I'm all about creative cooking...who wants to follow a recipe?
I like to make it up as I go along, altering as I go.
However, in water bath canning, this is a big NO NO!
Below are some SAFE ways to experiment (a little)
without risking a potentially unsafe end product.
Safe Canning Practices:
Following your water bath canning recipes are important...even if it goes against your grain as a creative cook. The reason for this is that water bath canning relies on acid levels to create safe canning. And recipes are calculated to achieve exactly that right balance to keep you and those you feed, safe.
This means, if you have an extra couple tomatoes and think you should just throw them into the pot. DON'T. If you feel like reducing the vinegar because you don't really like it, DON'T. But, there are some safe substitutions you can make...if you follow the rules.
(And if you'd like the recipe you're making to have lots of variety, make it as a refrigerated, eat now food, and save the canning for safely tested recipes.)
Safe Canning Substitutions:
Unless your recipe specifically states otherwise, here are some safe salsa canning substitutions:
You can use ANY kind of tomato in your recipes, including green and tomatillos. (I personally love using tomatillos--not only because I love the taste, but you also don't need to blanch them first--I'm all about saving time and steps!)
You can use ANY kind of peppers in salsa recipes, or a combination of different kinds. You can also use any kind of bell pepper--not just hot peppers. Just make sure the end AMOUNT stays the same, regardless of your pepper combination.
You can substitute BOTTLED lemon or lime juice instead of vinegar, but don't use fresh juice.
You can mess with these all you want. Add or subtract spices to your heart's content. They won't mess with the acid levels of your final food product.
While these slight substitutions aren't radical, they do leave you a bit of 'play' room in your canning and still allow you to stay within safety guidelines.
Here are some great canning recipes to try:
Simple House Salsa
Green Chili BBQ Sauce
Check out more canning recipes here.
Find out more about home canning basics, the canning supplies you will need, and pre-and post- canning procedures to follow.