Canning Salsa Ingredients
Canning Salsa: Acids
The acid ingredients help preserve canned salsas. Acids have been used in salsa recipes canned in boiling water to make them safe enough to do so. The acids are usually commercially bottled vinegar or lemon juice. Buy a vinegar of at least 5 percent acidity; do not use homemade vinegar because the acidity can vary and will be unknown.
The amounts of vinegar or lemon juice in a recipe for canning cannot be reduced. It is important to use a tested recipe so the minimum amount of these acids to make the recipe safe is also known. Sugar can be used to offset the tartness of the acid. An equal amount of bottled lemon juice may be substituted for vinegar in recipes, but do not substitute vinegar for lemon juice. This substitution will result in a less acid and potentially unsafe canned salsa.
The quality of your salsa will be affected by the tomatoes you choose. Paste tomatoes, such as Roma, have more flesh or solid tissue. They will produce thicker salsas than slicing tomatoes which yield more juice and a watery salsa.
Select only disease-free, preferably vineripened, firm tomatoes. Canning is not a way to use overripe or spoiling tomatoes. Do not can tomatoes from dead or frost-killed vines. Green tomatoes may be used for ripe tomatoes, but do not expect the same flavor. When recipes call for peeled tomatoes, remove the peel by dipping washed tomatoes into boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split. Dip immediately into cold water, then slip skins off and remove cores and seeds.
Canning Salsa: Tomatillos
Tomatillos are also known as Mexican husk tomatoes. The dry outer husk must be removed, but they do not need to be peeled or have the seeds removed.
Peppers range from mild to scorching in taste, or the “heat” factor, and that is what makes many salsa fans want to experiment with recipes. Mild pepper varieties include Anaheim, Ancho, College, Colorado and Hungarian Yellow Wax. If a recipe calls for “long green chiles,” choose a mild pepper.
Jalapeño is a very popular hot pepper. Other hot varieties include Cayenne, Habanero, Serrano and Tabasco. Do not touch your face, particularly the area around your eyes, when you are handling hot chiles.
Caution: Wear plastic or rubber gloves and do not touch your face while handling or cutting hot peppers. If you do not wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes.
Use only high quality peppers. You may substitute one type of pepper for another or bell peppers (mild) for some or all of chiles. Do not increase the total amount (pounds or cups) of peppers in any recipe. Do not substitute the same number of whole peppers of a larger size for the number of peppers of a smaller size (e.g., do not use 3 bell peppers or long chiles in place of 3 jalapeños). This will result in changing the final acidity of the mixture and potentially unsafe canned salsa.
Many recipes do not say to peel hot peppers, others do. Usually when peppers are finely chopped, they do not need to be peeled. The skin of long green chiles may be tough. If you are directed to peel peppers, or choose to, there are directions in the recipes for peeling methods.
Some salsa recipes in this publication contain fruits. Choose high-quality fruit that is disease-free and firm. Overripe or spoiling fruit should not be used in canning even if it is to be cut up.
If a recipe calls for green or unripe mango, do not use ripe mango. This will result in changing the final acidity of the mixture and potentially unsafe canned salsa.
Canning Salsa: Spices and Herbs
Spices and herbs add unique flavors to salsas. Amounts of spices and herbs in these recipes (black pepper, salt, oregano, pickling spice, dried red pepper flakes, and ground cumin) may be altered. For a stronger cilantro flavor in recipes with cilantro, it is suggested to add fresh cilantro just before serving instead of adding more before canning.
Red and yellow onions may be substituted for each other. Do not increase the total amount of onions in any recipe. This will result in changing the final acidity of the mixture and potentially unsafe canned salsa.
Recommended Tested Canning Salsa Recipes