We’ve been blessed with a continued spell of warm weather here in Northern Illinois, but this trend is bound to take a turn soon. My tomato plants are still producing (as are my peppers, eggplants and beans), but the cool nights are definitely stunting their growth. In the meantime, I’ve got my usual plethora of tomatoes, so, along with skinning and freezing some for sauce in the winter, I also make canned salsa with some of them.
I start by skinning all of my tomatoes by rinsing them well, scoring an “x” into the bottom of them with a knife, plunging them into a pan of boiling water (you only need a few inches of water in the pan), covering them and letting them boil for about 2 minutes, and then scooping them out with a slotted spoon and plunging them into an ice bath.
Once they’ve cooled, I place them in a colander to drain and then peel the skins off and throw the skinned tomatoes back into a pan, crushing them a bit with my hand first.
Yes, this is messy work. I then simmer the tomatoes, uncovered, for about an hour. Why? To reduce the liquid in them, so my salsa isn’t completely watery and runny. Now let’s make some salsa.
Chunky Tomato Salsa Canning Recipe
Makes 6 pints
- 10 cups tomatoes (skinned and simmered of their excess juices, see note above)
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 6 cups yellow, red and/or green bell peppers, largely diced
- 4 cups Vidalia onion, largely diced
- 1-2 jalapenos, chopped (adjust to your liking)
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Place all of the ingredients in a large pan and slowly bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Fill hot, sterilized jars with salsa to 1/4 inch from the rim. Wipe rims and seal with sterilized lids and bands. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Carefully remove from pan and let sit until all the lids have sealed. Cool completely and then store. Best if left for 4 weeks before using, to let the flavors really come together.
I added a scotch bonnet pepper to this because I grew them this year, we’re crazy about heat and maybe just a little crazy. Of course, you could use a habanero, instead, or omit the really hot pepper all together.
Always be sure you’re following safe canning practices when home canning your recipes. Sterilize all of your jars, lids and bands immediately before canning and be very careful with the hot jars and boiling water.
Home canning is easy if you have the correct equipment. I love canning pint jars instead of quart jars because the smaller canner is much faster to come to a boil. I hope you try this and enjoy it as much as we do. It makes a wonderful appetizer at the holidays and also a nice game-day treat during football season.
Eat well and enjoy!