is absolutely necessary so it will keep properly.  

Meanwhile, your processing pot should be boiling as well. It is time to sterilize your jars. While salsa is boiling, carefully slide your first batch of jars into the boiling water in the pot next to it. We could process 4 pint jars with the pans we had. When both pots are boiling, set timer for 20 minutes, and you can relax. Or go ahead and clean up the kitchen!

LIDS: Take the smaller saucepan of water and set to a boil. Once boiling, put enough lids for the jars you are sterilizing. We were able to process 4 pints at a time, so boiled 4 lids at a time. This makes perfect sense when you are doing it!  Boil the LIDS for 5 minutes, which sterilizes them and makes the rubber adhere to the can, then turn the water to low.

Remember --> CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS IN CANNING! KEEP IT SCRUPULOUSLY CLEAN AT ALL TIMES!

Sterilizing the Jars 

Get ready for safe canning. Have towels available and potholders if needed. You are dealing with HOT items!  Have tongs for the lids and tongs for the cans, or jar lifters and lid lifters (specific canning tools available). We also had a cooling rack out. Put the dog away, and keep little children from being under foot.

When the 20 minutes of sterilizing the canning jars/boiling the tomato salsa is up, it is time to work quickly and efficiently. Pull a jar out, safely drain water, and place on rack. Using a funnel, fill with salsa to the neck of the jar. Repeat with all of the jars. 

With a CLEAN nubby towel with a bit of warm water on one end, WIPE down the jar tops and outsides. You have boiling salsa in a boiling jar - so be careful! You want to make sure all traces of salsa are OFF the top of the jar, and sides, so your lids will properly seal. Clean all jars the same way. If the towel gets salsa on it, continue wetting down the towel and using fresh sections to wipe new jars. Cleanliness!

Once the jars are wiped down, grab the lids out of the saucepan that is keeping them warm on the stove. Then take the round screw bands and screw them on tight. 

Processing:

Place jars CAREFULLY back into boiling water.  You may have to pull part of the water out, to accommodate the jars that are now filled with hot salsa. Bring back to a boil and process for 20 minutes.

Put the dog away, and keep little children from being under foot.

Carefully take the processed jars of salsa OUT of the boiling water. Be mindful that the glass has been under pressure and boiling for 40 minutes, and the glass, while strong, is still vulnerable. Put hot jars on a cooling rack.

After Processing: 

Listen for the musical sound of popping jar lids. As the jar lids pop, it signifies the jars are sealed! Jars generally pop within the first few minutes, up to an hour. If they have not popped within 24 hours, refrigerate and eat, it will not keep in the pantry.

Leave your beautiful jars of salsa on cooling racks for the next 24 hours. Label lids with a sharpie marker (you will throw the lids away after using once, so do not feel this is wasteful!) Store salsa in a pantry or on shelves. Do NOT store on top of concrete, but put on racks, wood, etc. 

Enjoy the taste of summer all winter long! Keep the jars for next year, as you plan different ways to can salsa!

Congratulations!!! You did it! 

Yield - about 8 pints of Salsa

Time - about 4 hours (I had a business call in the middle, so it took me 6 hours) 

 


Two More Prudent Wife Recipes for Salsa!



Serrano Jalapeno Salsa ~ Canning from Fresh Tomatoes

~ Yield 8 pints. 4  half pints for gifts

  • 6 jalapeno peppers (use at least 2 or 3, more if needed)
  • 3 Serrano peppers
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil (EVOO) 
  •  3 onions chopped
  • 2 whole bulbs of garlic (you can use 5 cloves - 2 bulbs depending on how much garlic you like)
  • 16 cups of vine ripened tomatoes (if you choose to peel the tomatoes, feel free. We chose to keep the skins for extra fiber and nutrients)
  • 1-2 Tbsp of freshly cracked pepper 
  • 1-3 Tbsp NON iodized salt. Can using canning salt or a Sea Salt that does NOT have iodine. DO NOT USE TABLE SALT.
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 1/4 cups lemon juice, lime juice, or a combination of both
  • 1/2 to 1 whole bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • OPTIONAL -- 1-4 chopped bell peppers (we don't like green bells, and did not want to add to the sweetness with other bells)

 Process as above.


 

Roasted Garlic Salsa ~ Canning from Fresh Tomatoes

~ Yield 8 pints

  • 7  jalapeno peppers (use at least 2 or 3, more if needed)
  • 1 Serrano peppers
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil (EVOO) 
  •  2 onions chopped
  • 2 whole bulbs of garlic (Roasting directions below)
  • 10 cups of vine ripened tomatoes (if you choose to peel the tomatoes, feel free. We chose to keep the skins for extra fiber and nutrients)
  • 1-2 Tbsp of freshly cracked pepper 
  • 2 Tbsp NON iodized salt. Can using canning salt or a Sea Salt that does NOT have iodine. DO NOT USE TABLE SALT.
  • 3 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 1/4 cups lemon juice, lime juice, or a combination of both
  • 1/2 to 1 whole bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • OPTIONAL -- 1-4 chopped bell peppers (we don't like green bells, and did not want to add to the sweetness with other bells)

Process as above

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