Eat Close to Home with Garden-Fresh Salsa

| 8/28/2015 8:23:00 AM

According to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension bulletin Celebrate with Safe Salsa, salsa is one of the most popular condiments used in the United States. When you go to a Mexican restaurant, they even bring it to your table with chips while you are waiting for your order. Besides corn chips, you can use it on so many things, such as potatoes, eggs, and meat. We like to add salsa to our homegrown cowpeas.

Often based on tomatoes, peppers, and onions, salsa can vary due to the type of tomatoes and peppers used. Paste tomatoes will give you a thicker product, while the type of peppers chosen can result in salsa ranging in taste from very mild to very hot. There are other ingredients you can add to change the flavor. When making your own salsa you can decide just how smooth or chunky it is by how finely you chop the vegetables.

Canning Garden-Fresh Salsa in a Water Bath Canner

I am all for experimenting in the kitchen and when you are making salsa to eat fresh, experiment all you want — store the extra in the fridge, and use it within a week. However, if you are going to be canning salsa, there are some guidelines you need to follow to make sure you have a safe product.

These guidelines apply to canning salsa in a water bath canner. Water bath canning is safe for foods that are high in acid. Pressure canning is for low-acid foods. If you were to combine vegetables, with the resulting combination having a pH greater than 4.6, you would need to use a pressure canner and choose the length of time for processing according to the vegetable in the mixture that requires the longest time.

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