Enjoy the taste of fresh tomatoes all year round with my best homemade salsa recipe for canning.
You might also like my easy chili rellenos recipe!
With tomatoes, it’s feast or famine. In the winter, they can only be grown indoors, or in places where it doesn’t get cold.
To get them to our northern grocery stores, they are picked green, long before they can ripen on the vine. And since nobody wants a green tomato, the growers use ethylene gas to artificially turn the tomatoes red. Note that I didn’t say ripen.
What you end up with is a green tomato that has turned a sickly orange-ish color which tastes terrible. It’s sad, but most of us just forego tomatoes until they come back in season.
Fast forward to late summer. Many people (like me) plant vegetable gardens, and the tomatoes all come ripe at once. There is really nothing better than a vine-ripened tomato, but realistically, what can you eat, maybe one or two a day.
Meanwhile, your plants are producing many, many more than you can eat fresh. Lots of people can them. My experience has been that canned tomato sauce is a good way to deal with them, but I’ve always gotten through the year with sauce left over. I needed a way to deal with the crush of tomato-ey goodness, that everybody would love.
What I do with all those fresh tomatoes
Make salsa! Everybody loves chips and salsa, and it works for a summer picnic, and a January football game. The trouble with salsa is that almost every recipe you can find will result in fresh salsa which tastes great, but won’t keep.
I have a recipe that I really like for making the best homemade salsa for canning, which will be there the next day, the next month, and the next spring when there’s not a fresh tomato in sight.
It’s so good, that the first time I made it, we went through eight pint jars in just a couple of weeks. Now, I make batches to can, and other batches to put in the fridge and eat. The stuff is great with chips, and as a condiment for Mexican and other foods.
A Butt-load of Tomatoes and a Big Pot
First thing you need is a lot of tomatoes. Like 8 lbs. I can get these together during the biggest waves of the summer growing season. But what do you do if the crush is over? Well you can go to a local farmer’s market and buy them in bulk. But if your plants are done producing, chances are so are the local farms.
Today, I will try using canned crushed tomatoes. I bought a case of six 28-oz cans at Costco. After I’m done, I’ll compare the result with my previous batches using fresh tomatoes.
Homemade Salsa Ingredients
Preparation is a bit involved in this recipe, so food processors are nice to have. Along with the tomatoes, you need the following:
- 8 lbs of vine-ripe tomatoes skins removed and crushed (or in this case, about six, large 28-oz cans of crushed tomatoes)
- three onions finely chopped
- three bell peppers finely chopped
- three banana peppers finely chopped
- three jalapeno peppers finely chopped
- three cans of tomato paste
- 1/2 cup of vinegar
- two cloves of garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons of salt
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon of ground cayenne pepper
If using fresh tomatoes for salsa
With fresh tomatoes, you need to wash, core, and blanch them in boiling water followed by an ice bath to aid in removing the skins. Afterward, crush them into the biggest pot you have. With only a few stragglers left in my October garden, I will save myself a lot of effort and just use a can opener.
Place all of these ingredients into the pot (I use a large stock pot) along with the crushed tomatoes, and mix well. Don’t worry if it’s pretty full as the mixture will cook down. Place the pot on medium heat until it starts to boil. Then turn it down to maintain the boiling.
Stir occasionally as the salsa at the bottom of the pot may burn a little. Cook for 3 hours with the lid off. You should see the mixture reduce in volume and become quite thick. Don’t fret if you get a bit of burnt salsa as I think the flavor is enhanced.
To Can or Not To Can…..
Taste and add chopped chilies if you want the salsa to be hotter. The result is a thick, sweet and spicy salsa that tends to disappear very quickly in my house. Unlike the fresh stuff, it is also perfect for canning.
The recipe should yield about 4+ quarts. I chose to can the 4 quart jars, and keep a couple of pint jars in the fridge for easy snacking. Go through the stuff in the fridge, and save the canned stuff for later.
The real question is “Is this homemade salsa made from canned tomatoes as good as that made from the fresh ones?” My expert, 13-year old Max, says that the canned stuff is just as good if not better.
My Best Canned Homemade Salsa
Along with being a great chip dip, I use it on all my Mexican food like my Chili Rellenoes.
Day-Tripping With Rick in the Kitchen
Enjoy the taste of fresh tomatoes all year round with my best canned homemade salsa recipe. Can use fresh tomato or canned tomatoes in this salsa recipe.
- 8 lbs of vine-ripe tomatoes skins removed and crushed or in this case, about six, large 28-oz cans of crushed tomatoes
- 3 onions finely chopped
- 3 bell peppers finely chopped
- 3 banana peppers finely chopped
- 3 jalapeno peppers finely chopped
- 3 cans of tomato paste
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons of salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
With fresh tomatoes, you need to wash, core, and blanch them in boiling water followed by an ice bath to aid in removing the skins.
Afterward, crush them into the biggest pot you have.
Place all of these ingredients into the pot (I use a large stock pot) along with the crushed tomatoes, and mix well.
Don't worry if it's pretty full as the mixture will cook down.
Place the pot on medium heat until it starts to boil.
Then turn it down to maintain the boiling.
Stir occasionally as the salsa at the bottom of the pot may burn a little.
Cook for 3 hours with the lid off. You should see the mixture reduce in volume and become quite thick. Don't fret if you get a bit of burnt salsa as I think the flavor is enhanced.