Red, Yellow or Green tomatoes come in many different sizes, shapes and colors, but when it comes to processing them, they are all treated the same. When you are making a particular recipe, look for the qualities that best fit your need. I’ve had several calls about making salsa, so here are a few tips to help you make the best recipe yet.
*Choose a firm tomato for thicker salsa
*Use fresh, high quality tomatoes, not ones that are overripe or spoiled. Poor quality to begin with may yield poor quality salsa that is more possible to spoil.
*Read your recipe first, then follow it if the tomatoes need to be peeled or not.
*If you are adding peppers, be sure to use rubber gloves and be aware that not doing so may cause skin irritation. Bell peppers can be substituted for some or all of the long green chilies. Canned chilies can be used in place of fresh if you desire. (For detailed directions see the fact sheet reference listed below)
*Vinegar or lemon juice should be in the recipe to raise the acidity level for canning safety. Make sure to use vinegar of at least 5% acidity and bottled lemon juice. An equal amount of lemon juice can be safely substituted for vinegar, but do not substitute vinegar for lemon juice as this could result in a potentially unsafe salsa. Lemon juice is more acidic than vinegar and it has less effect on the product’s flavor.
*The amount of spices and herbs can be altered in these recipes.
*DO NOT alter the proportions of vegetables to acid and tomatoes because it might make the salsa unsafe.
*Process the recipe in a boiling water bath according to directions.
Canning is a fun way to involve the whole family and maybe even start a new tradition. Local Foods week is just around the corner August 9-15, and salsa might be a great way to start your home food preservation journey!
Author: Melinda Hill, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Wayne County
Reviewed by: Joanna Rini, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Medina County.