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Old 08-27-2008, 02:23 AM   #1
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ISO Recipe for Non-Runny Salsa

When I told the desk clerk at our hotel about Discuss Cooking, she said she doesn't have a computer, but she asked if I could find some information for her.

She loves to can salsa. She said her recipe is like Chi-Chi's jarred salsa. The problem she has been having is that after she cans it, it gets runny. She said she is going to try using seeded Roma tomatoes next time. She wanted to know if anyone had a recipe for something similar to Chi-Chi's, or some tips to help her avoid runny salsa. She wants it to be thick and chunky.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Barbara

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Old 08-27-2008, 02:46 AM   #2
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I made one where I roasted the tomato, onion, garlic and peppers last year... seeded the tomatoes first.
Ended up nice and thick.... not sure about canning though I've yet to venture into that world.
:)
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Old 08-27-2008, 05:31 AM   #3
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Thanks! Margaret said her salsa turns out thick and chunky when she makes it. It just gets watery after being canned.

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Old 08-27-2008, 08:29 AM   #4
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She can add a large can of tomato paste--it thickens the juice.

The other thing I do is chop all my veggies and put them in a colander over a big sauce pan and let them drain for an hour or so. I boil that liquid down until it is reduced by half, at least. Then cook the solids in the liquid for a long as the recipe says.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:34 AM   #5
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Here is my salsa recipe. Its nice and chunky, never runny. I will admit that even though I can it so it will last on my shelves, I've YET to have any last more than a week or so.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:43 AM   #6
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I know salt will leach out water. I also know nothing about canning and don't know if you HAVE to add salt to things you can and preserve. If she is salting, and someone can confirm that can be left out, that is the only thing I can think of. I'm sure removing the seeds will help too. When the seeds are removed it releases some of the juice too.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:52 AM   #7
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Salt has no purpose in canning other than flavoring. It can be left out.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:57 AM   #8
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Thanks! She left for the day before we were up, but she gave me her address, so I will send her this information later. I really appreciate the tips and recipe!

Barbara
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:50 AM   #9
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Canning causes solids and liquids to separate in the jar. She can shake it up and it will return to its normal viscosity. Canning does not introduce more liquid into the jar, so it's a problem with emulsification, not liquid content. If it's thick and chunky before she cans it, she can blend it together after opening to bring it back to the same consistency.
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Old 09-02-2008, 04:13 PM   #10
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I have found if you buy a can of black beans. Add 1/2 the can to a batch of salsa, take the other half a can and smash and stir in, it adds wonderful flavor and thickens the mix.. Delicious..
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Old 09-02-2008, 05:54 PM   #11
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I would not add black beans to a canning recipe since that much low-acid food would probably make it unsafe to process in a boiling water canner. Refrigerator-type salsa no problem.
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Old 09-02-2008, 08:00 PM   #12
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I would not add black beans to a canning recipe since that much low-acid food would probably make it unsafe to process in a boiling water canner. Refrigerator-type salsa no problem.

I admit I don't can mine, but there is still a lot of acid in there, tomatoes, peppers, onion..... It is based on salsa I have purchased in jars, of course that is commercially canned.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:54 AM   #13
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Where's the acid in tomatoes, peppers, and onions? Tomatoes sit on the fence pH-wise and the others are low-acid veggies.
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Old 09-03-2008, 02:28 PM   #14
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One way to cut down on liquidy salsa is to make sure the tomatoes are well drained before cooking them.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:08 PM   #15
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Where's the acid in tomatoes, peppers, and onions? Tomatoes sit on the fence pH-wise and the others are low-acid veggies.
I always thought of tomatoes as acidic..
In any case I do remember family members canning all vegetables, including beans, cooked and raw. It was no big deal as long as you make sure things are clean. Personally, I don't have the storage so I don't can things.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:42 PM   #16
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Hybrid varieties we get these years are less acidic, which is what people wanted I guess, but it causes problems with canning. So, with salsas and other tomato recipes we add some bottled lemon juice to make sure the acidity is kicked up so its safe(r).
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:26 AM   #17
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I always thought of tomatoes as acidic..
In any case I do remember family members canning all vegetables, including beans, cooked and raw. It was no big deal as long as you make sure things are clean. Personally, I don't have the storage so I don't can things.
High acid foods kill bacteria (most importantly botulism toxin) at a lower temperature. That's why it is okay to water bath can high acid foods. At 212*F, the acid in the food kills off any dangerous microorganisms. I think the ph has to be below 4.6. As McNerd stated, hybrid tomatoes, of which all but Heirloom are a part of, are on the borderline for acidity, so the USDA states that you must add acid to them in the form of lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, etc. to ensure that the acid level is appropriate.

Lower acid foods, such as beans, meat, vegetables, and whole meals cannot be safely canned at boiling temp. They require much higher temps to safely kill all of the microorganisms (something that my parent's generation had no clue about, as it wasn't known yet). The only way to raise the temperature to 260*F or 275*F is by pressure canning. Only until you reach those temps do you kill all of the microorganisms that you cannot see. Just "looking" clean is not microscopically clean.
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:34 AM   #18
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Quote:
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High acid foods kill bacteria (most importantly botulism toxin) at a lower temperature. That's why it is okay to water bath can high acid foods. At 212*F, the acid in the food kills off any dangerous microorganisms. I think the ph has to be below 4.6.
Good reasoning, but unfortunately not quite accurate and I'm not being critical at all. I just think it is important to have more accurate information so that it can be passed on.

High-acid foods just prevent most bacterias from growing back. It does not kill them. General cooking will kill the active toxins including the Botulism "toxin", but the Boiling Water canning process itself is what kills the "spores" that create the toxins, except for the Botulism spore.

The Botulism spore is heat resistant and takes a temperature of 240F for a period of time to destroy it. But since it can't breed in a high-acid/sugar environment it is no worry for that stuff, but low-acid foods must be Pressure Canned to kill it or you have a potential toxin problem, if it should exist. Cases are rare, but they do exist, and since it kills.....well, being on the safe side is recommended.

Yes, the pH borderline is 4.6. At or below is acidic. Tomatoes run about 4.3 to 4.90 and you never know what an individual tomato is going to be, so you can see where the problem is. Then if you toss in some other low-acid foods like onions and peppers in a good salsa, well, you see the direction its going. Here's some links for more info:
IS734 Botulism (Botulism)
US FDA/CFSAN - Approximate pH of Foods and Food Products (pH of Foods)

And you are very correct about our parents and grandparents not knowing about Botulism. That's a recent discovery by our technology and research over the years. They "knew" something was there because people were getting sick and dying, but they didn't know what it was. They got in to the habit of boiling all food coming out of a can/jar for 10 minutes, which seemed to eliminate the problem. Some of you may even remember that practice. Now you know why.

As stated above, normal cooking kills the "toxins", including the Botulism toxin. So if you have a questionable jar, just boil the food after you open it for about 10 minutes and any toxin will be destroyed and it will be safe to eat.

It may be confusing, but there's a lot of chemistry and science going on here. If you can things by today's rules, enjoy it and have fun.
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:38 PM   #19
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High acid foods kill bacteria (most importantly botulism toxin) at a lower temperature. That's why it is okay to water bath can high acid foods. At 212*F, the acid in the food kills off any dangerous microorganisms. I think the ph has to be below 4.6. As McNerd stated, hybrid tomatoes, of which all but Heirloom are a part of, are on the borderline for acidity, so the USDA states that you must add acid to them in the form of lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, etc. to ensure that the acid level is appropriate.

Lower acid foods, such as beans, meat, vegetables, and whole meals cannot be safely canned at boiling temp. They require much higher temps to safely kill all of the microorganisms (something that my parent's generation had no clue about, as it wasn't known yet). The only way to raise the temperature to 260*F or 275*F is by pressure canning. Only until you reach those temps do you kill all of the microorganisms that you cannot see. Just "looking" clean is not microscopically clean.
I didn't know anyone canned without a pressure canner. That's how everyone I know does it.
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