As the trajectory of the sun shortens the day for our gardens, it feels good to be preserving those last harvests! The performance of gardens can vary greatly from one autumn to the next, so what you made last year with your garden clean-out might not suffice this year.
We’ve gathered some preserving recipes that will help to use up those late harvests! Many of these have some flexibilities mentioned in the recipes – optional herbs and ingredient swapping.
How to make Thick Tasty Canned Salsa from Linda at A Gardener’s Table.
The following recipe was featured in September’s Newletter from Nancy Wiker and Martha Zepp at our local Penn State Extension Office and it caught our attention because it offers some choice for the preserver! Developed at the University of Georgia, Athens. Released by Elizabeth L. Andress, Department of Foods and Nutrition, August 2013.
Recipe: Choice Salsa
For some years cooks have been looking for a formula that allows them to can salsa using ingredients they enjoy. It is still not safe to take your fresh salsa recipes and put them in jars, but the following recipe gives you the choice of the amount of onions and the amount and types of peppers you choose. Those liking hot salsa will choose jalapenos and hot chili peppers while those with milder tastes will use bell or mild banana peppers. It is very important that you use all of the lemon juice to control the acidity of the product. Martha questioned the developer of the recipe about the amount of tomatoes in relation to the peppers and onions and was assured that the salsa had a good tomato flavor.
6 cups peeled, cored, seeded and chopped ripe tomatoes
9 cups diced onions and/or peppers of any variety (See notes below.)
1½ cups commercially bottled lemon or lime juice
3 teaspoons canning or pickling salt
Yield: About 6 pint jars.
Caution: Wear plastic or rubber gloves and do not touch your face while handling or cutting hot peppers. If you do not wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes.
Procedure: Wash and rinse pint or half-pint canning jars, keep hot until ready to fill. Prepare lids and ring bands according to manufacturer’s directions.
To prepare tomatoes: Dip washed tomatoes in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until the skins split. Submerge immediately in cold water. Peel off loosened skins and remove cores. Remove seeds and chop (¼ to ½ inch pieces).
To prepare onions: Peel, wash, core and dice onions (¼ inch pieces).
To prepare bell peppers: Wash and core bell peppers. Remove the seeds and membranes before dicing (¼ inch pieces).
To prepare hot peppers: Wash and remove stems of hot peppers. Keep or remove as much of the seeds and membranes as you wish, depending on the “pepper heat” of the salsa that you desire. Dice peppers (¼ inch pieces).
Combine prepared ingredients in a large pot, add lemon juice and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring. Reduce heat and simmer salsa for an additional 3 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent scorching.
Fill the hot salsa into prepared hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. If needed, remove air bubbles and re-adjust headspace to ½ inch. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and bands.
Notes: This is a fairly acidic salsa, but was tested with a wide variety of tomatoes, peppers, and onions to ensure the necessary acidification for boiling water canning and still allow for some consumer choice in the ingredients.
The peppers may be sweet bell peppers (of any color) and/or hot peppers.
The purpose of the commercially bottled lemon or lime juice is to standardize a minimum level of acidity in the recipe. For safety reasons do not substitute vinegar for the lemon or lime juice. Do not use bottled key lime juice.
Do not alter the proportions of tomatoes, vegetables and acid because that might make the salsa unsafe when this canning process is used. The chopped tomatoes and diced peppers and/or onions are to be measured level in dry measuring cups; the lemon or lime juice is measured in a liquid measuring cup. The recipe was not tested with other vegetables for flavor or acidity.
Garden Relish with Cucumbers & Green Tomatoes by Diana, Southern Food Expert at AboutFood
A Good Use for Thick Skinned Little Peppers by Linda at A Gardener’s Table
A Few Fresh Eating Versions – Any of the above could be eaten fresh, but may taste better if the tastes have had more time to play together. Here are a few that work well when either your harvest or your amount of time is too small to bring out the canner.
For more tasty preserving recipes from some of these creative authors, check out our Canning Library!
Visit our Tomato Tomato Pinterest board for even more ideas!