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    Canning salsa safely

    Asked Oct 24, 2008, 07:19 AM — 9 Answers
    I recently canned a dozen jars of salsa. I sampled the salsa a few days ago and realized there is not enough tomato, too much vinegar, and it is not spicy enough. Does anyone know if it would be safe for me to open all the jars, make the adjustments and then re-do the sterlizing process?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Last edited by 08_777444; Oct 24, 2008 at 07:30 AM.
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    08_777444's Avatar
    08_777444 Posts: 111, Reputation: 16
    Junior Member

    Nov 16, 2008, 10:09 AM
    I just wanted to post back to let all know that I re-canned the salsa.

    I made the adjustments by adding more spices and more tomatoes, then I re-boiled the salsa and re-did the sterilizing process.

    There was a little too much vinegar to begin with, but to be on the safe side of things, I felt compelled to add another teaspoon to each jar.

    My husband has eaten 3 jars by himself and took a jar to work and shared it with his partner. They both loved it and neither my husband nor his partner suffered any ill effects.

    So I guess it is okay to do this as long as the sterilization process is re-done correctly.
    Helpful (1)
    linnealand's Avatar
    linnealand Posts: 1,088, Reputation: 216
    Ultra Member

    Nov 20, 2008, 08:24 PM

    08, thank you so much for this thoughtful update!

    It's very good to know that this worked for you.

    Of course, if you want to share this delicious recipe of yours with us, I'd be happy to be able to try it out for myself!

    Again, thanks for this lovely post.
    Helpful (1)
    08_777444's Avatar
    08_777444 Posts: 111, Reputation: 16
    Junior Member

    Nov 22, 2008, 08:47 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by linnealand View Post
    08, thank you so much for this thoughtful update!

    it's very good to know that this worked for you.

    of course, if you want to share this delicious recipe of yours with us, i'd be happy to be able to try it out for myself!

    again, thanks for this lovely post.

    linnealand- thank you for the lovely response.

    Sorry for any confusion that I may have caused with regard to the subject of my question. I realize that some may have misinterpreted thinking I knew how to can salsa safely, when in fact the opposite was true. Lol

    Actually, I have been canning tomatoes for over 20 years, but this was my first go at salsa. I actually made chile' sauce for the first time as well, which turned out nicely, but as I said, the salsa definitely needed some tweaking. After the tweaking all was well.

    What prompted me to become so experimental this year was the availability of fresh tomatoes. The crops around here were phenomenal. By a stroke of luck, I spotted one of those roadside stands that sells fresh vegetables. The tomatoes were 20 pounds for $10. The interesting thing was the farmer who harvested the vegetables simply put an old chain locked toolbox out at the stand and cut a hole in the top for you to drop in your money… the ole honor system. How cute.

    The tomatoes were ripe and fresh, and perfect for canning. I went back to that same stand every week for over a month with nothing more than a $10 bill in my hand. I canned, and canned and canned. I just couldn't get enough. The farmer must have realized that someone was faithfully coming back and he began to put out only the best of the best, every time the tomatoes looked better and better. I really got lucky. Sadly though, I never got to thank him for the wonderful harvest, but at least I know where I am going next year.

    So, here is the recipe:

    • 8-10 large seeded chopped peeled tomatoes
    • 2 cups seeded chopped green peppers
    • 1 cup seeded chopped jalapeno pepper
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • 1 ½ cups cider or wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro* (optional)
    • ½ teaspoon cumin* (optional)
    • 2 teaspoon oregano leaves
    • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper* (optional)

    1. Combine tomatoes, peppers, onions, salt, garlic, seasonings and vinegar in a large pot.
    2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
    3. Pour into hot jars leaving ¼ teaspoon head space and adjust the caps.
    4. Process for 15 - 30 minutes in boiling water bath depending on altitude.
    5. Yields: 6 half pints canned or make fresh and store in refrigerator.

    As I'm sure you know, the secret to good canning is to make sure the jars are still nice and hot when filling with the vegetables. It almost always guarantees every lid will pop… at least in my experience.

    Again, thank you for the lovely response, and I hope you, and all, enjoy!
    Helpful (1)
    linnealand's Avatar
    linnealand Posts: 1,088, Reputation: 216
    Ultra Member

    Nov 24, 2008, 05:17 PM

    08, thanks so much! I'm going to be putting this on my list of new recipes to try.

    I'm with you on the tomatoes! There is nothing like home jarred tomatoes, especially when they're homegrown or from a local and trustworthy source. It's even better when there's a good story behind them. Every time you open a jar, the memory comes back to you.

    My long-time boyfriend is from the south of italy, and jarring tomatoes is a huge deal. They've been spoiled. :)

    In the summer, we jar tomatoes for the whole family, from grandparents to sisters, brothers, nieces... a lot of people means a lot of tomatoes. It takes about 8 of us 24 hours straight to get the job done, plus extra cooling time. My personal record, with them of course, was 810 kilos. That's about a ton, literally. It's a whole lot of work, but the results are worth every single second of it. I use them all year long, and both the flavor and the texture are divine.

    I'll be using some of them for your salsa!

    Again, thank you so much for posting this. I've had a lot of fun.

    Just a little note to anyone out there who don't have the time or the resources to jar their own tomatoes... if you don't have good fresh tomatoes available, store bought canned tomatoes can be great for all kinds of recipes. Sometimes they're just much better than fresh. If you can find them, the best italian canned tomatoes are San Marzano DOP.

    Check out this link for more information: San Marzano Tomatoes (DOP) | Italian Pizza Tomatoes
    08_777444's Avatar
    08_777444 Posts: 111, Reputation: 16
    Junior Member

    Nov 25, 2008, 10:44 AM
    Linnea - you know I tried, but I got to spread it around :-)

    You are a wonderfully kind and thoughtful person. Thank you so much for your correspondence.

    Wow, what a treat… tomatoes from the south of Italy? It doesn't get much better than that now does it… and I thought I was spoiled ! 810 kilos, you're a trooper !

    By the way, I was wondering if by chance you could help me with a recipe that I have been struggling with for years.

    My best friends parents were both born and raised in the south of Italy, but she was born and raised here in the United States. When we were growing up her father used to can and pickle green, un-ripe tomatoes. Well I guess they tasted like pickles, only better. They were obviously green, still crunchy, firm, sweet, slightly bitter and delicious. He is passed away and although the internet has some pretty good pickled green tomato recipes, nothing I have ever tried has tasted quite like his… not at all really. Strangely my girlfriend was never much into cooking or canning, and is without the recipe as well. Her parents divorced (after 53 years, which still boggles me) but nonetheless her father never shared any of his recipes with his wife either. So I was wondering if you would happen, by chance, to have heard of any similar canned pickled green tomato recipes? For all I know it could have been one of his own special recipes, but I just thought maybe you had an idea, or at least I was hoping. :-)

    Again, thank you for taking the time to reply.
    linnealand's Avatar
    linnealand Posts: 1,088, Reputation: 216
    Ultra Member

    Nov 25, 2008, 04:13 PM


    Well, I have good news and bad news. :) the good news is that pickled green tomatoes are an old and traditional thing in italy, so you have a much better chance of actually finding the right direction. The bad news is that I don't have a recipe for you yet... well, at least, not exactly.

    I'm sure that there are different versions of pickled green tomatoes throughout the country. I have only tried my boyfriend's mother's version, which is delicious but spicy (he's from Calabria, and hot peppers are a fundamental ingredient in a lot of recipes).

    I've been searching the internet for recipes both in English and in Italian, and there are a lot of variations.

    If you can remember (or if your best friend can remember) any little detail about them, it might help a lot. Some have hot peppers. Some recipes include onion slices. I saw one with bay leaf, juniper berries and tarragon in the jar. Some are soaked in vinegar and then get jarred in olive oil with garlic and parsley.

    It looks like most of the Italian recipes are rather vague, as in, "slice the tomatoes. put them in a layer, and then add a layer of salt...". That is, I haven't found one with measurements yet. Just the same, if you really know your way around the kitchen (or pickles in general), you can just try using a little common sense. I know my boyfriend's mom never measures anything, and she doesn't have any recipes written down. If I want a recipe (and I always, always do), I have to stand by and watch her like a hawk. :)

    I've listed some links here, but it's kind of so that I'll remember where to check next time. All of the first ones are in Italian, and while I can translate them, it would be better to hear if you can remember any other details first.

    In the meantime, I'll be keeping an eye out for you. I'd be happy to help you solve this little family mystery!:)

    In italian:
    Pomodori acerbi / pomodori verdi sott'olio
    Gelati - Ricette - Prodotti tipiciProdotti Tipici e Vini Piemontesi - Vendita Online da Terre Nobili
    ricetta -pomodori acerbi
    Pomodori acerbi sotto aceto
    Pomodori Verdi Sott'Olio - cucina calabrese
    08_777444's Avatar
    08_777444 Posts: 111, Reputation: 16
    Junior Member

    Nov 25, 2008, 04:56 PM
    Oh again, thank you for the reply.

    This is incredible, I think you hit the nail on the head with that last recipe. The only variation is the tomatoes were not sliced, they were put into the jars whole with the cores still left in. The same way you bite into an apple is the same way you were supposed to bite into these. The tomatoes were tiny, but they were definitely whole. They were pickled in the sense that you could taste vinegar, but they were also dripping with olive oil. There were chunks of what I believe was garlic and I believe there were also long strands of parsley in the bottom of each jar. Oh, just thinking about it again makes my mouth water.

    I might call my girlfriend later to see if she remembers them any differently, but if not, would you happen to have the full olive oil recipe? My girlfriend speaks fluent Italian, so if the only recipe you have is in Italian that is fine also.

    Again, much appreciation Linne for any info.
    linnealand's Avatar
    linnealand Posts: 1,088, Reputation: 216
    Ultra Member

    Nov 27, 2008, 12:07 PM

    I do hope it helps to send you in the right direction! :D if it's not right, don't worry. We can keep looking.

    My boyfriend's mother also leaves her green tomatoes whole. I will ask her how she does them, but I have to encourage you not to get too excited yet because I am already sure that she does it all by eye. I'll see if she can help with a direction or two, and then a little trial and error should put it into place.

    Do you remember exactly which region (or even town) their family is from?

    Here is a general translation for what to do from Gelati - Ricette - Prodotti tipiciProdotti Tipici e Vini Piemontesi - Vendita Online da Terre Nobili. It's more or less a literal translation, so bear with the slight awkwardness of the sentences. There are no measurements given, so I think that your experience will be of tremendous help to you.

    Cut the tomatoes into (thin-ish) slices, salt them, and keep them for 24 hours in a container, immersed in their water (natural juices), with a weight on top.

    After this time has passed, drain them again, and keep them for 24 hours in vinegar. Drain them again, dress them with oil, parsley and garlic, and put them in jars.

    Si tagliano i pomodori a fettine, si salano, si tengono per 24 ore in un recipiente immersi nella loro acqua con un peso sopra. Passato questo tempo si scolano e si tengono per 24 ore nell'aceto. Si scolano di nuovo, si condiscono con olio, prezzemolo, aglio e si mettono nei vasetti.

    This is fun!
    prabu86's Avatar
    prabu86 Posts: 2, Reputation: 1

    Jan 5, 2011, 12:27 AM
    It is a nice post...

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