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I grew my own tomatoes this year and had success with making my own salsa. Do you need a pressure cooker to can home-made salsa?

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Note: if you do find that your salsa should be pressure-canned, be sure to check if your pressure cooker can be used for canning or not. A pressure cooker can't always be used for canning; you may actually need a pressure canner. –  JustRightMenus Aug 29 '10 at 3:51

2 Answers 2

You cannot preserve just any salsa recipe (unless you're just freezing it).

Tomatoes are on the border between acidic and non-acidic foods. What this means is that they can be water-bath canned if they are sufficiently high in acid; but, if they are low in acid, they need to be pressure canned.

If you want to be sure to avoid trouble, follow a tested recipe. Salsa recipes will have a careful balance of low and high acid ingredients. Do not alter the proportion of acids (tomatoes and vinegar or lime/lemon juice) and low-acids (other vegetables, peppers, etc).

The recipe you choose should specify if it requires pressure canning or water-bath canning. One of those two methods must be used, though... you can't just put it in jars and save it.

For tested recipes, see the Ball Blue Book, the Ball website, or the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

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Presumably if you want to test your own recipe to be completely sure, you could just measure the pH? Strips with a 0.5 resolution might be good enough, long as you err on the side of caution, though pH meters aren't really that expensive. (I don't have any experience, but from reading, it sounds like there's a clear pH cutoff between low- and high-acid for this purpose.) –  Jefromi Aug 29 '10 at 13:36
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I like the cut of your jib. –  Sobachatina Aug 29 '10 at 22:15

Most salsas are pretty acidic. If that is the case with this one you should be able to safely can it without a pressure canner.

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see JustRightMenus' answer. It's not quite that simple according to the above links. Botulism is no fun. –  justkt Aug 29 '10 at 13:07

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