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Salsa time

September 16, 2008

Well almost, there won’t be any pics because I haven’t made my roasted tomato salsa yet, but I know other gardens are way ahead of mine, some are even experiencing frost.  So I thought I would share my recipe, and all the trials and tribulations of making salsa and getting someone to eat it.
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As you can see, my tomato plants are starting to look a little peaked.  I haven’t watered them, since the first week in August, (this will concentrate the sugars) and I have been pretty rough on them, trimming back the new growth.  This is my boring guy winner, Costoluto Genovese from Cook’s Garden.  This is the one that tastes the best in the salsa to us.  But finding a salsa recipe that is safe to can, and people still find palatable isn’t always easy.  Too runny, too hot, not hot enough, isn’t like store bought.  You name it, I’ve heard the complaints.

The general rule of safe canning is DON’T mess with a recipe, especially when you are combining low acid ingredients with acid ingredients.  I think salsa is the number one home canned product that tenses out the Extension Service.  But, you know me, I can’t leave well enough alone.  It also helps to have a foodie friend that just so happens to have a food testing lab, who after eating my salsa, and then making her own, is still alive. 😉  We have tested this salsa for pH, and it is in the safe range, or 4.4 – 4.5.  Just to make sure, it didn’t lose acidity over time, she tested a year old jar last week, and it was the same.  So proceed if you want, but keep the quantities the same on the peppers and onions, if you want hotter salsa, use a hotter variety of pepper.  I make this two ways, one with chopped fresh tomatoes, which is I use for cooking Mexican flavored stews, and one with roasted tomato puree that will have a thicker consistency similar to store bought salsa.  I got this recipe originally from the cooking section of the newspaper, so the original recipe was a tested one.  The changes I have made are:
*  I doubled the quantity, but did not change the ratio of low acid to high acid.
*  I substituted roasted tomato puree for the chopped tomatoes, to make a thicker product.

MILD SALSA   makes approximately 7 pints

10 cups peeled, finely chopped tomatoes    OR  10 cups roasted tomato puree*
2 cups sweet pepper, finely chopped
2/3 cup mild chilies, finely chopped
2 cups onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup cider vinegar (at least 5% acidity)
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

Note:  you can use any kind of pepper, just do not exceed 2 2/3 cups total.

Combine all ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Fill hot jars, leaving 1/2 headspace.  Attach lids and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.  (1001 – 6000 feet process 20 minutes; above 6000 feet, process 25 minutes)  For an added degree of safety, in case you are using sweeter, low acid tomatoes, you can add 1/4 teaspoon citric acid per pint, or 1/2 teaspoon per quart.

*To roast tomatoes:  Preheat oven to 400*, cut tomatoes in half, place cut side down in a jelly roll or roasting pan.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Roast until golden and juice has evaporated.  Depending on the variety of tomatoes this may take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.  At this point, you can pluck off the skins, or puree in a food processor, or run the tomatoes through a food mill.  If the mixture is still too runny for salsa, cook down in a crock pot to the desired consistency.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2008 4:48 am

    This sounds delicious. To make the roasted tomato puree, do I just roast my tomatoes whole in the oven till they’re soft and have a bit of black places and then run them through the strainer? Or am I missing some important step there?

  2. September 17, 2008 6:06 am

    Oops, so much for writing a post late at night and assuming everyone roasts tomatoes. 😉

    Yes, roast the tomatoes at least until golden and most of the juice has evaporated. You can pluck the skins off, or run the tomatoes through a food mill. There are some photos of roasted tomatoes in an earlier post EXTREME CANNING.

    Thanks Bethany, I’ll add the roasting instructions at the bottom of the post!

  3. September 17, 2008 8:53 am

    I probably won’t try salsa yet, but wanted to thank you for the “stop watering to sweeten” mention. I had no idea.

  4. September 17, 2008 10:46 am

    First off, I broke out in a smile when I read your line about not leaving well enough alone. Then, I burst out laughing when you mentioned that your friend was still alive after eating your salsa! I’ve never canned salsa, but I’m really tempted. I’d also like to try canning stewed tomatoes, but that’s a different beast. I like your ingredients here, and I bet it tastes great. I lOVE salsa! Man, now I’m hungry!

  5. September 17, 2008 3:06 pm

    Monday, Monday is the day I make salsa, no time this week but I am going to try your roasted tomato trick.

  6. September 17, 2008 4:35 pm

    Hey, I’m back again … just wanted to leave a note that I hope you are safe from the fires that are burning over near Mt. Hood. Sending good thoughts your way …..

  7. September 17, 2008 10:23 pm

    Meadowlark, salsa is easy, pick a recipe out of the Ball Blue Book, they are all water bath recipes, so the worst part is all the prep work.

    Paula, thanks, the fire is east of us, and the wind is right, it would take quite awhile to get this far. Stewed tomatoes aren’t much different than the salsa, just different ingredients but pretty much the same method. Either is good to have on hand for cooking. Especially a cook like you. Thanks for thinking of us.

    Linda, maybe Monday will be the day here too, way too busy, I don’t know what to do first or last.

  8. September 18, 2008 10:54 am

    I make a mean pico de gallo. I had hoped to maybe can some this year, but I don’t know if I will get enough tomatoes to do it. That, and there is so much stuff to get done before my Little Cowboy’s birthday party next Saturday!

  9. September 20, 2008 12:25 pm

    Liz, I think you will have to add more acid to your Pico de Gallo to make it safe to can… vinegar maybe??

  10. May 18, 2009 1:44 pm

    We just used our last jar of “Throwback Salsa”. Good, good stuff. Flavorful enough for me, mild enough for my husband.

  11. November 7, 2009 10:17 am

    I’m picky about salsa too. My recipe wasn’t quite right, so I tried (an adaptation of) yours this year. I roasted my paste tomatoes, picked green and just now ripened, and left them quite chunky after skinning. I also roasted and peeled the last of my fresh green peppers – bell, jalapeno, and chile. Mine’s going to be quite hot. Not changing the ratios, I had enough to put up 12 pints yesterday. I did add 1/2 teaspoon lime juice to each pint before filling, just in case the roasting of the peppers allowed more of them to fit in the measuring cup, and water-bathed it for 30 minutes because of my altitude. The acid test (double entendre intended) will come when I see if sweet husband likes it. Mr. Picky says he can’t stand anything made with vinegar, so I don’t tell him it’s a secret ingredient in quite a few of his favorite recipes (Robert Heinlein: “Don’t tell a man anything more than he absolutely needs to know”).

  12. Fawn "Renee" Lamb permalink
    November 4, 2011 12:27 pm

    Thank you for all your helpful info……I’m going to attempt my first Salsa canning…I’ve talked to my friend a firesign farm & she mentioned your recipie, so here I go….

  13. Amanda permalink
    August 22, 2013 7:44 am

    The salsa sounds amazing! Can’t wait to try it. Thank you for the recipe. 🙂

  14. Regina Pishion permalink
    August 22, 2013 8:55 am

    I use a salsa recipe very close to yours without the vinegar, but I add a teaspoon of citric acid to every pint jar as I fill the jars and I’m not dead yet either. I like the thicker texture I can get with this variant.

  15. August 22, 2013 12:31 pm

    We have two jars of last year’s salsa left. My family might balk at my changing up the recipe, but I’m going to try yours, anyway, because of the roasted tomatoes! I’ve never roasted the tomatoes in my salsa, and I think it ought to make a nice change. Also I’ve never heard of not watering tomatoes in order to increase the sugar content. Great stuff, Matron!


  1. Pages tagged "mild"
  2. I Love Roasted Tomato Salsa « Throwback at Trapper Creek

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