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Canning Tomato Salsa


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  • Tomatoes - about 15 lbs (yes, quite a few - you remove the skins, seeds and a lot of the water, so it takes a lot to start.) You'll need about 3 quarts of prepared chopped tomatoes. This makes about 8 pints of salsa!
  • Salsa mix or your own seasonings. The Ball salsa mix sells for about $2.00 to $4.00 per packet. A packet will make about a 7 pint jars. See step 7 below for seasonings.
  • 2 cups Lemon juice (if you make your own seasoning) or vinegar (if you use the Ball or Mrs. Wages mixes)
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 6 jalapeño peppers, seeded, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 12-ounce cans tomato paste (adds body)
  • 2 cups bottled lemon or lime juice (if you are using a mix, be sure to follow their recipe; the packet mixes often use vinegar instead of lemon juice)
  • 1 tablespoon salt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional - you use Stevia, my preference (or if you prefer, Splenda) if you are on a sugar-restricted diet, or simply omit the sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons oregano leaves or chopped cilantro (optional)



Step 1

After you have peeled the skins off the tomatoes, cut the tomatoes in half. Now we need to remove the seeds and excess wateToss the squeezed (Squozen? :) tomatoes into a colander or drainer, while you work on others. This helps more of the water to drain off. You may want to save the liquid: if you then pass it through a sieve, screen or cheesecloth, you have fresh tomato juice; great to drink cold or use in cooking!

Next chop them up - I like 1/2 inch size cubes. You'll need about 3 quarts of peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes
I use an electric chopper (food processor) to dice the seasonings fairly fine, about 1/8 inch cubes.

<-- Start with the chopped tomatoes in the pot...

Add the seasonings and bring to a gentle simmer, just to get it hot (180 F, if you have a thermometer) there's no need to cook it; only to get it hot enough to ready it for water bath processing to kill any bacteria and enzymes.. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Taste it as it cooks. If you like the sauce hotter, add 1 teaspoon of chili powder.

Step 9 - Fill the jars with sauces and put the lid and rings on

Fill them to within ¼-inch of the top, seat the lid and hand-tighten the ring around them.

Be sure the contact surfaces (top of the jar and underside of the ring) are clean to get a good seal!

Step 10 - Boil the jars in the canner

Put them in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling. Process the jars in a boiling-water bath for:
Recommended process time for Tomato/Tomato Paste Salsa in a boiling-water canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack

Jar Size - pint for 20 minutes

The USDA says the only change you can safely make in this salsa recipe is to change the amount of spices and herbs. Do not alter the proportions of vegetables to acid and tomatoes because it might make the salsa unsafe. Do not substitute vinegar for the lemon juice.

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