Last year I canned salsa for the first time. I didn’t have a good recipe, so I looked online. There were hundreds of recipes to choose from and I felt a bit daunted. My husband loves salsa and is very picky about what he likes. He likes it flavorful and spicy (me too, though not as spicy as him.)
I finally found a salsa recipe that looked promising, and called the Utah State Extension Service for the canning guidelines. The well informed woman I spoke with at the service cautioned me against using an unapproved recipe. I needed a recipe, she explained, that had been PH tested and had been approved as safe for canning. She directed me to either recipes from the Extension Service or the Ball Blue Book. After looking over the recipes, I choose the Zesty Salsa from Ball.
Making salsa is a lot of work. I spent what seemed like hours chopping cups of tomatoes, onions, and tons of peppers. When I added the cider vinegar to the salsa, I was a bit worried. It smelled awful, but that’s what the recipe called for. When the salsa was done it looked absolutely beautiful, and I was excited to have 8 pint jars to enjoy throughout the year.
I couldn’t wait to taste it. I opened the can and got another whiff of cider vinegar. Hum. My husband and I scooped a big scoop on our tortilla chips. It was AWFUL! It tasted just like vinegar.
This is where I wish we had a Cooks Illustrated for canning. I wish there was someone testing lots of recipes and feeding it to picky testers.
But in cooking, sewing, gardening and canning there are always failures. There are things that don’t work out the way you want them to. The trick is to learn from the mistake and move on.
I was determined to make good canned salsa this year, but my garden was running out of peppers and tomatoes. (Perfect excuse not to try again?)
That’s when Sharon, a friend and blog reader, from American Quilting showed up at my front door with a box of lovely tomatoes and peppers. It was time to get back on the horse.
I ended up making the Zesty Salsa again, but this time I substituted the vinegar for lemon and lime juice. I also made it spicier for my husband, since Sharon had brought some habaneros.
I am happy to say, I am much happier with the results. It is not the perfect salsa…. but definitely good. And that’s a big improvement over last year.
Thank you Sharon and if anyone else has a fantastic Salsa recipe I would love to see it!