Saturday, September 10, 2011

Canning Salsa

Along with our bounty of tomatoes during Hurricane Irene, we also had tons of onions and peppers, so we did make up some salsa for the canner.  The results are not runny and much too vinegary for my taste.  I think this is because we followed the recipe in the Ball Blue Book of Canning and Freezing.  This book is extremely careful about not letting you give yourself food poisoning.  This is a good thing, but in some cases, such as much vinegar makes the outcome not worth the effort.
To clarify:  canning relies on two things to preseve foods safely: heat and acidity. 
Tomatoes are an acid food* and therefore can safely be canned in a water bath canner.  Beans, peas and corn are low acid, and therefore must be canned in a pressure canner, which achieves much higher temperatures.

Salsa falls somewhere in between...Tomatoes are acidic, but the onions, peppers and garlic are not, so the safest way to process the salsa is to add lots of vinegar to really crank up the acidity.

* Some of the newer tomato varieties have been designed for a lower acid content to make them more digestible.  So you cannot even trust that all tomato varieties are safely canned by the water bath process.  So if you do make salsa, I advise you to pack it into wide mouth CAN OR FREEZE jars and freeze it.  And if you want to make sauce, I advise you to freeze that too... see Freezer Tomato Sauce.

1 comment:

Brian in Oxford said...

Maybe something to serve at a family camp-out with some tortilla chips?