Last weekend we canned tomato sauce…32 pints (4 whole gallons)…all day long. While canning is very easy to do, it can be a major time suck if you can on a grand scale. We had a ton of tomatoes from our own garden to use in addition to a bushel we bought at the Royal Oak farmers market. We used the same recipe as last year for seasoned tomato sauce from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (it’s a favorite, lots of great recipes). It’s a perfect basic tomato sauce with great flavor that can be jazzed up with fresh herbs or browned, ground meat, though usually we eat it straight from the jar on spaghetti.
We also tried canning salsa for the first time in another attempt to use up more of our homegrown tomatoes. We tried two different recipes, the spicy salsa from The Beginner’s Guide to Preserving Food at Home by Jan Chadwick and the zesty salsa recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
The first recipe was much thinner than the second as you ran the tomatoes through a food mill prior to cooking, this removed the seeds and skin as well as grinding up the pulp. While in the second recipe, the skins were removed by blanching and shocking and then the tomatoes were diced before cooking. The spicy salsa was much more spicy than the zesty salsa. I removed the seeds and membranes from most of the jalapeno peppers for both recipes, but left more in the spicy salsa batch. We were very happy with the results of our salsa experiment especially in the variation between each recipe.
We also tried using our brand new reusable canning lids on our salsa jars. Instead of buying a new box of lids each time we can, we can reuse these along with the jars and the rings. We’ll save money and reduce our waste. The lids are also BPA free. They are very highly rated and we had a 100% success rate for sealing with both batches of salsa.