- Blanch and skin the tomatoes.
- To blanch tomatoes, place them in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, until the skins start to split. As soon as the skins start splitting, remove the tomatoes and place them in a cold water/ice water bath. This stops the cooking so they don’t get mushy, and makes them cool enough to handle for peeling. Slip off skins.
- If you are working alone, put the tomatoes to drain in a colander while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. In our kitchen, the boys chop tomatoes while I prep the rest of the ingredients.
- To finish the tomato prep, dice the tomatoes into small chunks and place in colander to drain off excess juice. We prefer to scrape out most of the seeds and squeeze out excess juice for a thicker salsa.
- Finely chop onions, garlic, cilantro (parsley), sweet and hot peppers.
- Caution: Use gloves when handling and chopping hot peppers. I leave the hot peppers until last to minimize risk of spreading the hot pepper juice around my work area.
- Prepare canning jars, two piece canning lids and water bath canner.
- Place all salsa ingredients except vinegar and Clear Gel in a large stockpot. Dissolve Clear Gel (if desired) in vinegar, add vinegar mix to stockpot. Mix salsa thoroughly.
- Heat the salsa to a gentle simmer. There is no need to cook it; you just want to get hot enough for canning.
- Fill the jars with salsa, allowing 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rims for any spills. Seat the lids and hand-tighten the rings around them.
For water bath canning salsa: Place the jars in the pre-heated canner. Make sure they are covered with at least 1 inch of water.
Bring to a boil and start the timer. Process the jars in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes for 8 oz and pints and 20 minutes for quarts.
When processing time is done, turn off heat, remove lid and wait 5 minutes to remove jars.
Remove jars from canner. Place 1″ apart on a kitchen towel on the counter top. Let the jars sit to cool completely (12 to 24 hours). Remove rings and check seals. (Center of lid should not flex if properly sealed.)
Wipe any drips, label and date and store in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight. Best used within one year.
Makes around 10-12 pints.