As we enjoy the unseasonably warm October days, perhaps our NJ gardens are yielding more red, ripe tomatoes and green peppers. Here at Garden Beds NJ, we thought it might be fun to share instructions and a recipe for making homemade salsa.
Large pot with lid, such as Dutch oven
10 to 15 pint canning jars with rings, and new lids
Kettle or smaller pot for boiling extra water
4 quarts Roma tomatoes, blanched and peeled, stems and cores cut off
6-8 cups bell peppers
4 jalapenos, chopped (leave membranes and seeds in tact if you prefer them hot!)
3 cups onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 12-oz. cans tomato paste
2 cups bottled lemon juice
1 Tbsp. canning salt or sea salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
Boil a large pot of water. It helps if you already own a canning set, but if not, a large pot and some canning tongs will do. Also boil a kettle of water on the side, in case you need to pour in extra boiling water. Wash jars, lids and rings.
Prepare and combine all ingredients, and add to a second large pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes.
Sterilize your canning jars by carefully submerging them in the pot of boiling water, covered by an inch of water over the tops of the filled jars. (If there is not enough water, add more to the pot from your kettle of water that you boiled in advance).
Let submerged jars continue to boil for 10 minutes. Remove new lids from packaging and place in a smaller pot of warm water (do not boil).
Use canning tongs to carefully remove jars from boiling water, making sure to dump out all the hot water from each jar back into the pot. Place hot jars on counter. Fill with the hot salsa, using a funnel to reduce mess. Wipe off rims of jars. Place lids and rings on jars, just to finger-tip tight.
Return filled, lidded jars of salsa to the hot water bath, again covered with an inch of boiling water (add more from kettle again if necessary), and boil for another 20 minutes.
Remove jars from hot water bath. Set on towel-covered counter top with 2 inches of space around each jar. Let cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours.
As each jar’s contents cools and the vacuum seal is established, you’ll hear a popping sound. This is confirmation that the process was completed and your homemade salsa has been safely sterilized, canned and sealed to air-tight.
After 24 hours is up, check that all jars have sealed by removing the rings from each jar and pressing down on the middle of its lid. The lid should not “pop.” Also check that the jar’s lid cannot be pried off with your fingers. If it does pop, or if the lid comes off, the seal has been broken and the contents should be refrigerated and used within 3 days.
After all jars have cooled and sealed, return rings to jars and store in a cool, dry place until ready to enjoy.
Liked this article? Then you’ll appreciate our e-guide, “Preserving the Harvest: How to Can, Freeze, Pickle, Dehydrate and Cold-Store Your Favorite In-Season Fruits & Vegetables for Year-Round Use.”
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Photo of canned salsa submitted by Heather Jansen of Harmony, NJ.
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