Choice Salsa

Yields about 6 pint jars. Recipe by National Center for Home Food Preservation

6 cups peeled, cored, seeded and chopped ripe tomatoes

9 cups diced onions and/or peppers of any variety

1½ cups commercially bottled lemon or lime juice

3 teaspoons canning or pickling salt

Caution: Wear plastic or rubber gloves and do not touch your face while handling or cutting hot peppers. If you do not wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes.

Do not substitute vinegar for the lemon or lime juice. Do not change the proportions of the tomatoes, vegetables and acid — that might make the salsa unsafe.

1. Wash and rinse pint or half-pint canning jars; keep hot until ready to fill. Prepare lids and ring bands according to manufacturer’s directions.

2. To prepare tomatoes: Dip washed tomatoes in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until the skins split. Submerge immediately in cold water. Peel off loosened skins and remove cores. Remove seeds and chop into ¼- to ½-inch pieces.

3. Peel, wash, core and dice onions

4. Wash and core bell peppers. Remove the seeds and membranes before dicing into ¼-inch pieces.

5. Wash and remove stems of hot peppers. Keep or remove as much of the seeds and membranes as you wish, depending on the “pepper heat” you desire. Dice peppers into ¼-inch pieces.

6. Combine prepared ingredients in a large pot; add lemon juice and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring. Reduce heat and simmer salsa for an additional 3 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent scorching.

7. Spoon the hot salsa into prepared hot jars, leaving ½ inch room at the top. If needed, remove air bubbles and re-adjust headspace to ½ inch.

8. Wipe rims of jars with dampened clean paper towel. Put on lids and bands.

9. Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes. Let cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours, then check seals.