Following directions – green tomato salsa

Last year my favorite thing of all the food I canned was the green tomato salsa. It was seriously YUM – and I just finished my last jar of it, so it was the perfect time to make more. There’s no shortage of green tomatoes right now either.

Lots of green tomatoes! Don’t worry, there’s still plenty left to ripen (if they ever do).

I spent a couple hours chopping all the onion, peppers, garlic, and tomatoes, in fact I spread the job over two days! Finally, I had it all in the pan, with the liquid – a mix of lemon and lime juice, and spices.

I boiled it, meanwhile I boiled the jars, and soon it was all ready to put together. I was following a canning recipe exactly. I had a little assembly line set up. I thought I had it all but I forgot one really important step! After you fill the jars you’re supposed to use something to gently get rid of the bubbles down inside the jar before processing. I realized just as I put the last filled jar into the water bath that I hadn’t done this! I pulled the jar back out and looked at it, and sure enough there were big air bubbles throughout the jar. I was really disappointed in myself – I’m supposed to be a master food preserver, and getting out the bubbles is basic stuff! I went ahead and processed them.

The trick is that if you realize you screwed up within 24 hours, you can reprocess the food safely. I had Dave pick up some more jar lids, and once it was cool enough to handle, I opened all the jars. I noticed the salsa was pretty chunky, and I remembered my teacher saying it should be kind of thin, so I dumped the jars, two at a time, into the blender and gave them a quick spin before dumping them into a pot.

While that heated to a simmer I washed the jars and got them heated up in the water bath again. Then I refilled them with the blended salsa. This time the salsa was so thin there weren’t any air bubbles to worry about. I lidded them up and processed them like before.

There are very few small bubbles visible in the jars after processing, but that’s ok. It was worth the time to reprocess these. All I lost was a few lids, and that’s better than having to throw out spoiled salsa a few months from now. I think I will be enjoying these until it’s time to make more next year!

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