Saturday, December 4, 2010

Canning Salsa (Roasted Jalapeno)

**2015 UPDATE: When this post was originally created, I was using a steamer for this tutorial.  Since then the FDA has deemed steamers unfit for healthy canning practices, since the necessary internal temperature for killing bacteria and microorganisms is harder to regulate in a steam canner.  Please be advised that you should use a hot water bath canner.

This was my first year canning salsa.
I've never liked my moms recipe (or anyone elses for that matter), but I found this recipe on Sweet Basil, and it sounded like it was worth a try.

After making one batch I decided it was way too much work.
But then we went through two jars in less than a week.  So... I made some more.  A lot more.  And I think I might just have to do it every year now.

With that said, keep in mind that this isn't the easiest or quickest canning project - but it is SO SO good.
Roasted Jalapeno Salsa

6 lbs. ripe Roma tomatoes
2 jalapenos
1 large white onion
16 cloves garlic
1 1/3 c. chopped cilantro
4 generous tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
Yield: ~10 cups

Start by rinsing your tomatoes.

Line 2 rimmed cookie sheets with foil.

Cut out the top portion of each tomato and place on the foil.

Cut the stems off of the jalapenos and place them on the foil.

6 pounds should just about fill up two cookies sheets (I used one large and one regular size).
The tomato to jalapeno ratio doesn't quiet look right at this point; don;t worry.  You are going to be significantly decreasing the liquid in the tomatoes.  It'll all work out in the end.

Position your oven rack to the top position, and place tomatoes (one cookie sheet at a time) under the broiler for 6 minutes; or until darkened with blackened spots and splitting skins:
Turn tomatoes and jalapenos over and broil for an additional 6 minutes on the other side.

Meanwhile, smash garlic cloves and remove the skins.
Slice onions in thin strips.

When tomatoes are done under the broiler, there will be a significant amount of liquid in the bottom of the cookie sheets.  Use a turkey baster to suck it all up (no need to reserve it).

When all tomatoes are done, turn the oven down to 425.
Equally distribute the onions and garlic over both cookie sheets.

Place both sheets (if they will fit) in oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Take out and set aside to cool.

While cooling, suck up any additional juices with the turkey baster.
Gather all jalapenos (whole), onions and garlic cloves and place in a food processor.  Pulse to desired consistency (I like mine pretty fine, as you'll see later on).

When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, individually peel the skin away from each one.

Now hold it over a 'trash bowl', and squeeze the remaining juices out of it.

You should be left with something like this:

Continue skinning and de-juicing tomatoes, laying aside the flesh.

Now, take your pulsed jalapenos, onions and garlic, and place them in a large pan.

Use a food chopper and rough chop the tomatoes.
As it cooks, they will break apart, so don't worry about getting some big chunks in there.

Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan as you go.

**I found that this rubber scraper worked wonders during this project, just FYI.

You should be left with almost equal portions of skin and juice as you will of actual salsa by the time you are done (remember how the jalapenos didn't quiet match up before?

Now chop up your cilantro.

You will need to put the salsa in sterilized jars.  I like to do this by putting them upside down in my steam canner and letting them steam for 10 minutes.

While they are steaming, add the salt, vinegar and cilantro to the pot.

Heat the salsa over medium high heat and stir everything together.

You will then want to fill the hot, sterilized jars with hot (boiling) salsa.

Wipe any spills off of the jars with a damp rang.
Be sure that the rims are completely free of debris, chips or dings (run your fingertip around the edge to check).
Then, put sterilized lids (let sit in simmering water for 30 seconds) on jars and screw bands on as tightly as possible using only one hand.
Place jars in a water bath canner.  Fill to fully submerge bottles.  Put the lid on and turn the unit on high.

And steam half pint and pint jars for 10 minutes.
Remember to adjust for altitude - Utah time is 20 minutes.

Just be sure that you do not start the timer until steam is consistently coming out.  If you are unsure if it is consistent or not than it isn't - it will be obvious.

Once jars have been steamed, remove them from the steamer and place them on a towel on the counter.

Jars should seal as they cool.  You can check by making sure that the middle of the lid is indented.  If you press the middle and it makes a 'popping' sound (even if it stays down and doesn't pop back up), it didn't seal properly, and needs to be refrigerated.
Write the year (and what it is) on the lids, pack 'em up and put them away!

You should get around 10 cups of salsa (2 1/2 quarts or 5 pints).
If you use pint jars, chances are you'll have just enough left over to snack on.

Here is the complete recipe and instructions:
Roasted Jalapeno Salsa
Recipe modified from

6 lbs. ripe roma tomatoes
2 jalapenos
1 large white onion
16 cloves garlic
1 1/3 c. chopped cilantro
4 generous tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar

Remove stem of each tomato and place on a foil lined cookie sheet.
Remove the stems from the jalapenos and put on the sheet.

Broil tomatoes and jalapenos for 6 minutes or until darkly roasted; blackened spots or splitting skin is good.
Turn over and broil on the other side for an additional 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice onion into 1/4" slices.
Smash garlic cloves with a knife and remove the peels.
When tomatoes are done broiling, turn the oven down to 425.
Use a turkey baster to suck up all of the liquid in the bottom of the cookie sheet (do not reserve).

Lay onion rings and smashed garlic cloves on top of tomatoes and roast in oven for 15 minutes.
Lay out to cool.
Suck up any remaining juices with the turkey baster again.

Use a spoon to scoop up the jalapenos (leave whole with seeds), the onions and garlic, and put in a food processor; pulse until desired consistency (I like it fairly smooth).
Once tomatoes are cool enough to handle, skin and squeeze out all of the juices into a garbage bowl.
Use a food chopper to rough chop the remaining flesh and add it to the jalapeno/onion mixture.

If there is any liquid in the salsa pot squeeze it up with the turkey baster.
Stir in cilantro, vinegar and salt.
Season to taste, if necessary, with more salt and vinegar.

Bring pot of salsa to a boil.
Fill hot, sterilized jars with hot salsa.
Process in a steamer or water bath for 10 minutes.

Makes ~10 cups:
2 1/2 quarts OR 5 pints

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