Banana Pepper Salsa

Banana Pepper Salsa

 

A canning recipe for a delicious, perfectly balanced medium-heat salsa that can be adjusted to be mild or hot by reducing or increasing the amount of banana peppers used in the recipe.

Banana Pepper Salsa (Canning Recipe)

Ingredients                Time: 4 hours                 Makes: 4 pints +
6 cups tomatoes, cooked down (approximately 20 medium-sized tomatoes)
1 large sweet onion, diced (approximated 1 1/2 cups)
2 large bell peppers, diced (approximately 1 cup)
4 large banana peppers, finely diced
4 large garlic cloves, finely minced
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, de-stemmed and chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 Tbsp pickling salt
3 Tbsp sugar (optional)
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Canning Equipment
4 clean or sterile pint jars, rims and lids
stockpot or canner
canning rack (to hold jars in canner)
jar lifter

Instructions
Sterilize jars and prepare canning equipment. Sterilize jars by boiling them with the lids removed in a large stockpot for a couple of minutes; only necessary if jars have been used for other canning purposes. If the jars are relatively clean, a soap and water bath is good enough. Ensure that the seal on the lids are not damaged in any way, otherwise replace. Take out the stockpot or canner, the canning wrack, jar lifter and any other tools you will require when getting ready to can.

Prepare the tomatoes for blanching. Blanching is a cooking process wherein a food, in this case the tomato, is scalded in boiling water then plunged into an ice-water bath to halt the cooking process. Begin by preparing an ice-water bath for the tomatoes by filling a large bowl 3/4 full with ice-cold water and some ice-cubes.

Wash the tomatoes and remove the stems. Cut out the top of the tomatoes and any wounds, then cut a small ‘x’ on the bottom of each one. Gently squeeze out any seeds if you can, then transfer tomatoes to a large bowl.

Blanch the tomatoes. In a large sauce pot, fill half-way with clean or purified water and then bring to a boil. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water in batches, full but not enough to over crowd. Cook for about 1 min. or until the skin just starts to wrinkle and peel off. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath to cool.

When the tomatoes have cooled for a couple of minutes in the ice-bath, the skins should slide right off. Remove the skins and then gently squeeze each tomato to discard the seeds and extra water; then transfer the skinned and gently squeezed tomatoes to a large clean bowl. When finished, drain the excess water out of the tomatoes using a large fine mesh strainer.

Cook the tomatoes. Transfer the peeled and drained tomatoes to a large sauce-pot over medium heat and cook gently for about 10 to 15 minutes or until much of the liquid is cooked off and a thick saucy/chunky tomato mixture begins to form. Stir occasionally with wooden spatula to prevent burning. Chop the larger tomatoes into smaller pieces using the spatula while cooking. When the tomatoes are finished cooking, remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare the other ingredients. Dice a large sweet onion and a couple large green bell peppers and then transfer to a large bowl. Finely dice the banana peppers and finely mince the garlic cloves, then also transfer to the large bowl. Lastly, de-stem the cilantro and then roughly chop the leaves, then also add to large bowl.

Prepare salsa. In a dutch oven or large soup pot, add the cooked down tomatoes along with the other prepared vegetable ingredients. Stir in the remaining ingredients which include the cumin, black pepper, pickling salt, sugar and apple cider. Bring the mixture to a light boil over medium heat then reduce the heat to a medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Fill the jars. Using a large ladle, fill the jars with the salsa mixture to about 1/2-inch from the top; then give the contents a gentle stir to remove any bubbles or air-pockets and then refill if necessary again to 1/2-inch from the top. Wipe the rims and tighten the lids on until finger tight; not lose but not too tight.

Process the jars. Fill the canner or stockpot to about 2/3 full of luke-warm water. Transfer the filled jars to the canner into the rack using the jar lifter. Ensure the jars are covered by 1 to 2-inches of water, then bring the water to a boil. When water reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium to a gentle boil.

Process the jars in the water bath for 15 minutes for elevations up to 1000 ft (for elevations 1,001 to 3,000 feet process for an additional 5 minutes; add 10 minutes for 3,001 to 6,000 feet; add 15 minutes for 6,001 feet to 8,000 feet). After the jars have finished processing, turn off the heat and allow the jars to rest in the hot water bath for at least ten minutes before removing.

Transfer jars to counter to cool. Line some clean dish towels on a counter to transfer the jars when they are done processing in the water-bath. Carefully remove the jars with a jar lifter without tilting or shaking to the towel to be left undisturbed for 24 hours. Do not re-tighten the lids if they have become loose. As the jars cool you should hear a “popping sound” telling you that your jars are sealing.

Cool jars undisturbed. Allow the jars to cool upright completely undisturbed for 24 hours to guarantee success. Check the jars have sealed properly by pressing down on the middle of the lid, if it pops back, it is not sealed. The disc on top should be curved downward and not move when pressed if properly sealed. Label the jars including the date they were made. Store the sealed jars in a cool dark place like a pantry, cellar or cold-storage room. Canned salsa keeps well for up to 2 years.

If the jars did not seal properly, just put the jars in the fridge and use within three weeks. Any extra left over salsa that does not fill a jar can be stored in a refrigerator without canning, just use within a few weeks. Enjoy!

Recipe shared by J. Marshall

Nutritional Information
Tomatoes and bell peppers are excellent sources for the essential nutrient Vitamin C.

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