My problem with homemade canned tomato salsa is that it always ends up tasting cooked—but not in a good way—from the canning process. It’s as if you made a batch of pico de gallo, boiled it for 20 minutes, then chilled it and served it. Nothin’ but nasty. I’ve eventually come to the conclusion that the only way around this is to focus my canning efforts on cooked salsa. Salsa verde is a great example. Roasted tomato salsa is another good solution.
Roasted Tomato Salsa (for canning)
About 8 pounds of tomatoes (18 medium)
3 small onions or 1 large onion, hacked into large pieces
1 cup cilantro, thick stems removed
Several dried peppers: I used 3 dried bird peppers and 1 dried ancho pepper
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup lime juice
1) Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange them in a roasting pan. Broil for 3–5 minutes, until the skins are charred. If your broiler is unpredictable, you can also roast them for about 30 minutes at 450°F.
2) Meanwhile, soak your dried peppers in boiling water to cover. When they’re pliable, cut them open and remove the seeds. If you want a hotter salsa, leave them in.
3) Also meanwhile, bring a water bath to boil for canning. Sterilize your jars and warm the lids (this made 6 half pints and 1 pint for me, but you might want to have some other pint jars ready in case yours makes more….or just eat the extra).
4) When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, throw them in a food processor with the onions, the garlic, the cilantro, and the peppers. You may have to work in batches. Transfer the chopped vegetable mixture to a stockpot with the lime juice and 1 T salt (more or less to taste). Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
5) Transfer the hot salsa to the hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Run a spatula around the edge to remove air bubbles and add more salsa if necessary. Wipe the rims and adjust the lids. As seems to be the case for most salsas, processing time recommendations vary somewhat, but based on the National Center for Home Food Preservation‘s guidelines for other salsas, you should be fine with 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. After all, this is basically a recipe for roasted tomatoes, garnished with onions, drowned in lime juice.