Adding seasonings when canning?

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May 29, 2008
I know you're not supposed to make additions with fruits and vegetables to a jam, jelly, or chutney recipe; because it might screw up the acidity, which then poses the threat of people who consume the finished product of contracting a food borne illness.

However, is there anything wrong with making additions with seasonings in the jam, jelly, or chutney? I don't think they effect the acidity of the product you're canning, do they? As the word implies, "seasonings" serve the purpose of seasoning the food (adding flavor to it).

The reason I'm asking this is because I found some interesting sounding recipes for salsa. I wanted to add some chili powder to the recipe, along with some fresh chopped cilantro and parsley.

These are the two recipes I'm deciding between:

Tomato Salsa (using paste tomatoes):

7 quarts, peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes
4 cups seeded, long green chiles
5 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup seeded, finely chopped, jalapeno peppers
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups bottled lemon juice
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons cumin
3 tablespoons oregano leaves
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients except cumin, cilantro, and oregano in a large pot
and bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add spices and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle hot mixture into pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
Adjust lids and process in a boiling water bath.

Processing Times......

15 minutes at 0-1,000 feet altitude; 20 minutes at 1,001-6,000 feet altitude; 25 minutes at altitudes 6,000 feet or higher.

Yield:13 pints

This is a note regarding which variety of tomatoes you should use:

This recipe works best with paste tomatoes, as slicing tomatoes will yield a thin, watery salsa. If you only have slicing tomatoes available, use the Tomato/Tomato Paste Salsa.

This is the note it gives regarding spices:

The only changes you can make safely in these recipes are to substitute bottled lemon juice for vinegar and to change the amount of herbs and spices. Do not alter the proportions of vegetables to acid and tomatoes
because it might make the salsa unsafe by reducing the acidity.

Questions regarding this recipe:

*What types of tomatoes are classified as paste tomatoes and what would you recommend? I hate tomatoes raw, so I'm not a connoisseur on which types are best suited for which purpose. If I do use tomatoes, I use the kind that are canned.

*I would like to use ground oregano in place of the fresh. Would this be feasible? If so, what is the proportion of it I should use in the recipe? I would be using dried as opposed to fresh, and I heard that dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor then fresh.

*I can almost guarantee that 90% of the responses to the question I'm about to ask here are going to be "no" for some reason or other, but I'll ask anyway. The original recipe calls for lemon juice. I'd like to replace the lemon juice with lime juice. Lime juice is still acidic, so could I replace the lemon juice with the lime juice, or should I just use lemon juice?

The recipe even says you can you alter the amount of spices in the recipe. I would definitely like to increase the amount of cilantro it calls for. However, this is for a huge batch of salsa, so I'm not sure of how much of an addition to make. I want an "herby flavor" to be prevalent, but I don't want the herbs in the salsa to overpower the other flavors in the salsa.
I was thinking of adding 1-2 cups of fresh cilantro.

I would like to add some fresh parsley and finely chop it. It IS an herb, and herbs are always used to enhance the flavor of a dish. I would probably add an amount of parsley equivalent to the amount of cilantro I use in the dish. Would adding parsley be feasible?

I would like to add some ground chili powder. Is this feasible? If so, how much would you recommend adding to this dish? Like I said it's a big batch and if you add too much chili powder the dish becomes really spicy. I don't want a spicy salsa, as I don't care for spicy food; it doesn't suit my palate at all.

My last question is, I'd probably double the amount of garlic, as I love garlic. Can I do this or should I just leave the amount of garlic as is.
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Do you have a pressure canner? If so, use the timing for the least acidic of your veggies--which in this case would probably be onions--and process your recipe for that time period. That is how I do my salsa.

Water bath canning--I would say yes to the lime juice, and to adding some extra parsley, cilantro, chili powder and garlic. I can't give you amounts on the herbs and spices--add some and taste.

Romas are paste tomatoes. Big Boys, Celebrity, Early Girls (among others) are not paste tomatoes. Paste tomatoes are drier and have fewer seeds than regular tomatoes. If you can't find paste tomatoes, chop your tomatoes, and drain them in a colander for an hour or so. You can either reduce the liquid separately and add it back into the salsa, or discard it.
No I don't have a pressure canner. I currently don't own a canner either. However when I manager to attain one, I would like to make this salsa recipe, that's why I'm inquiring about it.

Also somebody said that the addition of fresh herbs are considered low acid. Is adding 1-2 cups each of fresh parsley and fresh cilantro going to make the acidic level so low that it will promote bacterial growth, and as a result of that increase the risk of whoever consumes it contracting a foodborne illness?

Also, if you could give me a mild salsa recipe with clear and specific directions suitable for canning, I'd appreciate it. This one makes a huge batch and seems really spicy to me. Neither me or my boyfriend like spicy food, so I would like a salsa recipe that has a mild flavor.

The only real preference I have with the mild salsa request is that if possible the recipe contains tomato sauce and tomato paste; seems odd I know but it just seems to me like the additional tomato products would enhance the flavor of the salsa.
No. Stop. Stand away from the canner.:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: Just kidding.

However, adding that much cilantro or parsley would blow your head off. :LOL: Kidding again.

I think if you are interested in canning, you should contact your area university extension service. Most counties in the U.S. have one. They have people there who can help you, provide booklets with tons of information on canning and even show you how to do it.'s free. At least here it is. Check 'em out. You'll be glad you did.
Also, if you could give me a mild salsa recipe with clear and specific directions suitable for canning, I'd appreciate it.
Since you don't have a canner, etc., you might have more enjoyment with a mild salsa mix provided by Ball® and found in most stores that sell canning supplies (such as Wal-Mart) or online. It even allows you to use canned diced tomatoes and the results are just kept in the refrigerator or can be canned.

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