My salsa recipe

A couple readers asked me to share my salsa recipe. My recipe is a rather fluid thing, so I hope this is not too terribly vague for you.

I start with a heap of tomatoes, chopped into about 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch pieces. You can skin them if you want, but I don’t. I chop till I have about 12 cups of tomatoes. Then I finely chop about 2 onions and 2 green (sweet) peppers. I run 4 cloves of garlic through the garlic press.

Then I do the hot peppers. This is the really unscientific part, I’m afraid. My husband grows a medley of hot peppers (Anaheims, haberneros, chilis, Jalapenos) –ranging from ‘need-a-drink-soon’ hot to ‘is-the-skin-peeling-off-my-tongue?’ hot. I usually nibble tiny bits of several different varieties of peppers to get an idea of the heat of each. Then I do about half super hot and half of the mellower varieties. We enjoy very spicy food.

To avoid the dreaded hot-pepper fingers I simply core the peppers and puree them in the food processer. (A whiff of the resulting puree will make you cough.) Usually I puree enough hot peppers to make about a cup of puree. I mix all the ingredients together and add 2 cups of lemon juice and some salt and pepper to taste.

Salsa will always be hotter fresh than it will after it goes through the canning process, so keep that in mind when you’re trying to decide if you need more peppers to kick up the heat or more tomatoes to make it more mild.

Once all ingredients are combined, I heat the salsa in a big pot on the stove until it is simmering, and then I pack it into hot, clean pint or half pint jars and do a boiling water bath.

Because of the peppers and onions, salsa is lower-acid than other tomato-based things, which means it needs a longer processing time than just tomatoes canned alone. I process pint jars in vigorously boiling water for 45 minutes. This may be massive over-kill, but I prefer to be on the safe side. You can also pressure-can salsa if you prefer. Read the instructions from your pressure-canner to figure times. If you’d rather totally avoid canning, you could freeze it at this point instead of canning it. You’ll probably want to use small plastic containers instead of glass jars, however.

If you have never canned food and would like more detailed information about safely canning tomatos, check out this UC Davis website. It even includes another salsa recipe you can try. Canning is not hard, but you should read about it so you can do it safely.

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  1. Mary,

    Thanks for sharing! We love salsa at our house. Also I know you have posted recipes from Ethiopia but I couldn’t find them are they here or at your Ethiopian blog? Wanted to try a few out.


  2. Thanks! Also – not like you’re busy or anything – would LOVE to see pictures of the garden when you get around to it!

  3. I can’t tell you how excited I am that you posted this recipe. I just found your blog yesterday or the day before and I am in love! I am currently taking on an extreme garden and my only prayer is that I can make enough salsa to feed our family for a year and to have enough to give away as Christmas gifts. I have not yet jumped into the world of canning so this was a great kick in the pants to not be so scared.

  4. Mary,
    Thanks so much for posting this recipe. So far we are keeping up with our tomatoes and peppers with various recipes, but I can see that in the near future, I am going to have to start some serious canning. I’ll definitely be giving your salsa recipe a try.

  5. This sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing. I LOVE salsa but my family is less than enthralled with spicy foods (can you say ‘bland city’). 🙂 I’ll have to try your recipe. If you were going to the store, what kind of peppers would you buy. Help us Mexican food novices!

  6. I just came across your salsa Recipe! I would Like to know what (sweet )green peppers are?.