Big Tex® Urban Farms: Tomatoes and Canning Salsa

We hope you’ve been keeping tabs on our Big Tex® Urban Farms. There is a lot to share in regards to new vegetables, fruit varieties and plants sprouting up in our plots. Our focus recently though has been on our vine-ripened tomatoes. Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Well what we do know is that here in Texas, if you grow them right, they’re delicious. We are talking fork, knife, salt and pepper only delicious.

Knowing just how tasty these red gems are, we decided to do a little research and find out how you can turn them into something even better. Salsa. Combining the tomatoes, jalapeño peppers and onions we grow with a little bit of flavoring can be the perfect addition to just about any plate of food.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups seeded, chopped tomatoes (6-7 medium tomatoes)
  • the leaves from one bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 6 cloves fresh chopped garlic
  • 1/2 an onion chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • about 1 tablespoon lime juice

Now, in order to make the salsa, you have to know the proper way to harvest, prepare and can. If you have all the ingredients handy you can move on to the last, and our favorite step, canning. Here is the 101:

  • Once all the ingredients are combined, dump them into a large pot. Bring the salsa to a simmer for 30 minutes. This is to get the salsa hot enough to be ready to fill our hot jars.
  • Once your salsa is hot, remove your jars from the dishwasher or water bath and place them on a towel. Immediately fill your jars to 1/4 inch headspace (using a headspace tool or measuring tape).
  • Once your jars are filled, wipe the rims off with a damp towel to remove any drips. This is very important – if you skip this step, your seal may not form properly.
  • Once the caps are on your jars, place them back in the canner or stockpot filled with boiling water. You can place as many jars as will fit, but don’t overcrowd them. Replace the lid of the canner or stockpot, and adjust the heat to medium high. When the water returns to a boiler, start your timer.
  • Process your salsa for fifteen minutes. When the processing time is over, turn off the heat, remove the lid to the canner or stockpot, and let everything sit for another five minutes.
  • Remove lids, one at a time, from the simmering water, quickly dry off, and place on top of filled jar. Then, screw on the band (hold the lid in place with one finger in the center, and use the other hand to screw on the band).
  • As your jars are cooling, they should start sealing. Each time a lid seals, you will hear a popping sound. You can also tell by looking at the lids whether or not they have sealed.
  • Store the prepared salsa in a cool place and when to time is right (and when is it not?) serve over tortilla chips, beef, chicken, salad or anything that suits you.

We look forward to sharing more recipes like this once our crop begins to grow!

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