25 lb box of tomatoes, $15 form Lyon Farm, Creedmoor, NC
It’s canning season! Well, that is, if you want to save the summer and have it year round. Our first batch of canning this summer was to make these 25 lbs of tomatoes into as much salsa as possible. Last year we made about half as much salsa. It made it until about March.
I make “cheater” salsa because we use a just add tomatoes mix, but we do this not only because it is easy but because it is so yummy!
So here’s how it goes.
1. Gather supplies:
4 packs Mrs. Wages medium salsa mix ($3 each= $12), white vinegar (2 cups= $0.50), Canning supplies.
Each packet calls for 6 lbs of tomatoes, so we figured we’re close enough with the 25 lb box once bad spots are removed. The packets contain dried onions, green bell peppers, jalapenos, chili peppers, garlic and salt and spices.
Large pot for boiling tomatoes.
Water bath Canner (Left), Biggest Pot Ever (Right)
I bought the canner and supplies as a kit a few years back, they are a little pricey but you only have to buy it once. The biggest pot ever is also something we have had since the first year canning. It is 22 quart capacity. If you don’t have such a large pot you can just make salsa (or other sauces) in batches.
2. Prepare your canning jars. I am reusing jars from years past so for me this year they were free. I have found that the cheapest price anywhere to get these is from Walmart. They were about triple in price at Target last time I checked. Canning stuff accounts for about 99% of my Walmart purchases. I run my jars, lids and rims all through the dishwasher to sterilize them. If you don’t have a dishwasher you can put them into boiling water in the canner for 10 minutes.
Sterilize jars, lids and rims by running them through the dishwasher.
3. If it’s less than 90 outside, turn off your AC and put a fan in the window. Otherwise your AC is going to run for about the next 6 hours…
Perfect canning weather!
Fan to keep the kitchen semi-cool
4. Core and score (X) each tomato, and remove any large blemishes and bad spots.
Core & remove blemishes.
5. Boil for 2-3 minutes, then remove to ice water. When they are cool enough to touch, remove skins (and seeds if you want to- we do!)
Boil tomatoes 2-3 minutes.
Chill tomatoes in ice water, then remove skin and seeds.
6. Crush (or chop if you must) tomatoes into the pot that you plan to cook the salsa in. Once they are all in there, add the seasoning packets and vinegar.
Crush tomatoes into pot
Almost ready to cook- Add seasoning and vinegar now!
7. If you want the salsa to be all one texture, use an immersion blender to get the tomatoes nice and smooth.
Immersion blender to make smooth salsa.
8. Bring the salsa to a boil (this might take a while), stirring occasionally, then let it simmer for 10 minutes.
9. Bring the water in the canner to a boil. This will also take a while. Learn from my past mistakes: put the lid on the canner!
10. Fill the sterilized jars. We leave them in the closed dishwasher until the last minute. Use a canning funnel to avoid dripping. Immediately place on lids and rings.
Fill the jars using the canning funnel
11. Process the jars in the water canner. Each batch is supposed to boil for 40 minutes. Let the waiting begin.
Process jars for 40 minutes.
12. Let jars cool overnight to make sure they all seal. If any do not seal- refrigerate and use immediately! Label with what they are and the date. They will keep for 1 year (if we ever make enough to last that long…)
17 pints and 1 half pint of salsa!
This salsa comes out to about $1.57 per pint (not counting canning start up supplies).
Bonus: If you want to be extra not wasteful, strain out the skins and seeds and collect the juice to use in soup/sauce bases later. We ended up with 3 qts of juice to put in the freezer.
Strain the skins and seeds out- save this juice
Are you canning anything to save the summer?