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I’m so confused. I was all prepared to can this year so I could enjoy my tomato sauce and my salsa over the winter without having to take up freezer space. I figured I’d make it like normal, maybe add some lemon juice for acidity, then can them up as per normal. Now I’m reading that basically I should under no circumstances do that because the acidity won’t be known for sure unless I call in a scientist, and I might kill everyone who eats my salsa in January.

But to me, there is little point in canning if I am not canning my own recipe! If I do say so myself, I make an awesome salsa and tomato sauce, and I want to enjoy *that* over the winter. Not some other person’s recipe.

So…what do I do? Any ideas? Can I can my own stuff or what?

Just for kicks, since I just made a big batch of salsa and took pics with my FANCY new camera my hubby bought me for my bday last week, here’s a more step-by-step of the salsa recipe linked above. I make this every few weeks over the summer. This ingredient list might help you decide if I can can or not, too? The below made the equivalent of about 2 jars of salsa.

INGREDIENTS:
-15 medium ripe slicer and/or roma tomatoes
-large handful of cherry tomatoes (I am using sungold)
-7-10 peppers, depending on how hot you want things (I am using jalapeno, cayenne red and green, and habanero orange and green). If you don’t have enough peppers, substitute Sriracha hot sauce to make up the difference.
-about 3/4 cup of sugar
-about a tablespoon of salt
-black pepper to taste
-sprinkle of onion powder
-about a tablespoon of adobo, taco, or mexican seasoning
-this time, I also added a large handful of lemon balm because it needed to be cut back. Add cilantro if you like it (I dislike it a lot)
-possible extras: corn, black beans, chickpeas, pineapple, peach

tomatoes in the sink

peppers sungold

cayenne, habanero, jalapeno, sungold tomatoes

I highly recommend a cutting board with a nice reservoir for slicing tomatoes (this one was actually a wedding gift to my parents). Mine will be full of juice by the time I slice all these. I slice mine to the size pictured below before putting them in a large pot. The peppers I chop much more finely. (Hint: slice tomatoes with a serrated knife. It’s way easier.)
slicing tomatoes

After your tomatoes are all sliced, add the dry ingredients, then stir it all up and turn your burner on medium. Let sit covered until it starts to simmer a lot or just comes to a boil.
salsa ingredients

salsa-stirred

mixed


salsa-simmering

simmering

Once it’s been simmering for a while, turn the burner off, leave the cover on, and let it sit until it cools down a bit. It’s all ready to jar up now (taste first to make sure you don’t want to add either more hot sauce or sugar before letting it completely cool) – you just have to strain it out. I really need a large mesh colander for this and will eventually get one, but for now I just use a small mesh strainer and/or a slotted spoon, combined with holding the lid on with a tiiiiny gap and draining the whole pot. I really need to remember the colander next time I go to WalMart. If you want, save the juices! They still have all that spicy, tomato-y goodness. Use it as a marinade, or put it on low heat for a while, let it thicken, and use it as a sauce.

salsa

all ready to drain and eat

For now, since I don’t know if I can can it or not, I am just storing it in the fridge like normal. I did put some in a jar for a friend’s birthday, but it’s not “canned” so it will have to stay in the fridge. I also went ahead and froze another batch that had been in the fridge for a while. So much salsa!!

salsa-jar

jarred but not canned salsa


salsa-freeze

salsa to freeze

So….can I can my salsa and tomato sauce or can I not can them? Help.

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One of my favorite things about summertime is that I get to make my own salsa with ingredients fresh from my garden. Neither my hubby nor I like onions. (Yes you CAN taste them, and more than that you can feel their texture that totally weirds me out. I am not a picky eater other than meat and onions – it just so happens that both of these things can be very hard to avoid!) Though we can handle them in things like salsa and spaghetti sauce, it’s sooooo much nicer if I just make it myself without. Of course, add onions to this recipe if you’d like, but I don’t think it needs them.

Jennah's salsa

Jennah's salsa

My tomatoes (besides the cherries) aren’t quite ready yet, but I had some tomatoes from the Amish that needed to be used before they went bad, so I figured I might as well do my first salsa of the season. The peppers are from my garden, and I use seasonings from my garden when I can. Most of these things are easy to find, and fresh salsa is a great healthy snack to have on hand. The measurements here made the jar in the pics, but it’s all to taste. But here’s what I use…

Does anyone have a Tostito?

Does anyone have a Tostito?

Jennah’s Easy Garden Salsa

  • Tomatoes! 3 large red and about 8 cherry (I usually like to use a mix of large ones and cherry/grape ones.)
  • jalapeno peppers – 2
  • cayenne pepper – 1 large or 2 small
  • banana peppers – 2
  • cilantro – small handful
  • a little bit of pineapple sage and lemon balm (a leaf or two or each)
  • splash of lemon and/or lime juice
  • sugar – about 1/4 cup to taste
  • salt and pepper ( I use sea salt) – about 1t
  • taco or fajita seasoning – about 1t (adjust salt if this has a lot of salt already)
  • hot sauce – to taste – I used sriracha this time
  • If you’d like, you can also add a slice or two of peach or pineapple

Cut everything up into small pieces and mix together well. I prefer to slice by hand – I have an electric chopper, but I find that tends to turn things (esp tomatoes) into more of a sauce than small pieces. If you’d like, you can stop here and it tastes great, but I tend to prefer it cooked a little bit.

So, if you want to cook it, just put it all over low heat for a while (cover if you like). Once it starts to bubble, turn off heat. You’ll need to drain the excess water – I use a small strainer over a glass or bowl. The one I have lets me prop the salsa jar up and let it drain on its own for a few minutes. Don’t throw the juice away! It’s great for a marinade or to add when cooking rice or various stir-fry dishes. So drain the excess water and let it sit. That’s it! Salsa is best after it’s been sitting in the fridge for a few hours at least. (Keep it in the fridge, of course!)

Let me know if you try it or if you have your own variation!

visit jennahsgarden.com



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