Why make plain salsa when you can fill that jar with a rainbow of colors? With the seemingly endless choices of tomatoes and peppers you can set a palate like an artist. Our favorite tomatoes happen to be gold or orange varieties. The one thing you have to keep in mind is the varying acidity of the different varieties and additions like peppers, onions, garlic, and celery. Check out this page for some helpful information before you process salsa. Canned food needs to fall at a pH of 4.6 or less to be safely processed in a water bath. If you’re unsure buy some pH strips and test it yourself, or check with a local lab and have a sample tested. Here’s a good guide to water bath canning if you’re new to the process.
I’ve given weights for this recipe as well as standard measures for the main ingredients. You’ll get the best and safest results by using weights. Again, as a reminder, a scale that will work fine can be purchased for as little as $20. A tare feature is pretty standard but make sure the one you choose has it. I prefer ones with a “stage” because it makes it easier to see the readout. You should start with about 5 pounds of tomatoes to be sure you end up with enough by the time you’ve peeled, seeded, and drained them. Three peppers is usually enough, a pound of onions, 3 stalks of celery, and 4 large jalapeños. In this picture you can see I used mostly gold tomatoes, a few red ones, green peppers, and red onions. Even though the tomatoes are drained, you’ll be adding vinegar, and bringing the whole pot to a boil will release water from all the ingredients. Adding Clear Jel helps thicken an otherwise slightly watery salsa but you can leave it out if you don’t mind that. The jel does not affect flavor.
A simple food dicer is a really useful tool to have around. No matter what you’re cooking, ingredients chopped to a uniform size will cook more evenly. Since this salsa is only brought to boiling for the purpose of processing, it stays pretty chunky.
— Joan, 31 August 2018
- 1800 grams (3 quarts) tomatoes, peeled, seeded and drained
- 200 grams (2 cups) onions, chopped
- 300 grams (3 cups) celery, chopped
- 225 grams (1½ cups) bell peppers, chopped
- 4 large jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1½ teaspoons black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ½ cup cider vinegar
- 5 tablespoons Clear Jel
Peel the tomatoes by dipping them into boiling water for about 30 seconds, then immersing in ice water until cool enough to handle. Cut in quarters and gently squeeze out the seeds and pulp around seeds. Let them drain in a colander while you prepare the other vegetables, or set the colander over a bowl and put it in the fridge overnight to drain.
When you’re ready to process, get the water bath canner filled with enough boiling water so that the filled jars will be covered by 1-2″ of water. Clean and sterilize the jars and keep them hot. Place all the ingredients into a large, heavy pot, sprinkling the Clear Jel over all and stirring well to distribute it. Bring to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil you can fill the hot jars to within 1/2″ of the top of the jar. Clean the rims and cover with new lids. Tighten bands, place in the water bath canner and cover. When the water is boiling briskly set a timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn off the heat and remove the cover carefully, pointing it away from yourself to avoid steam. Remove the jars and let them sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours before checking the seals. Any that are not sealed should be refrigerated immediately or re-processed. You can remove the bands before storing the salsa in a cool, dark, dry space.