Salsa for Home Canning

8 cups tomatoes (chopped roughly – I do not peel my organic tomatoes)
2 cups onions, minced (we prefer the sweet onions)
1 1/2 cups green bell peppers, de-seeded and chopped
1 cup jalapeno peppers, chopped (de-seed if you prefer less heat… and wear gloves!)
10 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/8 cup canning salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 12-oz jar or can of tomato paste

* Mix all ingredients together in large stock pot; bring to slow boil for 10 minutes.
* Ladle into hot canning jars; seal and process in hot water bath for 15 minutes (at 3000′ elevation).

I’ll be honest… salsa is one of those things that lend themselves very well to the “fast and loose” approach I have to recipes, even canning recipes. As long as you maintain the ratio of tomatoes (acidic) and apple cider vinegar (to tweak the acid level even higher for food safety) to vegetables by about 3 to 1, your food should be safe. For example, have other types of peppers than just jalapeno? Red bells instead of green bells? Like lots of garlic? Hate cilantro? Make those changes and keep the ratio.

I mentioned that I don’t peel my organic tomatoes; if your tomatoes are not organic, or you prefer them peeled, by all means peel away! Dip them in boiling water for 30-60 seconds, scoop out with a big slotted spoon and dip in ice water. The skins should slip off fairly easily.

And never, please, NEVER chop up peppers without rubber gloves!! My first experience with my beautiful canned jalapeno peppers back in 1997 later involved wrapping my fire-filled fingers with wet cloth, taking Tylenol, and struggling through the night trying to sleep. 🙂 There is a very good reason why the best, strongest deep-muscle pain relief creams involve capsicum, the active ingredient in peppers… it’s strong stuff, and your skin and anywhere you accidentally scratch will rue the day!

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