Lately I have been looking forward to Sundays, as it’s the day of the week that I normally tackle a new project around home. Today I tried my hand at canning homemade salsa. The recipe I used below makes 3 pints and is adapted from Ball Beginner’s Guide to Canning & Recipe Booklet. I’ve modified the recipe a bit to give it a little spicy kick, and I ended up with about 1 cup extra salsa to have with dinner. If you’re not interested in canning, and plan to eat all the salsa within the next week or two, you can cut the recipe in half or one-third and ignore steps 1, 3 and 4.
To begin canning, you’ll need the following equipment – a large stockpot that is at least 7 1/2 inches tall and 9 1/2 inces in diameter, a plastic or metal canning rack that will fit in your stockpot and prevent the jars from rattling, and 3 pint size glass jars with metal rings and unused lids. Other useful tools especially for canning include a pair of tongs, a special magnet contraption to help remove the metal lids from boiling water, a funnel that conforms to the mouths of your jars, and a small non-metallic spatula. I bought my equipment in 2 separate starter kits at my local grocery store.
Step 1: Before you begin canning, you must sterilize all of your equipment in hot, soapy water. I recommend doing this by hand. Next, fill your stockpot with enough water to cover your jars with at least 1 inch of water. Place the jars (minus the lids and rings) in the plastic or wire rack and bring the water to a simmer. It is important to keep your jars warm while you prepare the salsa so that the jars don’t break once the hot mixture is added. You can add your lids, funnel and spatula to the water as well to make sure these items remain sterile.
Step 2: To make the salsa nice and spicy you will need 5 cups of chopped tomatoes, 2 1/2 cups of chopped & seeded green bell peppers, 2 1/2 cups chopped onions, 1 1/2 cups of chopped & seeded jalapenos, 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar, 4 finely chopped garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons cilantro, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (i.e. Tabasco or Tapatio), 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder.
Dump all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently for another 10 minutes while continuing to stir frequently. The sauce should thicken a bit.
Step 3: Turn off the heat on your salsa and carefully remove the sterilzed equipment from the stockpot of simmering water with your tongs and magnetic lid-lifter. Dump any water from the inside of your jars back into the pot. Leave the heat turned on in the stockpot. Placing the funnel into the mouth of a pint jar, ladle the hot salsa into the jar leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use the small spatula to remove air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean cloth or damp paper towel. Center the lid on the jar and twist the ring on until it is snug but not overly tight. Repeat with the other two jars.
Step 4: Crank up the heat to medium-high and cover the stockpot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat while maintaining a consistent boil and leave the stockpot covered for the next 20 minutes. If you live above 1,000 feet elevation boil for 25 minutes total and 30 minutes if you live above 3,000 feet elevation. When the time is up, turn off the heat, remove the stockpot’s cover and let sit in the pot for another 5 minutes. Then carefully remove the jars and place on a potholder or wire rack to cool for the next 12 hours.
To test if your jars preserved properly, press on the center of the cooled lid. If the jar is sealed correctly, the lid will not flex up or down. If the lid flexes, refrigerate your jar for immediate consumption. Otherwise your salsa will be good stored in the cupboard for around 1 year.