Pressure canning own salsa recipe?

peppersprout1979July 6, 2011

I'm expecting my new pressure canner to arrive any day now. So excited! Anyhow, I have some questions about pressure canning salsas. I have read about only using approved recipes, acidity, etc. Also, I'm imagining a salsa recipe using plenty of tomatoes, garlic, onion, peppers, cilantro, and black eyed peas. It would be pressure canned. How long would I need to can it for? I'm assuming for as long as the least acidic ingredient (b.e. peas?) requires? I don't plan on adding thickening agents, dairy, or other no-no ingredients. I really don't want to limit myself to a few tested recipes though. I want to be creative while keeping everything safe. Thanks!

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I suspect the replies you will get here will be to NOT vary at all from approved recipes as the folks here tend to be very cautious and conservative. The feeling here seems to be that anything that is not proven safe is unsafe. While I understand and even applaud their caution, personally I believe in degrees of safety and set my own risk/reward levels. Like you I don't like the few salsa recipes that have formal approval, so I have been canning my own recipe for over 35 years now.

My recipe is for a cooked salsa and uses lots of onions and garlic, but is quite fluid with small pieces, more like a chunky sauce. It is not like the commercial salsas in the supermarkets that have huge chunks and barely pour out of the jar. For the first 30 years I processed in a BWB for 45 minutes without any added acid, but I now add citric acid and pressure can at 15 lbs for 25 minutes. I am not qualified to advise you what to do, only sharing my own experience and opinions.

I would not add black eyed peas as they are solid, low acid chunks and really increase the risk. You may want to add them after opening the jars before serving.

Do listen to everyone's advice here before making you own decisions.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 8:50AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I hope you didn't invest in a PC just for salsa? First because most salsa recipes don't require pressure canning since they are supposed to contain enough added acid to be safe for BWB canning.

Second, because salsa doesn't hold up well to pressure canning. It turns very mushy, soupy.

Third, even if that mushy soupy texture is acceptable to you, salsa is far from the best project to learn how to do pressure canning.

But those points aside, one of the basic guidelines of safe home canning is that you shouldn't can your own made-up recipes. This is because you have no way of determining the proper pH, density, or processing time for them so the risk level rises sharply. Those points are especially important with salsa since it is eaten fresh from the jar with no added cooking to destroy toxins.

Your recipe, as described is made up of all low acid foods yet you don't include any acid of any kind? While it is possible to make a salsa recipe including all the ingredients you list with the possible exception of the BE peas - tomatoes, garlic, onion, peppers, cilantro, are standard salsa ingredients - the amounts of the vegetables would have to be balanced for pH and density with some liquid and some acid in the form of vinegar, or lemon or lime juice would be required even for pressure canning.

So if you want to post the full detailed recipe for review that would be fine. Otherwise you will need to work with one of the established canning recipes for salsa and modify it to meet your needs.

Hope this helps.


PS: check out the recipe for Annie's Salsa as it is exceptionally popular with folks all over the internet and is approved for BWB processing.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 11:40AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

If you want to be safe you limit your creativity to cooking and not canning. There is no safe way to can your own recipes.
If you can for the longest processing time, that still won't work as you have no idea what the density is. Both the ph and density are major factors in canning recipes.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 11:54PM
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Thanks. Kind of a bummer though. I hadn't even considered that density would be an issue. I just figured if I canned for as long as the blue book says to can black eyed peas, and all other ingredients use less time when canned individually, then it would all be fine. I'm sure I would use some kind of an acid. Don't have an actual recipe yet, just thinking about what items I would want in the Perfect Salsa. What if I can it for something like 90 minutes, with added acid and the above mentioned ingredients? Surely that would be o.k. It wouldn't be too dense, btw. I don't like super chunky salsa. (To above poster, I didn't buy it just for making salsa. Hoping to do some broth, carrots, etc. from the blue book.)

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 12:47AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Go ahead and make your recipe, try it out. If you quit posting here, we will guess that something went wrong.

Look at this Youtube video, canning gone wrong!


Here is a link that might be useful: Canning gone wrong

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 1:39AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

(To above poster, I didn't buy it just for making salsa. Hoping to do some broth, carrots, etc. from the blue book.)

Good to hear because that way you can get your money out of it. There are lots of things that can be canned with a pressure canner but unfortunately many who don't yet know the basic underlying principles of safe home canning invest in one just to do their own recipes and learn after the fact that they can't do it.

Also keep in mind that you can can approved salsa and can your BE peas separately and then add them together after opening.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 8:25AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Many people do can a safe salsa recipe and their beans, then combine when opening. If you use small jars, then it isn't a problem to have to eat up a lot at once if you don't want to. There are even 4 oz. jars.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 1:45PM
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There are certain items I don't especially like the 'approved' version of either, but like Dave says, for something you are likely to use without reheating, it's just not worth any risk at all.

You'll get the hang of what you may or may not safely substitute once you get into pressure canning and experienced and read about the rationale of what you are doing and why you need to do it that way. Then, you can make really informed decisions if you want to deviate. Some items, there is no safe deviation.

You'll love having added variety pressure canning presents to you. You'll also learn that if something isn't safe you can often can seperately the precursers for the dish and it still works by combining them at the stove.....saving both money and time. Myself, I don't like any approved versions of spaghetti sauce I've found yet. But, I do can tomato sauces, and it's a quick and easy jump to pop open a home-canned jar of them and add it to a skillet of browned beef, onions, garlic and peppers. Having the basics like home canned tomatoes, tomato sauces and purees gives you some versitility too when preparing other dishes where you need tomato products.

BTW.........I double dog dare you to run up a batch of Annie's salsa. Once you do, you'll be smitten and won't look back. I suspect there have been more hits on this forum with Annie's salsa than any other subject since I've been hanging around here. There's a reason for that. ;-)

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 1:49PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Low risk stuff I am willing to "play" and develop my own recipes (jam, jelly, vinegars, pickles with proper vinegar ratios, etc.).

Botulism isn't worth it to me, so I don't mess with the low acid stuff.

Ultimately, it's up to you.....

Deanna (another Annie's Salsa fan who plays with the heat levels, but not quantities).

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 5:55PM
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I am VERY inexperienced compared to everyone else here, but I will say that I canned two different batches of salsa last summer, and I didn't like either of them. They were both "approved for canning" recipes. I basically decided that it was not worth it to me to can salsa. I just make fresh in the summer, and buy it in the winter. I have also always read that canning it in the pressure canner is a really bad choice for salsa when it comes to quality.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 6:21PM
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