March 17th, 2016
To avoid burns, wear disposable rubber gloves when handling hot peppers and be sure to wash all utensils and the cutting board well after preparing the peppers. If you use 8-ounce (250 mL) jars, they may not all fit in your canner at once. Let extra jars cool, then refrigerate them and use them up first. To avoid this problem, I like to pack some in pint (500 mL) jars and some in 8-ounce (250 mL) jars. That way, I also have different sizes and can open the size I know I'll use up within a few weeks.
In a large pot, combine tomatoes, onions, red peppers, yellow wax peppers, jalapeños, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring often, for about 1 hour or until salsa is reduced by about half and is thick enough to mound on a spoon.
Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids (see pages 7 to 8).
In a heatproof bowl, combine dried chile peppers and boiling water. Let stand for about 30 minutes or until peppers are softened. Remove peppers from liquid and discard liquid. Discard stem and seeds and finely chop peppers. Stir into salsa with oregano (if using) and boil gently, stirring often, for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1⁄2 inch (1 cm) headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace as necessary by adding hot salsa. Wipe rim and place hot lid disc on jar. Screw band down until fingertip-tight.
Place jars in canner and return to a boil. Process for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and remove canner lid. Let jars stand in water for 5 minutes. Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let stand for 24 hours. Check lids and refrigerate any jars that are not sealed.