Category Archives: Canning

Homemade Salsa and Canning Tips

It’s canning time again! A good friend from church passed along two big bags of tomatoes, so this morning I lugged my canning supplies down from attic storage and like a kid on Christmas morning, I dug into it. Exciting to find extra boxes of canning flats (lids) which means I can swing that many more pints or quarts than I originally thought!

The only disappointment I experience is slight regret that we haven’t been able to replace the dishwasher that quit on me…however long ago that was (last summer?). Dishwashers are so good for disinfecting jars and rings and keeping your jars on the hot side, which is a requirement when filling with hot salsa. But then, I’m always bragging about how much I love the simple, old-fashioned life, so here’s my chance to put my words into practice!

Nothing like canning to heat up a kitchen! Every burner is busy on my stove…one canner full of cold water and clean jars that can heat up together (ta-da: hot jars ready to fill)…one saucepan with lids and rings keeping hot…one kettle with boiling water to dip tomatoes in before their plunge into chilled water (skin just slips off)…and another kettle handy into which I’ll pour the hot water from the canning jars once I’m ready to exchange their H2O for salsa!

I’d be remiss here if I didn’t recommend the Ball Blue Book Guide to Home Canning, Freezing and Dehydration. Ever want to make Kiwi Jam? Pickled Okra? Peach Butter? This book is a homemaker’s dream. I’d think every woman should have a copy, not knowing what the future holds for our country. I’m not going Y2K on you, just advocating preparedness.

Never canned before? Find a Farm and Ranch Supply store and browse that aisle. You’ll see many tools of the trade. Besides canners, there are jar lifters (a must), wide-mouthed funnels (another must) and magnetic lid/ring lifters (not so necessary, I use a fork and quick fingers to lift mine from the hot saucepan). If you’d rather, just browse canning tools and supplies online…you’ll get hooked, I promise!

The following salsa recipe was one of my top hits last year, though it doesn’t have the hundreds of comments that the Amish Friendship Bread has to show for its popularity. I thought I’d repost it here today. My dh and I think it tastes a lot like the salsa at Carlos O’ Kelly’s, a popular Mexican restaurant here in the midwest.

Mary’s Mild Salsa–makes 10 pints

22 tomatoes (I put in twice as many if they’re on the small-to-medium side)
4 bell peppers, chopped fine
3 onions, chopped fine
1 cup vinegar
3/4-1 cup jalepeno peppers, chopped fine
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
1 cup (12 oz) tomato paste (I omit this)
Cilantro to taste
3 cloves garlic minced

After getting skin off tomatoes (dip in boiling water 20 seconds, then into cold–skin falls off), put 2/3 of them in blender and blend. Chop the rest of them (if you have a good blender you can blend all veggies together, we like it chunky) and put all ingredients into pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes. Use a ladle and funnel to fill hot jars with salsa, leaving 1 inch headspace. Slip a plastic knife or other non-metal straight object along sides of jar to release any bubbles. Wipe jar rim with clean washcloth for a good seal. Apply lid and ring and put jar into canner. It will be fine as you continue filling pints/quarts till canner is full. Water bathe pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 20.

Some people like to buy salsa “mix” at Wal Mart. I did this one year, and though the label said “mild” it wasn’t! That was a huge waste of my time and tomatoes, not nearly as good as homemade with all the fresh veggie additions and I was the only one who could handle the “heat”. So be warned.

If you want pictures and another recipe, this site has great pictures.

Well, I’m off…

Just two things:

Don’t forget that the Carnival of Modesty deadline is this Friday, August 3rd! Follow this link to submit and join the fun!

Be on the look-out this week, I have a wonderful author interview to post from friend and fellow homeschooler, Amy Wallace. She graciously shared how she schedules everything in, and her favorite curriculums, all in all it’s a very encouraging and uplifting read! As is her book Ransomed Dreams. If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?

Peach Lemonade Concentrate–Another Canning Recipe

This recipe is the brain child of my friend. The originial recipe came from a Taste of Home magazine and was for Strawberry Lemonade. Just substitute strawberries for the peaches if you’d like. Strawberry Lemonade makes beautiful Christmas gifts…especially if you give the jars dressy labels…either way, this concentrate mixed with lemon-lime soda makes for a very schmancy drinking experience!

Peach Lemonade

  • 4 quarts peaches, peeled and pitted
  • 4 cups fresh lemon juice (16 lemons) or 32 oz. ReaLemon
  • 3 quarts water
  • 6 cups sugar

In a blender, puree fruit. Place in a large (very large!) kettle; add lemon juice, water, and sugar. Bring to 165 degrees F over medium heat, stirring occasionally (do not boil). Remove from the heat; skim off foam. Pour into hot jars, leaving 1/4 ” headspace. Adjust caps. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath. To serve: Mix about 1/3 concentrate with 2/3 lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. Yield: 6-7 quarts concentrate.

Next way we’re planning on tweaking this recipe: Cherry Limeade…mmm!

Home-canned Salsa

We love Mexican food and this week, we’ve already been immersed in the stuff! I made Taco Soup and cornbread for supper Monday, canned salsa yesterday, and today (besides canning stewed tomatoes) I’ve been working on a triple batch of beef enchiladas…time consuming but oh so worth it! Wanted to share my salsa recipe with you…I’d someday like to find one with lime juice as the acid base…but we’re perfectly thrilled with this one so why bother, right?

Mary’s Mild Salsa–makes 10 pints

  • 22 tomatoes (I put in more if they’re on the small side)
  • 4 bell peppers, chopped fine
  • 3 onions, chopped fine
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 3/4 cup jalapeno peppers, chopped fine (confession, I use 4 small jalapenos–we like it really mild! so add peppers to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 cup (12 oz) tomato paste (this thickens your salsa nicely!)
  • Cilantro to taste (fresh is best!)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced

After getting skin off tomatoes (dip in boiling water 20 seconds, then into cold–skin falls off), you could put 2/3 of them in blender and blend, and then chop the rest of them, depending on how chunky you like your finished product.  We like it chunky so I usually just chop the whole batch and skip the blender. After chopping/blending, put all ingredients into pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes. Water bathe pints for 10 minutes, quarts, 20.

In years past I have omitted the tomato paste from my salsa and the result is a really runny salsa. Yes, it feels kind of like a cheat to add a can of tomato paste to home-canned salsa, but it really doesn’t take away from the taste, and results in a great consistency w/o hours and hours of stirring and boiling away your salsa to the right thickness. I’ve even done batches with 50% paste tomatoes, and still need to thicken it up. We like the Contadina brand tomato paste, it contains no high fructose corn syrup.

I’ll have to post the Taco Soup recipe sometime…it has taco seasoning mix, ranch dressing mix, corn, ranch-style beans…great, now I’m wishing I’d doubled that recipe!