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Today marked a special place in the foodie year. Today was the first tomato project of the year. I made salsa. Well, let me clarify, I made Ball’s Fiesta Salsa. Just add tomatoes. It actually tastes pretty good. You see, I have horrible luck making salsa from scratch. It usually turns out way too vinegary for me (which is usually not a problem-I love vinegar), or it’s quite bland. I’m constantly on the lookout for new salsa recipes. I’m also very picky when it comes to salsa. Tomatoes, onion, a bit of jalapeño and cilantro. No corn or chunks of sweet pepper. I suppose I’m a bit of a purist. But I want what I want; I’m the one eating it, right?

Anyhow, back to Ball’s salsa. It’s not much of a recipe, but I’m going to post it to show how easy it is to put up salsa. This is great for new canners.

Ball® Fiesta Salsa

makes 4 pints or 8 half pints

1 pkg Ball Fiesta Salsa Mix

4 lbs fresh tomatoes (about 12 medium) to yield 9 c finely diced, or 5 cans (14.5 oz) petite diced

Optional, hot pepper flakes or sauce, to taste.

1. Combine tomatoes and contents of package in a large saucepan.

2. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

3. Prepare canner jars and lids, according to manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.

5. Process in a boiling water canner for 35 minutes (adjusting for altitude), timing when water returns to boil.

That’s it. So easy. I don’t even have a canning pot with a rack. I use my stockpot with an old washcloth on the bottom to cushion the jars. I do, however, have the canning tool kit, something that makes canning life so nice. It consists of a jar lifter (those jars are HOT), a magnetic lid lifter (those are HOT too), and a device that measures headspace and gets out bubbles.

So, for those that are new at canning, go ahead and give it a try. For those who have canning down, this is a quick and easy gift idea. Enjoy!


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