Sometimes, during the summer, our tomato plants decide to have a party on the vine, so to speak, and produce way more tomatoes than we can possibly eat, even if we are eating them every day, sliced, salted, and served with a little balsamic or mayo.
What do you do with your excess garden tomatoes?
Canning Salsa With Excess Garden Tomatoes
Pull a jar out in the middle of winter and use as a dip with tortilla chips (if the jars last that long, we go through salsa pretty quickly around here!)
Ingredients for Canned Salsa
This canned salsa recipe uses specific amounts of ingredients, balancing the non-acidic ingredients with the amount of added acid needed to make the recipe safe.
In order for this salsa to be safe for water bath canning, don't substitute or decrease the vinegar.
How to Can Salsa
Canning salsa is pretty easy if you have the right equipment. In addition to the ingredients, you'll need a large stock pot or canning pot, a flat steamer rack to go in the pot for water bath canning, and 5 to 6 pint-sized canning jar with rings and lids.
To start, you'll want to heat the jars in a large pot of boiling water — the same pot you'll use for water bath canning at the end of the recipe.
While you are heating the water for the jars, you can roast the chile peppers, and cook the tomatoes (blanch, grill, or broil). Once the chile peppers and tomatoes have been cooked and prepped, all of the salsa ingredients go into a large pot and simmered for 10 minutes.
Ladle the salsa into your sterilized canning jars, seal, and place in a water bath for 15 minutes.
Vinegar Makes Salsa Safe to Can
Problem: Low Acid Foods - The trick to canning shelf-stable foods is the acidity. If you have the right amount of acidity, it creates an unpleasant environment for dangerous botulism bacteria to grow. When canning low acid foods such as green chiles, you need to either can them under pressure (using a pressure-canner), or if you use a simple water-bath canning process, add enough acidity to prevent bacteria from growing.
Solution: Vinegar - It is the vinegar in the salsa ingredients that make this salsa safe for canning using a water bath canning method. Tomatoes are already slightly acidic, and only need a little more acid to be safely canned using this method. But the chiles are not acidic, so they need more vinegar.
If you pressure-can instead water bath canning, you can dial back the vinegar. And if you plan on eating the salsa right away, or freezing it, you won't need as much vinegar either.
To balance the taste of the vinegar in the canning salsa, we add some sugar to the mix. This combination intensifies the flavor of the salsa and also helps the salsa from tasting too vinegary.
Have a Surplus of Tomatoes? Here Are More Recipes
- Fresh Tomato Salsa (Pico de Gallo)
- Basic Tomato Sauce
- Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil
- Homemade Tomato Juice
Canned Tomato Salsa
Before starting, prepare your workspace so that it is clean and uncluttered. If you don't want to roast your own green chiles, you can sub with about two 7-ounce cans of green chiles, chopped.
This recipe uses specific amounts of ingredients, balancing the non-acidic ingredients with the amount of added acid needed to make the recipe safe. Do not increase the amount of green chiles beyond 1 1/2 cups, or decrease the amount of tomatoes less than 7 cups.
5 pounds tomatoes
1 pound large Anaheim green chiles (5 to 6 chiles)
3 jalapeño chiles, seeded and stems removed, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh chopped cilantro (including stems)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar or more (to taste, depending on how sweet your tomatoes are)
Heat the jars in a water bath:
Place a steamer rack in the bottom of a large (16-quart) stock pot or canning pot. Place new or clean mason jars on the rack. Fill the jars with water and fill the pot with just enough water to come to the top of the jars. Heat water to a simmer. Keep the jars warm while preparing the salsa.
Because the jars will be processed in the water bath for more than 10 minutes, it is not necessary to first sterilize the jars for this recipe. Do make sure your jars are clean and hot.
Wash the lids in hot, soapy water. Dry well and set aside.
Roast the chiles:
Roast the Anaheim chiles until blackened all over. The best way to do this is directly over a gas flame on the stovetop (see how to roast chiles.) If you don't have a gas stove you can broil the chiles, or blister them on a grill.
Note that it is not essential that the chiles be cooked through, only that the outer tough skin is blistered and blackened. This is what will help with flavor. Also it will make it easy to peel the chiles.
Just put the chiles near a heat source until blistered and blackened, and turn them so that they get blackened on all sides.
Then place the chiles in a brown paper bag (or in a covered bowl), close the bag and let the chiles steam in their own heat for a few minutes.
Then gently rub off the outer skin and discard. Cut away the stems and remove the seeds and any prominent veins.
Chop up the chiles and set aside; you should have 1 cup of chopped chiles. Do not use more than 1 1/2 cups of chopped chiles.
Prepare the tomatoes:
You want the tomatoes peeled, and there are several ways of doing that. Blanching them is easiest; grilling or broiling will result in more flavor.
To blanch them, score the ends of the tomatoes and place them in boiling water for a minute.
If you are going to grill or broil the tomatoes, I recommend coring them first. Grilling is best with whole plum tomatoes; grill them on high direct heat until blackened in parts and the peels are cracked.
Broiling works with any sized tomato. Just cut them in half and place the cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Broil until the peels are blackened in parts.
Remove the tomatoes (from water, grill or broiler) and let cool to the touch. Remove and discard the peels. Cut away any cores if you haven't done so already. Chop the tomatoes taking care to save any juices that may come out of them.
Starting with 5 pounds of tomatoes you should end up with about 8 cups of chopped tomatoes and juices. (You must use at least 7 cups of tomatoes.) Place them in a bowl and set aside.
Simmer the ingredients in a large pot:
Put all of the ingredients into a large (8-quart) stainless steel pot. (Do not use aluminum or the acidity of the sauce will cause the aluminum to leach into the sauce.)
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes.
Blend a portion of the salsa (optional):
If you want your salsa to be more smooth than chunky, use an immersion blender to pulse it a few times, or working in batches ladle about half of it into a blender and purée.
Season to taste:
Taste the salsa. If it's too acidic, add more sugar to balance the vinegar! If too sweet, add a bit more vinegar.
Try tasting the salsa on a tortilla chip (versus a spoonful) to get a better idea of how the flavors are coming together.
Ladle the salsa into hot jars:
Ladle the hot salsa into the hot canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch of empty space between the top of the salsa and the rim of the jar. Wipe the rims with a clean, dampened paper towel so that there is no residual food on the rims.
Place the canning lids on the jars. Screw on the rings. Do not over-tighten or you may not get a good seal. Air does need to escape from the jars during the next step, the water bath.
Boil in a water bath:
Place the filled jars back onto the rack in the pot of hot water you used to heat the jars. You may need to remove some of the water from the pot to prevent it from overfilling.
Cover the jars with at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a rolling boil and process for 15 minutes (adjust for altitude, if needed: 20 minutes for altitudes 1000 to 6000 feet, 25 minutes above 6000 feet). Then turn off heat and let the jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes.
Let the jars cool, then check for a seal:
Remove jars from the water bath and let them sit on a counter for several hours until completely cool. The lids should "pop" as the cooling salsa creates a vacuum under the lid and the jars are sealed.
If a lid has not sealed, either replace the lid and reprocess in a water bath for another 15 minutes, or store in the refrigerator and use within the next few days.
Remember to label the cans with the date processed. (I use a Sharpie on the lid.) Canned salsa should be eaten within 1 year.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 5g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 18mg||89%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|