Measuring Tomatoes and Peppers in Canned Salsa

Asked October 1, 2018, 4:02 PM EDT

Hello, when a salsa recipe for canning calls for a quart of tomatoes I assume this is a quart of whole tomatoes, not chopped, correct?

If so, does this "7 quarts peeled, cored, chopped paste tomatoes" also mean unchopped, whole tomatoes?

And how do you measure a quart of whole tomatoes being there is airspace around them and their size and shape makes it difficult to fill a quart with the tomatoes decently packed together? I ask because I know for safety's sake it is important to have the correct proportions of ingredients.

Lastly, when a recipe calls for a long green chili how do you know what size this means? All my recipes come from the National Center for Home Food Preservation, but when they speak of long green chilis in an article separate from the recipe they list a range of sizes for these peppers, so again, for the sake of safety, I'm not sure in terms of measurements what exactly this means. Thank you!

Alpena County Michigan

3 Responses

When making salsa and the recipe asks for a quart of tomatoes generally they are referring to peeled, cored and chopped tomatoes. That is how they would be used in the recipe. The recipe you are referring to, with the past tomatoes, you would still peel core and chop any type of tomato. The paste tomato is used to make a thicker salsa. Less water more solid tomato is what a paste tomato provides. The long green chiles, if it is the same recipe asks for 4 cups seeded chopped, long green chilies. When a recipe asks for a long green chiles that is asking for a chile type pepper that is longer than most, however if you are canning chiles whole have them the size of the jar you are canning them in.
Also head space is very important when canning foods in a jar. Always read the entire recipe to know how much head space is needed for heat expansion. Too little head space could push food bits under the rim or seal of the lid and not allow the jar to seal properly. Too much head space could keep too much air in and not kill all the bacteria that may be in the jar and not create a tight vacuum seal.


Thank you. So I canned salsa last week and used the measurement as whole, unpeeled tomatoes sitting in a plastic quart container, because that's what I was told in a class. Should I throw out the salsa since it may not equal one quart of chopped tomatoes and thus be unsafe?

And I know this recipe asks for four cups of long green chilis, however, other recipes on the site asks for four long green chilis and six jalapeƱos. While jalapeƱos seem to be a fairly uniform size, in this instance what I'm asking is how large should be the long green chili that I use for this recipe as the size can be variable? Thank you. And, secondly, if I wish to substitute another pepper type for a long green chili, in cups, how much is one long green chili.

Ok so did you have the correct head space in the jars? It is what is in the jar and was it processed for the correct amount of time that really matters. Since I don't know what that process was I can't say how safe it is. However the measurement of the tomatoes is not going to make a difference.
As far as the long green chilies I am still going to say that the chilli should fit the jar or it can be cut to fit the jar as long as the correct head space is there when you process and seal the jar.

I can offer classes in Alpena County if there is interest. You can always contact the local office for information. My office is in Montmorency please contact me at any time. 989-785-8016