Throughout spring and summer we prepared fresh salsa about once a week- sometimes even more. As fall set in I noticed that we had not been making fresh salsa nearly as much, although we have been making many meals that are naturally complimented by salsa. We started to miss it. With busy lives and produce seasons changing the desire and convenience of making fresh salsa has slowed down.
We never buy store bought salsa for a few reasons, the first being the fact that I don’t tolerate onions and I have never seen a store bought jar of salsa excluding them (let me know if you know of one!) We consciously try to avoid purchasing pre-packaged food that contain unnecessary ingredients and preservatives, and also because it can get kind of pricey — once you figure out how inexpensive and delicious it is to make your own fresh salsa it just doesn’t seem worth it to buy mass produced versions anymore. Of course there are decent market fresh salsas — but all of which will contain onions, suitable for the majority. A jarred salsa is so convenient and a perfect snack, and since we don’t purchase it from the store and haven’t been making it fresh, we have been deprived. This is why we decided to can our own. We have thought about doing this for a while and now we’re living the dream! We have a full stock of custom salsa in the cabinet! Like fresh salsa there are many “right” ways to do this. Here is how our first attempt went.
Ingredients : plum tomatoes, bell peppers (green, red, orange, yellow), jalapeños, habaneros, lime, salt, cilantro.
Supplies needed : canning tools, 5-6 pint jars, large pot for boiling.
8 cups plum tomatoes seeded and diced
2 green peppers
2 yellow peppers
1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
4 fat mild jalapeños
5 pieces of garlic
7 table spoons lime
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 bundles cilantro- 1 heaping cup chopped
Before you start this process make sure you have all of your canning equipment ready (jars with fresh lids, a pot large enough to boil the jars with 2 inches of water over top, and canning tools for lifting the hot jars/lids from the water). Wash your jars with hot water and soap, set aside while you prepare your ingredients. If you have an extremely large pot to boil your jars it may take quite a while to heat up the water — you can set it to warm up at anytime so you’re not in a situation where you are waiting for long. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the tops of the jars with 2 inches of water.
Prepare all of the ingredients before cooking. Seed and dice the tomatoes and peppers, pluck the cilantro leaves from the stem and chop finely, crush and mince the garlic. Once you have chopped everything it is time to cook!
We used a 4 quart pot which would hold up to 8 pints worth of salsa — this batch made 5 1/2 pints for us. Heat up the pot with a splash of olive oil and add your garlic, jalapeños, & habaneros. Sauté for a moment and include the rest of your peppers.
Add tomatoes and simmer for a couple of minutes, it will become more soupy.
Throw in cilantro, lime, & salt to taste. Bring salsa to a full boil for at least 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and cover while you sterilize your jars before canning. Place washed jars in the pot of water to simmer for 5 minutes, do not boil. Place lids (not the rings) in a separate pot of water to simmer, do not boil. Remove the jars from the water bath with the jar lifters and place on a heat safe surface, we use a wooden cutting board.
Fill your jars with the salsa leaving about a ½ inch of space from the top. Use a funnel to avoid spilling on the jar. Poke the mixture with a clean utensil to push out any extra air bubbles — we use a chop stick. Wipe around the rim of the jar with a clean towel before closing.
With the magnetic lid lifter place your jar lid and screw the band on with enough force but not too tight. Use the jar lifters to place jars back into the water bath and bring to a rolling boil for at least 5 minutes. Remove jars right side up and place back on to the heat safe surface, allow to rest undisturbed for 24 hours. Over the next hour you will hear pops from the lids which indicates a successful canning. The following day your jars should be complete. Test that they were canned successfully by lifting the jar by just the sealed lid (remove the screw top), it should be securely attached.
For more instructions and information on canning please refer to Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving or other sources with more experience; we are amateurs.
The salsa turned out to be delicious, though fresh is still better, but now we have enough salsa to last us several weeks, maybe even months! It took a little time to do, but if you’re like me it was a fun activity and we saved a lot of money by doing it. We listed out the cost of this particular salsa below, to make 5+ pints of salsa it cost us just under $9.00! I’d say that’s pretty good, an average pint of salsa at the grocery store would cost around $5.00 which means we saved over $15.00 and we are glad to know exactly how it was made and processed.
bell peppers- $2.94
total cost $8.95 for 5 pints of fresh custom salsa.