Canning Homemade Salsa Recipes Requires Special Care!

By: Tony Buel

When working with canned salsa recipes special care is required because there is a health risk if not done properly. Because of the bacteria which grows in improperly canned food, the central nervous system can be damaged, and even death can result in the worst case, when this bacteria is consumed in small quantities.

Since most salsa recipes contain a mixture of low-acid foods such as onions and chiles, an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar must be added to prevent the growth of this bacteria. Special care must be taken to ensure that they contain enough of this acid to be processed safely in a boiling water canner.

When following canned salsa recipe instructions, make sure to follow them exactly. Use the amounts of each vegetable listed in the recipe and add the amount of vinegar or lemon juice listed.

Do not can salsas that do not follow these or other research tested recipes. Remember that you always have the option of freezing or refrigerating the salsa.

Do not thicken salsas with flour or cornstarch before canning. After you open a jar to use, you may pour off some of the liquid or thicken with cornstarch.

Pretreat the jar lids according to the manufacturer's instructions. When canning your salsa, fill the hot clean jars with the hot salsa. Make sure you don't leave any salsa on the rims. Take a clean, damp paper towel and wipe the rims of the jar. Put on lids and screw on metal bands.

When processing in a boiling water canner, use a rack to keep jars from touching the canner bottom and to allow the heat to reach all sides of the filled jars. Put the jars into a canner that contains simmering water.

Add the boiling water if needed to bring water 1-2 inches above the top of the jars. Don't pour the water directly on the jars. Place a tight-fitting cover on canner.

Bring water back to a rolling boil and set a timer for recommended processing time. Make sure the water is boiling gently and steadily.

Remove the jars from the canner immediately after timer sounds. Don't leave the jars in the water too long or the food might spoil.

If you find that a jar is not sealed, refrigerate it and use it soon after that.

When storing, wipe the jars and label them with the date and the contents of the jar. Store the salsa jars in a cool dark place and use it within a year.

When you are ready to try your homemade salsa recipe, before opening each jar, look for any bulging lids, leaks, or any unusual appearance of the food. If you notice an odor, mold, foam, or anything that might make you suspicious, destroy the salsa food.

As you can see, you need to take great care when canning salsa to ensure that the quality of the food is maintained. But the results are worth the effort!

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