Must I use jalapenos in salsa?

jenswrensOctober 20, 2011

Hi everyone! I'm new to the Harvest Forum (but not to GardenWeb - I usually hang out in Kitchens or other home forums).

Also not new to canning, although I've taken a decade-long hiatus from it. Now I'm trying to get back into it again, based on a new commitment to eating only "real foods."

I want to make salsa, and I've found lots of approved recipes, but 99% of them call for some amount of jalapenos. I only like mild salsa. I really do not like anything hot at all (really - not even in the slightest). I've never liked jalapenos and I admit I'm even afraid of them. Probably from some repressed childhood memory. (My mother used to eat them whole just like normal people would eat an apple. Ick.)

I know you can substitute bells for "long green chiles," but those darn jalapenos are always listed separately on their own line. MUST I use them? Or can I substitute a milder chile for the jalapenos?

The only recipe I've found that does not call for jalapenos is this one from the NCHFP. I made the recipe yesterday. And while it is yummy, I'd like to branch out a little. But preferably a branch without jalapenos! Thanks!

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

No you do not need to use jalapenos - or any hot pepper for that matter. You can leave out all peppers or you can sub sweet peppers for hot peppers or others varieties of hot peppers for the jalapenos. You just need to keep the amounts the same.

But if you leave out the peppers or reduce the amounts you still can NOT increase the amounts of any other ingredients. They must remain the same.

I've found lots of approved recipes

This comment set off an alarm in my head since there are NOT "lots of approved recipes for salsas". They are quite limited in number in fact and only limited research has been done on salsa canning safety.

This is because of the borderline pH of salsa and the low-acid ingredients used in making it. Also because it is eaten fresh from the jar without further cooking after opening. So tread carefully when it comes to canning salsa.

You'll find a great deal of salsa safety info at NCHFP to review before using recipes from unapproved sources.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 1:47PM
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Thanks Dave! I guess when I say "lots" it seems like quite a few to me. The NCHFP, the Ball books, and one publication from the Pacific Northwest extension agency. I guess that's not so many, after all, but almost all the recipes want jalapenos. Maybe that's what I meant.

I have thoroughly enjoyed browsing this forum for the past few days. Hope to become a regular, even if I'm only lurking. But I'm sure I'll come up with another question or two or seven. :-)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 2:46PM
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I'm another "don't like hot" type person. I'm married to someone that loves hot!

If I make salsa, I don't add many hot peppers, and like Dave said, you can substitute one pepper for another and it does not matter. You may find putting no hot peppers gives a bland taste, I usually add some, but substitute part for sweet (I love peppers, just don't like hot)

BTW- the Ball complete book has 14 different salsa recipes, though only 9 of them are tomato based, and one of those 9 uses green tomatoes, not ripe ones. They all call for Jalepenos or other hot peppers.

Another BTW- jalapenos aren't very hot peppers, and if you clean out the seeds and white membrane (called the plecenta) you remove the part that is the hottest.

Friends know my husband loves hot, hot salsa. Just had a call from another one who asked if I wanted some. She said it turned out a bit too hot for her family . . .

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 7:35AM
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Lots of diff jals to choose from if you can grow your own. Biker Billy is my fav hot jal and Tam is very mild.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 12:39PM
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