Mary’s Salsa

  • 12 large tomatoes, diced
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 4 large sweet peppers, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • Hot peppers, to taste
  • 2 cups lemon or lime juice (or may substitute 1 cup vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • fresh basil, minced, to taste (optional)

Start by chopping the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and sweet peppers.   You can skin the tomatoes if you want to be fussy, but I never do. Then prep your hot peppers.  I’d recommend at least 4 jalapenos, even for mild salsa, since canning the salsa really diminishes its heat.   I use at least a dozen peppers myself, usually a combination of jalapeno, habanero, and Anaheim — we like heat. To avoid the dreaded spicy fingers, simply cut the tops off the hot peppers and drop them in a food processor, seeds and all. ( If you are going for a milder salsa, remove the seeds.) Once your peppers are topped and in the food processor, pour the lemon juice into the processor and whiz it all together.  You probably won’t want to breath too deeply while you’re doing this– the air will make you cough.

Combine all ingredients in a large pot on the stove,  turn it on medium high, and bring salsa to a simmer.  At this point you can taste the salsa and see if it needs more peppers.  Keep in mind that canning will diminish the heat, however.  At this point also place your canning pot on the stove, filled half way with water.   Turn it on high and add a splash of vinegar to avoid hard water spots on your jars.

Once salsa has come to a simmer, pour it carefully into hot, clean pint or half-pint jars and can via 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 40 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.

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  1. What is the yield on this recipe. It looks good. The woman who taught me to can taught me with salsa. It was a marathon session. I don’t remember the recipe because I ended up in the hospital the next day for a week (unrelated) and that kind of put it out of mind. She’s been reluctant to part with the recipe since. :O)

  2. Sounds tasty! Off to buy more jars… (I’ve actually used all mine up this year! Yippie!)

  3. Ok SO this is my first time canning…. I head that Roma tomatoes are best(not as juicy?)… I am ordering them by the bushel from the local farmer do you suggest regular tomatoes or Roma? Think I will use your recipe need to get more peppers! Any suggestions when using a Steam Canner? Thanks so much!

    • Deanna, Romas will make the salsa thicker, which is great. But you will need more of them– probably 2 medium sized romas for every large tomato. But it is actually a pretty relaxed recipe. A little more or less tomato won’t hurt the recipe, esp with the lemon juice or vinegar present keeping the acidity up.
      I’ve never used a steam canner, and am not sure how different it is from a boiling water bath, so I can’t give advice there.

  4. Thanks for the recipe! I left out the sweet peppers at my husband’s request, used lemon juice, and added about 3/4 cup chopped cilantro instead of basil. My husband said it was the best salsa he’d ever had! The recipe made 10 pints for me.

  5. basil and not cilantro?? I’m perplexed 🙂

    • 🙂 Well, I have a couple of cilantro-haters, AND a rather large basil plant. And basically the peppers are the stars of my salsa. But feel free to use cilantro if you wish!


  6. Ooh, this sounds really different. I’m going to have to try this.
    I still have happy memories of being taught to make a basic salsa by some Californians back when Tex-Mex was basically heard of in the UK!