A couple of weeks ago I took a day off work. It was Todd's Sunday. Our plans were to can our tomatoes and canning we did! We used to make salsa all from scratch but we have found Mrs. Wages Salsa Mix is just as good and we pick up the packets the end of the season when they are on clearance. Great deal and much cheaper than buying all the ingredients for our salsa from scratch recipe. Now we do add to the packet when we have a crop of onions and peppers. This year we did not add to Mrs. Wages except for our tomatoes. We plant mainly Roma Tomatoes because they tend to make better sauce. We have found the regular tomatoes are better for fresh salsa. Roma's have less juice and more actual tomato.
We began the process at 8:00 am that morning by washing the tomatoes and starting a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Once the water started to boil we add the tomatoes in scalding water for 3 minutes. We then removed the tomatoes and placed them in the sink we had filled with cold water. This stops the cooking process. We then core the tomatoes, but in the case of the Roma's we just cut the top where the tomato were they were attached to the bush and then remove the skin of each tomato. Be careful because the tomatoes are hot still. We kept doing this until all of the tomatoes we were going to use for our canning day, by 11:15 am all of the tomatoes were skinned for the day.
Once the cooking process is done, We (mostly Todd because I was working on the tomatoes) would use a ladle and fill our canning jars (remember they need to be warm or hot jars still), leaving 1/2 inch head room. Head room is the space from the lip of the jar and the salsa in this case. If by chance you spill any on the edge or in this head room, you have to wipe it clean to prevent bacteria growing.
Okay, now back to the canning... after the water bath is done, you carefully lift the lid and then take out each jar. You need to place the jars on a clean towel and do not move them for 24 hours. You will hear popping noises for the next few hours, that is good. After 24 hours, you should check your jars. If the center pops, then you will need to start the water bath process all over. You will have one more chance to get it right.
31 jars of salsa, mild, medium, and hot.
We also did a double batch of pizza sauce. Another 72 more Roma Tomatoes. After using roughly 288 tomatoes we still had two full boxes of tomatoes.