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Old 04-20-2017, 12:17 AM   #1
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Salsa question

I grew up on home canned food. I did my first two batches of marmalade this year and it turned out awesome. I made orange and lemon marmalade with the fruit from my own trees.

Part of my starting to can my own at 52 years old is salt. I am at a point that I have normal blood pressure at half the daily allowable intake of salt but at the daily limit it goes way up. So to eliminate salt I am going to can my own foods like sauces, tomatoes and salsa. I no longer eat outside my home or anything I didn't cook.

So my questions are all the salsa recipes call for vinegar, do you taste vinegar in the finished salsa or does the smell and taste go away? Can I get away with less salt than a recipe calls for?

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Old 04-20-2017, 08:37 AM   #2
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I've never canned salsa so can't answer your question about vinegar taste, but you have to be careful changing amounts in home canned recipes and should really only use reputable sources. You can Google "low salt canned salsa recipes" (without quotes) and come up with lots of recipes. Just be careful which one(s) you pick. Here's one that looks pretty reputable to me though. https://www.nwkidney.org/recipe/tomato-salsa/
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Old 04-20-2017, 09:38 AM   #3
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I've been canning for almost 30 years now, including salsa. There are a lot of good recipes out there (Ball's website is an excellent source). However, if you have a recipe you prefer, there's a little more to understanding how the canning process works.

Successful canning, especially when using the water bath method, is all about sterilization and creating an environment that's hostile to bacteria. Although salt will inhibit bacteria to some extent, it's not as important in home canning as you might think. The more important consideration is pH, because botulism won't grow in a medium where the pH is below 4.5.

Although we often think of tomatoes as being acidic, they actually have a relatively high pH - somewhere between 4.6 and often over 5. This is why botulism is a concern with canned tomatoes. You have to add an acid to the salsa to lower the pH to a safe level. Vinegar is the most common ingredient, although I've seen recipes that use lime or lemon juice to accomplish the same thing. Food grade citric acid also works well. So if vinegar isn't your thing, there are other options.

I'll also sometimes go so far as to add a little bit of potassium metabisulfite (available in any home brewing supply store) when canning. It's a great antioxidant and bacterial inhibitor that works hand-in-hand with acidity to stop bacteria.

If you really want to be scientific about your canning, I would suggest investing in a pH meter. The one I have is a desktop model that cost about $150 new. But you can find portable models online for less than $100. Don't use pH test strips. They're very inaccurate.

I know it seems like an advanced topic and overkill, but having equipment you can use for testing gives you the flexibility to create some of your own recipes that are safe. For example, you might have a great family salsa recipe, but you won't know for certain if it's suitable for canning unless you know where the pH is.

More info here:
http://www.healthycanning.com/ph-met...-home-canning/

Here's a video from South Dakota State University that shows how to measure pH in your canning:
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:07 AM   #4
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Here are two salsas, one red and one green, that have no vinegar:

Salsa Picante

Ingredients:

½ cup onion, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1 Tbs cooking oil
1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp oregano
¼ tsp chili powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

Heat the cooking oil in a sauté pan until it shimmers. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño and sauté until the onions are softened but not browned. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until fragrant, 45 to 60 seconds. Add the canned tomatoes with juice, stir and reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir in the cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper and continue to simmer the salsa for 10 minutes. Remove the salsa from the heat and gently fold in the cilantro. Move to a serving bowl and serve at room temperature.

Hatch Chile Salsa Verde


Ingredients:

2 Tbs light olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 Tbs cornstarch
4 Tbs water
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp black pepper
1½ cups vegetable broth
1 cup Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled and chopped
¼ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt

Instructions:

In a medium saucepan, heat the light olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until the onions are translucent, but not browned. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 to 45 seconds more, just until fragrant.

Mix the cornstarch and water together. Slowly pour in the broth, then add the cornstarch and water, whisking constantly so that is stays smooth. Add all the remaining ingredients to the onion and broth mixture and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be thickened just enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add more broth to thin it out if it is too thick. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:31 AM   #5
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Those recipes look great and are probably a real hit when sitting around the dinner table on Taco Tuesday, but if they aren't acidified in some way, they're not suitable for water bath canning.
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
Those recipes look great and are probably a real hit when sitting around the dinner table on Taco Tuesday, but if they aren't acidified in some way, they're not suitable for water bath canning.
+1.

Also, if you do use lemon or lime juice instead of vinegar, use a bottled one. They are diluted to a specific acidity level, while fresh fruits vary in the acidity level and so can be unsafe.
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:27 AM   #7
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Low acid foods, like many salsa recipes, and fresh veggies to be canned can be safely canned using a pressure caner. USDA offers the safe canning techniques for canning low acid foods, with the pressures and time required to properly can you home made salsas and sauces. It also works for fresh veggies.

Since salsa is fairly easy to make, I simply make the amount I need for a get together, or for my own use, and refrigerate. It's not shelf stable, but as it will be quickly consumed, it doesn't need to be. It simply requires you refrigerator.

I hope to one day start a side business of selling my salsa, as it is unique, and really hot. But I've been told by several people that it's the best salsa they've ever eaten. (makes my head swell a bit)

Enjoy learning the in's and out's of canning. Just do it right, because doing it wrong can be fatal, or make you seriously ill.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:57 AM   #8
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Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars has reliable water-bath canning recipes. I have two of her books. Here's one for red salsa and green (tomatillo) salsa. Both use lime juice.

https://www.mrswages.com/recipe/food...-tomato-salsa/

http://foodinjars.com/2013/09/small-...matillo-salsa/
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Old 04-20-2017, 01:45 PM   #9
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It sounds like my best bet is a pressure canner so I don't have to worry about vinegar ruining the flavor and then I can make it the way I want to make it. I look at the salsa recipes offered and I would not like any of them due to how small the amounts of spices and veggies are in them. I made salsa for the week last night and it has a 1/4 cup of Mexican oregano, a tablespoon of cumin, 1/4 cup of red chili powder, two bunches of cilantro, 6 cloves of garlic and 4 limes. I used a 29 ounce can of Contadina crushed tomatoes with 2 white onions, 6 jalapenos, 2 serranos, 2 pasilla chili, one Anaheim chile and 2 green bell peppers. It is very chunky and has bold flavors with all the spices. I already had two neighbors come over for chips and salsa this morning. The same neighbors have me help them cook for parties and I do their salsa and guacamole for them. This is what I want to can so it sounds like a pressure canner will be needed so I will order one.

So when pressure canning do the jars with product being canned still need to be near the boiling temp as they are going into the pressure canner or does it matter if they cool off some waiting for their turn under pressure? I make a lot of food when I cook. I use a 4 or a 6 gallon stock pot to cook in and I am always a inch from the top. I am planning on doing everything in pint jars except for chicken stock which I will do in quarts.
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Old 04-20-2017, 09:26 PM   #10
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I've made salsa many times, usually at the end of backyard pepper growing season. I don't have a recipe with amounts. I just wing it.

As for vinegar, I use apple cider vinegar, and add a little at a time. I like a little vinegar "zing," but not too much.

CD
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