I love this time of the year. Harvest time! Which also means canning time.
For the past few years, we have planted a garden at our house, and I usually end up canning tomatoes and peaches. Sometimes when people hear that I am canning, they get all weird, like they think I’m a pioneer or something. I know, sometimes canning seems crazy! I have been guilty of thinking, “I’ll just buy a bottle of salsa at the store”.
I am always so disappointed in the store bought salsa. Not only is homemade salsa a lot healthier for you and cheaper (especially if you grow your own garden), but nothing compares to the yumminess you’ll find in your own bottle of homemade salsa. Seriously, guys, it is so good! Good enough that I’m eating a bowl of it with tortilla chips as I type this… at 1:00 am while everyone is asleep and I don’t have to share. I know. Be jealous.
Normally, I would use my mother in law’s salsa recipe. But I happened to misplace it, and she wasn’t there when I called, so I took matters into my own hands and made up my own recipe. I took a few different recipes I liked and mixed them together and subtracted some things to get the mother of all yumminess in a bottle.
Looks amazing, right? Trust me, it is. So obviously you want to make your own. Let me walk you through it.
This recipe is for a mild-medium salsa. You can make it spicier by adding more jalapenos… or milder by seeding your peppers, or taking some out all together.
This recipe makes about 12-15 pints. If you don’t want that much salsa, or don’t have that many tomatoes and peppers on hand, go ahead and half it.
35 medium tomatoes ( I like Roma Tomatoes because they are a lot meatier and less juicy)
4 jalapenos (with seeds)
3 green peppers (seeded)
2 red peppers (seeded)
3 onions (you can use red, yellow, whatever you have)
1 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder (optional)
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
juice of 1 lime
handful of cilantro (optional)
Of course, all of these ingredients can be adjusted to your liking. For instance, my husband hates cilantro. I love it, so I still put it in. But if you are more sympathetic to your husband’s liking than I am, go ahead and get rid of it. It’s also a pretty sweet salsa, so I would suggest putting in half the sugar up front, and then adding more if you like the sweetness.
Now, I use my food processor for a lot of the chopping. Mostly because once I touch a jalapeno, I can’t take my contacts out for a week! I am a wimp for spicey stuff, and I don’t want all that juice all over my hands. If you don’t have a food processor, just use an old fashioned knife and chop away!
Start by chopping your peppers. I don’t like my salsa very chunky, so I gave it a GOOD chopping to get rid of any of those pepper chunks.
You’re going to need a big bowl or pot to mix the salsa all up in.
Next, chop the onions. I love the difference in color and flavor the red onion brings, so I used about half yellow onion, and half red onion. And I chopped it probably too much here. But it’s really up to you how chunky you want it.
Now stop for a minute and look at your pepper/onion mixture. Does it look a little runny? Mine did, and if you chop your veggies up a lot like I did, chances are yours will be runny too. So I just tipped my bowl a little and let some of the juice run off. This is already a pretty thin salsa, so if you don’t let the extra moisture run off, you’re going to end up with a REALLY runny salsa. No bueno.
After you have your peppers and onions mixed together and drained, add your vinegar. You need your vinegar because it adds the acid for canning. If you are using this as a fresh salsa, and not planning on canning it, I would recommend leaving the vinegar out. But if you’re canning it, keep the vinegar.
Next you are going to add your spices. Just dump it all in.
If you’re feeling festive, squeeze some lime into the mix. I know some people prefer lemon, and that’s just fine too.
Then grab a handful of cilantro (or don’t, and your husband will love you for it).
And chop it up good. Then throw it into the mix.
Now it’s time to add your tomatoes.
I used about 35 of these medium sized tomatoes. Romas are the best because they are really meaty and not as juicy. But use whatever you have. You can add more or less, depending on how spicey and how tomato-y you want it.
Take a knife and core the tomato. And then quarter the tomato.
Then you’ll need to chop the tomatoes. Again, I used my food processor, and over chopped them. You can do them as chunky as you like. After all, it’s your salsa!
Take a strainer, and strain a lot of the juice out of your tomatoes. I actually caught the juice in a bowl and then bottled that as tomato juice. If you use Roma tomatoes, you might not need to strain the juice off at all.
Add your tomatoes to your pepper mixture.
Stir it all together and taste. Add more sugar, salt, garlic, peppers, whatever you think it needs.
Here’s my tip. Taste it with a tortilla chip, because 99% of the time, that’s how I eat my salsa. And the chips are already salty, so you won’t feel like you need to add more salt. (But you can if you want!)
Now comes the canning part.
If you are making your salsa to eat fresh, stop here.
If you are canning your salsa, start by sanitizing your bottles.
I just stick them in my dishwasher and push the sanitize button. Or if you don’t have a sanitize button, just rinse them on really hot.
Dump your salsa into your hot bottles.
Stick a new, unused lid on.
And process for 45 minutes.
Process just means to submerge the bottles completely in boiling hot water, and boil for however long.
After processing, let your bottles sit on the counter at room temperature. Check your bottles after 24 hours and make sure they have sealed. You’ll know they’ve sealed if the top of the lid doesn’t pop up and down when you press on it.
This is the kind of stuff that your neighbors love if you share!
Don’t lose this recipe like I did! You can pin this recipe to your pinterest board, simply by hovering over the image above with your mouse and clicking on the “pin it” button that pops up.