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Do you love zucchini but get overwhelmed by how many fruits your plant produces? I feel you. I love finding zucchini in the garden, but I can only make so much zucchini bread. Zucchini salsa has quickly become a family favorite.
I love to preserve what I grow in my garden, creating a pantry full of shelf-stable foods. Most of the year, I only shredded the zucchini and froze it for the occasional bread, muffin, and brownie recipes.
Is It Safe to Can Zucchini?
I heard about making zucchini salsa awhile ago from a friend, but I wasn’t sure, so I had to do some research about is it safe to can zucchini. When you think of preserving zucchini, canning doesn’t usually come to mind.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation says that canning summer squash, including zucchini, isn’t recommended because of the uncertain food processing times. Squash is a low-acid vegetable, and you have to pressure can these types of foods. There hasn’t been enough studies to let us know the appropriate length of time to process to kill off all the bacteria.
They did offer a recipe to safely can zucchini, and that was to create zucchini pineapple. Interesting, right?
You are able to can zucchini pineapple because the high levels of acid in pineapple makes it safe. The NCHFP does recommend recipes for bread and butter zucchini pickles – which are delicious. I tried those as well!
Gather Up The Supplies
Salsa is a high-acid recipe, so that means you don’t need a pressure canner. That makes a lot of people happy, even though I have a secret love affair with my pressure canner.
It doesn’t have an explosive problem like so many people think. It’s just misunderstood.
You’ll need the regular canning supplies for water bath canning, such as:
- A water bath canner
- Jar Lifter
- Stirring Spoons
- Canning Jars, Lids, and Rims
You’ll also need other supplies, such as a cutting board, but most kitchens already have those.
How to Make Zucchini Salsa
For the most part, zucchini salsa is a straightforward recipe. The longest part is grating the zucchini. You need 12 cups of zucchini. I used green and yellow zucchini; it all tastes the same.
Usually, you want to soak the grated zucchini in salt for at least a few hours to help draw out the moisture. Rinse well after the salt soak.
Next up, you have to dice onions and peppers. I use jalapeno, and I often stick a few cayenne peppers into the mix as well to kick up the heat for my husband. He’s a heat addict, so each season, I usually make a hot batch for him and a normal one for the rest of us.
Next, dice up those tomatoes. You can toss them into a food processor if you want as well. Ideally, you don’t want a liquid – chunks are good since it’s salsa.
This is a great recipe to use to get rid of all those blemished tomatoes. No one ever knows that the tomatoes you used weren’t beautiful.
Once everything is ready, all of the ingredients need to go into a large stockpot to cook down. Truly, that’s all there is to it. Salsa needs to cook down for at least 45 minutes to boil off some of the water and to integrate the flavors throughout the salsa.
Once the salsa is put into the jars, process in the water bath canner for 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts.
That’s all you have to do. I take this salsa with me to family parties, and it’s always a hit!
It's the perfect salsa for your pantry with a bit of sweetness paired with heat
- 12 Cups Grated Zucchini
- 2 Cups Diced Onion
- 1 Green Pepper Chopped
- 1 Red Pepper Chopped
- 3-4 Jalapeno Peppers Diced
- 12 Cups Fresh Tomatoes Chopped
- 3 1/2 TBSP Canning Salt
- 1 TSP Turmeric
- 1 TSP Cumin
- 1 TSP Garlic Powder
- 1 TSP Black Pepper
- 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 TBSP Red Chili Peppers
- 1 TBSP Mustard Seeds
- 1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar Light
- 2 Cups White Vinegar
The first step is the longest. Grate the zucchini. You can cover the zucchini with pickling salt and let sit in the refrigerator overnight or several hours to dry out moisture. You can skip this step; I often do, and simply let the mixture to boil longer to remove more of the liquid.
The next day or a few hours later, drain and rinse the zucchini well.
Dice up the onions, tomatoes, and peppers. Remember you can adjust the heat of this recipe by adding or reducing peppers.
Put the grated zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and peppers into a large stock pot. Turn it in on medium-high heat.
Add the turmeric, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, red chili peppers, mustard seeds, brown sugar, and vinegar. Bring up to a boil.
Once boiling, bring down the heat to medium and let the mixture cook for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how much liquid is in the tomatoes. You might have to cook for longer if the tomatoes are watery.
Ladle the hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Don't forget to wipe down the rims before adding the lids and rings.
Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes (pints) or 20 minutes (quarts).