A simple recipe for canning tomato salsa - easy to follow step by step instructions, even if you are a newbie canner!
First up, a HUGE thank you to Mel from Mel's Kitchen Café for allowing me to share this recipe here - it is Mel's original recipe that I have been making for a few years now, I've just adjusted the ingredients and measurements to make it easy to follow for anyone in New Zealand. Make sure you check out Mel's website for an unbelievable collection of tried and true recipes!
The thing that is important to note about this recipe is that it has been tested for safe canning. Bottling or canning tomatoes can be tricky as they are low in acid (surprising, right?) and the addition of extra ingredients such as onions, garlic and peppers needs to be balanced out with a high acid ingredient (in this case vinegar) in order to keep the contents of the jar safe for processing and storing at room temperature. It is vital that you don't mess around with the quantities as this can effect the safety of the final product.
So with all that said, if you love corn chips and salsa as much as I do, you are going to LOVE this recipe! I remember the first time I made this recipe and I was hooked - since then, it's been on my must do list for preserving summer tomatoes. It doesn't compare at all to the salsas you can buy in supermarkets here - it's fresh, packed full of flavour, makes the perfect dip to go along with corn chips and is also fantastic baked with chicken!
The only change I have made to this recipe is that I take my stick mixer and run it through the salsa before I put it in jars. I find that this makes the salsa a consistent texture that is perfect for scooping up on corn chips!
If you are new to canning, don't be put off by this. I will walk you through exactly how to do it but check out my post on waterbath canning first to get familiar with the process.
Alternatively, if you don't want to bottle it, this salsa can definitely be eaten immediately!
The hardest and most time consuming part of this whole recipe is peeling the tomatoes (there are 2 options). It's a bit of a fiddly process but once you get it done, the rest of the recipe is a breeze!
How to peel tomatoes (2 options):
Blanch and peel - Bring a large pot of water to the boil and fill the clean sink with cold water and ice. Score a cross in the bottom of the tomatoes and place several in the boiling water for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until the skins start to peel back. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes to the ice water and once they are cool enough to handle, remove the skins - they should slip right off.
Grill (this is the way Mel does it) - line a large rimmed oven tray with baking paper or a silicone liner. Slice the tomatoes in half and place skin side up on the tray. Place under the pre heated grill (as hot as it can go) for a few minutes, keeping a close eye on them. Once the skins start to blister, remove the tray from the oven. Once they are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off and discard.
Drain the tomatoes:
This is important for the thickness of the salsa, particularly if you are using a juicier variety of tomatoes. Once I have peeled the tomatoes, I core them and the roughly chop them and place in a colander or sieve over a bowl. Let them drain for about 30 minutes.
Chop the vegetables:
You can absolutely do this by hand, but I prefer to do it in the food processor. So easy!
Cook the salsa:
Add everything to the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Mel's recipe bottles the salsa just like this, but for the last couple of years I have been running my stick mixer through the salsa before bottling. I find this gives it the perfect consistency to scoop up with corn chips!
Bottle and process:
Fill your hot, sterilised jars with salsa, leaving ½ inch headspace at the top. I like using a mixture of pint and half pint jars. Use a spatula or chopstick to remove air bubbles from the jar. Wipe the rims clean, place a clean lid/seal and tighten the band to fingertip tight. Place the jars in the waterbath and process for 15 minutes.
Check the seals:
Leave the jars to cool on the bench overnight. In the morning, remove the rings and check the seals. The lid should be concave and you shouldn't be able to prise it off using your hand. Any jars that have sealed can be safely stored at room temperature. Any jars that haven't sealed need to be refrigerated and eaten immediately or re processed.
Now all that's left to do is enjoy the delicious homemade tomato salsa all year round!
Homemade Tomato Salsa (for canning)
- 5 cups peeled, chopped and drained tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups chopped onion (about 1 ½ medium sized onions)
- ¾ cup chopped red or green peppers (about 1 medium sized pepper)
- 2 jalapeños, finely chopped, membranes and seeds removed (leave in for extra spice)
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 ¼ teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 ¼ tablespoons canning or pickling salt
- 3 Tablespoons cup chopped fresh coriander
- 2 Tablespoons sugar (optional, depending on sweetness of tomatoes)
- ½ cup + 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup tomato puree
- Prepare the water bath - add enough hot water to your canning pot to ensure that the jars will be covered by at least 1 inch of water and bring it to the boil (covered makes it quicker) This can take some time depending on the size of the pot you are using so allow at least 30 minutes for it to come to the boil. Place the rack or a clean tea towel in the bottom of the pot – this is to keep the jars from being in direct contact with the bottom of the pot.
- Peel tomatoes using either the blanching method or grilling method (see post for details) Remove cores and place tomatoes in a colander over a bowl to drain for about 30 minutes. Measure out 5 cups of tomatoes and place in a large pot.
- Add all other ingredients into the pot with the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Optional: use a stick mixer to blitz up the salsa for a smoother consistency - this is what I have done for the last couple of years and I love it!
- Fill sterilized pint or half pint size canning jars leaving ½-inch at the top. Use a chopstick or spatula to remove air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jar clean and seal with a lid and ring.
- Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes
- Remove the jars carefully from the water bath and let cool to room temperature. Check to make sure the jars have sealed correctly (if any jars haven’t sealed correctly, they will need to be refrigerated or re-processed).