Salsa Canning – Preserving Your Homemade Sauce0
Salsa Canning Options
Once you have your hot salsa canning recipe ready to store, you have a couple of options for how you actually preserve your homemade sauce. First, you can use a pressure canner device that guards against botulism and safely preserves the salsa. Second, you may use a homemade water-bath canning process, which uses a deep metal container, your stove and boiling water. The water-bath canning procedure is safe to use only for salsas because the sauce has high-acid liquids and vegetables; however, if you also plan to use the canning process for preserving your chillies, a pressure canner must be used to be absolutely safe.
Pressure Canning Your Salsa
Before you begin the salsa canning process with a pressure canning machine, be sure you have the manufacturer’s instructions at your disposal. The process that follows is a basic how-to guide, but the instructions for your specific pressure canner are to be followed exactly as specified to ensure this procedure is properly done.
First, pour your fresh salsa into freshly washed, glass jars and leave at least an 1 inch of space at the top. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pint, and pour in boiling water until it reaches the top of the jar.
Next, screw the jar lids on tightly and follow your instructions for putting the jars in the pressure canner. This process will make the steam escape from the jars. After 10 minutes of steaming, shut the petcock and allow the canning process to run for 30 minutes for half pints and 35 minutes for pints.
Finally, remove your jars from the canner’s heat source until the pressure reading reaches zero (this typically takes 30 minutes). At this point, open the petcock and after a few minutes, release the canner to take the jars out. Store the salsa jars in a location that has no drafts to allow the jars to effectively come down to room temperature.
Once finished, wait a day or two to check that your jars seals are tight and then place them in a dry, cool area that doesn’t get too much sun.
Water-Bath Canning Salsa
Water-bath canning does not require a special device and is ideal for your salsa because the accompanying vegetables and liquids have a high-acid content, which keeps your sauce safe. It’s important to note that during this process, you must monitor the pH level of your sauce to ensure the safety of this preservation method. A level of 6 or lower, for example, is a safe reading for water-bath canning, but a level of 7 or higher requires the use of a pressure canner (see above) or a freezing process. You have the option to add lime juice, vinegar or lemon juice (or just equal parts of the lemon and lime juice) to acquire the ideal pH reading if needed.
Begin by placing a rack at the bottom of a large metal pot. Place your washed jars on top of this rack to keep them off of the bottom of the container during the boiling process. This pot needs to be deep enough to allow for 2 inches of boiling water over the tops of your glass jars.
Next, use a separate pot to boil your homemade salsa and then let it simmer for a few minutes. Once finished, pour all of the sauce (including the accompanying liquid) into your open jars and screw on the lids. Pour in the water, which needs to be 2 inches above the lids, and allow it to boil for a half hour. If necessary, add more water to ensure the jars are covered at all times.
Lastly, take out the jars after the boiling process and place them in a draft-free room to enable them to cool down. Once the temperature has gone down, ensure the lids are tight and store them in a cool, dry location until consumption.
No matter the process you use, it is best to eat your preserved sauce within a year of the salsa canning. It’s a good idea to write the date on the jar’s label to keep track of this. When your ready to eat it, make sure you don’t see any bulging lids, leaking or strange appearances in your salsa, and if it smells or has mold when you open it, just throw the affected jars away.
More importantly, have fun enjoying and sharing your own fresh, homegrown salsa! Oh yeah, and prepare for the onslaught of requests for your delicious concoction. =)