(RI photo)

As tomatoes start to ripen in gardens, salsa is one of the favorite things Iowans like to make with them.

An Iowa State University Extension food specialist says Renee Sweers says if you want to save some salsa for later canning is an option. But she says there are a lot of variables that include the variety, tomato, the weather, the soil, and whether that tomato actually has a high enough acid content.

“There’s sort of a notion that you can make salsa any way you want to and can it. Of course, that’s not really true,” she says. Sweers says you should use lemon juice, or powdered citric acid you are purchasing with your canning supplies to add to the salsa to be sure the acidic mix is right.

And she says to use a recipe that is one that you trust. “Take that salsa recipe and kind of compare it to the various salsa recipes from the tested sources and then follow the one from the tested source that is most similar to kind of their fan-favorite recipe,” she says.

Sweers says without taking these steps you could end up wasting the effort. If you don’t want to get that detailed, you can just make a batch and enjoy. salsa. “Of course, they could also make salsa and just refrigerate it and eat it within a week or so. Fresh salsa just like you know cooking, you don’t have to have a tested recipes if you are just gonna make fresh salsa you can put that together any way you want to,” according to Sweers.

A third option is to freeze the salsa. “Sometimes that appeals to people because they maybe feel it doesn’t take as much time — or doesn’t seem as complicated,” she says. Storage can be an issue if you want to make a big batch.

“You’ve got to have the freezer space as opposed to the canned item which is sitting there on the shelf,” she says.
And the taste of the frozen salsa will be different than the canned option, and she says you may have to drain some water off when you thaw it out.