When tomato season hit last summer, I felt an urge to can tomato salsa for the first time. I’d canned batches of peach salsa and tomatillo salsa the previous summer, but never got around to a batch of regular tomato salsa.
In the world of home canning, once you get it in your head that you want to can something, you need to find a recipe as canning food without a legitimate recipe is not a wise idea for a host of food safety reasons. I won’t go into those reasons here, please use Google to research this if you’ve never canned before.
Off I went in search of the perfect tomato salsa recipe for canning. None of the canning cookbooks I owned at the time had exactly what I was looking for in a salsa. I then spent a number of hours (I’m not kidding, I spent hours) looking online for a good recipe. I scoured all of the well known canning blogs and websites I knew about and came up empty. All of the recipes I found were just not quite right for one reason or another. Some were too spicy, some didn’t have cilantro, some weren’t actually intended to be preserved at all. I wanted my first batch of canned tomato salsa to be fire roasted with a nice touch of spice and I needed it to contain cilantro! Apparently I’m picky about salsa.
Finally, I found the perfect recipe on a site that’s not specifically known for canning recipes: Simply Recipes. I think I found it by accident when I was searching the recipe index for a different recipe. And as it turns out, that particular recipe was posted just a handful of days before I made my batch of salsa.
So I made a batch of this tomato salsa and it is quite possibly the best thing I’ve canned to date. It’s everything I want a salsa to be and nearly a year later, it’s still a little bit spicy and full of flavor.
It’s tomato season again here in Virginia and I’m already thinking about this year’s batch. I made just a dozen jars last year and kind of hoarded it for months just to make sure it lasted. A few lucky people received jars as gifts or in swaps and all of them took the time to rave about it to me. I’m hoping to make at least a couple dozen jars of it this summer and I’ve already got a day planned in August to can batches of it with some Twitter/Flickr friends. Hopefully I’ll make enough this year to share with a few more people!
- I used a different combination of peppers than the recipe states. I believe I used more jalapenos as well as Serrano and Anaheim peppers. If you like it spicy, you could probably add in a pepper variety known for having a bit more heat.
- The recipe gives details on grilling the tomatoes in order to peel them. I grilled my tomatoes on my charcoal grill, both for easy peeling and for fire roasted flavor.
- In addition to grilling the tomatoes and charring the peppers as mentioned in the recipe, I grilled the onion and garlic in the recipe as well, in order to kick up the fire roasted flavor even more.
- I used Roma tomatoes for my salsa, mostly because they have less seeds than some other varieties. Depending on what’s available at the farmers market this year, I may use a different variety.
Other than that, I followed the Simply Recipes recipe to the letter and ended up with a fantastic batch of salsa. So good that I’ll never need to search for another tomato salsa recipe!