Sunday, May 19, 2013

Homemade Tomato Salsa for Canning

When I think fresh tomatoes, I always find myself thinking of salsa! Spicy, tangy and delicious served beside grilled chicken or beef, as a dip with tortilla chips, on top of tacos and more. 

In fact I think just about everyone is a Salsa connoisseur, having at least one Salsa they particularly enjoy. This simple tomato salsa is easy to do with garden-fresh veggies from your local farm or farmer's market.

This salsa involves cooking the tomatoes, onions and peppers down, then blending them in a blender or food processor, and adding some reserved diced tomatoes, onions and jalapeno peppers just before you ladle it into the canning jars. The end result is more of a smooth, thick restaurant-style salsa with a few chunks of tomato, onion and jalapeno peppers.


5 lbs of tomatoes (reserve 2 tomatoes, chopped)
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and stems removed, chopped; divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion; divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. dried oregano or cilantro (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1-2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. course-ground black pepper
1-2 tsp sugar (to taste)
1 - 6-oz. can tomato paste (adds body)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add whole tomatoes and blanch a few minutes or until skins begin to split; immediately plunge tomatoes into ice water to prevent them from cooking more (optional - you can cook them with the skins if desired since they will be processed in a blender).

Peel (optional) and dice tomatoes; place in a large pot reserving 2 tomatoes chopped to put in a colander to drain.

Reserve 1 jalapeno chopped and place in colander with 2 tomatoes above to drain.

Reserve 1/2 cup onion diced and place in colander with tomatoes and jalapeno peppers.

Place remaining jalapeno pepper slices and chopped onion in large pot with diced tomatoes; add spices and lemon juice.

Cook over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and process in a blender. Return to large pot and stir in tomato paste. Bring back to a simmer and stir in reserved tomatoes, onions and jalapeno peppers.

Ladle hot salsa in to canning jars (regular pint or wide-mouth pint), cover with seals and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Cooks note - When you get ready to use the salsa, if it is too hot or spicy for your taste, simply add one can of diced tomatoes, which will make it more mild.

Yield:  5-6 pint jars

Please Note:   The only change you can safely make in this salsa recipe is to change the amount of spices and herbs. Do not alter the proportions of vegetables to acid and tomatoes because it might make the salsa unsafe.  Since tomatoes are a borderline acid / low acid fruit - adding lemon juice helps processing according to the specified times (determined by the USDA) in the boiling water bath.
  • Do not substitute vinegar for lemon juice; lemon juice is more acidic.
  • Do not reduce the amount of lemon juice or tomatoes.
  • Do not add extra peppers, onion, or garlic. You can reduce the amount of peppers, onion, or garlic.
  • You can substitute one type of pepper for another. For example bell peppers, yellow peppers, banana peppers, chili peppers may all be substituted 1 for 1.
  • The key is not increasing the amount of low acid ingredients in relation to the amount of high acid ingredients


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