Garden Fresh Salsa

About: I am a Woodworker, a Do It Yourself-er, a Tinkerer, a Husband, and a Father. I am in no way a professional, I'm just sick of living in a throw away society. Why should we buy everything we need, when build...

Salsa is awesome! But do you know what is even more awesome? Homemade salsa, using fresh ingredients you grow yourself! Store bought salsa is great, but it will NEVER compare to the taste of fresh! Tastes great on anything from chips, to tacos. From time to time I have even been known to spoon some over my eggs in the morning for an extra little kick! It's so simple to make. Try it yourself. You will thank me. :)

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Step 1: Ingredients

35 to 40 Roma Tomatoes. Avoid any that are bruised, or have any heavy blemishes. and NEVER use any with mold.

6 assorted Bell Peppers. Green, yellow, red, orange, whatever you prefer.

4 large Jalapenos, and 4 or 5 Green Chili's.

2 pounds of Yellow or Sweet Onions. (Sometimes I like to mix them, or even use Vidalia.)

1 Cup of Lemon Juice.

1 bunch of Garlic.

5 Tbsp fresh Cilantro.

3 Tbsp Salt

4 tsp Black Pepper.

(Remember folks, This is meant to be a guide, that is all. Feel free to change it up to create the garden fresh flavor that YOU want. This is just my family favorite!)

Step 2: Equiptment

A pot or kettle for boiling the tomatoes. It really doesn't need to be that deep.

A stock pot, with a wire rack in the bottom, to keep jars elevated off the bottom. Just a simple hot water bath.

A bowl of ice water for cooling the tomatoes.

Canning jars, Lids, and Rings.

A clean towel.

A pair of tongs for removing and adding the jars to the boiling water bath.

And the most important part of salsa making, that is often over looked, a really sharp knife. This little gem pictured here is my personal favorite. Hand crafted, High carbon tool steel blade, super thin, and razor sharp. When you are dicing boiled tomatoes, quality really does matter. For those interested, this one was crafted by Cory Tole, over at Altered Bladeworks. They are REALLY reasonably priced custom one-of-a-kind blades.

Step 3: Getting Started

Get started by filling your water bath half full of water, and begin heating it. In the end it will need to be at a full boil, but that takes a while for a pot that big.

Then start heating your kettle (or deep frying pan) of water for boiling the tomatoes.

You will begin by boiling the tomatoes. They need to boil for 3 to 4 minutes is all. Just until the skins split apart on them.

Once the skin splits, place them in the ice water bath to quickly cool them.

Step 4: Process the Tomatoes

Once they have cooled in the ice water, the skins should peel right off super easy.

Then remove the core end. Nobody wants to bite into that in their salsa.

Dice them up nice and small (or larger if you like REALLY chunky salsa), and drain the excess fluid in a strainer while you process the rest of the veggies. This is the part where you need a super sharp blade. Dicing boiled tomatoes is tricky enough with a sharp blade, no need to ruin the experience for yourself by using a dull knife.

Step 5: Processing the Other Veggies

This stage is relatively self explanatory. Take all the peppers, hot peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro and dice it up nice and small.

Once you are done, mix it all together in a large pot, and add the salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Thoroughly mix it all together in a large bowl or pot, making sure it is really well mixed so the hot peppers and spices are evenly distributed.

Step 6: Jarring the Salsa

Once it is all mixed, begin filling the canning jars. you will want to fill them up until the last half of an inch.

Clean the rims of the jars, and place the lids on each jar.

Then screw a ring on each jar, until snug, but not TIGHT. Air will still need to escape the jars when you boil them.

Step 7: Canning

Carefully place the jars in the boiling water bath, being sure that the water is around 2 inches over the top of the jars.

Boil them for 16 minutes, on a full boil. This cooks the salsa, as well as preserves it.

When finished, remove them, tighten the rings, and place them on your clean towel to cool, for about 12 hours.

When cooled you will know if they properly sealed by whether or not the lids are sucked down and depressed from the vacuum sealing.

Step 8: Stay Awesome!!

Take pride in the fact that you created something awesome!

You deserve it! You made something fresh, that you, your friends, and your family will enjoy for up to a year!

And the taste... so much better than anything you buy in the store.

Thanks for taking the time to read all this. See you next time!

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Canning and Pickling Contest 2016

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    8 Discussions


    5 months ago

    Just a heads up---
    You need to follow a published recipe that's known/tested safe, and you should never alter it by adding more of something, for example, you cannot decide to add corn or black beans or more garlic. You can swap similar pH items, for example, if it calls for 2 cups of onions and 1 cup hot peppers, you can sub a mix of sweet peppers as long as it's an equal amount. You cannot ADD a cup more of peppers or onions. Both onions & peppers have very little acidity, they are considered a high pH item; you can replace onions with the same amount of peppers, or visa versa, just don't alter the total amount, which in my example totaled 3 cups.

    ALSO, if you use lemon or lime juice, you should always use bottled juice instead of fresh lemon juice because it's made to an exact measured acidity, like 5%. Real lemons can fluctuate due to growing conditions, varieties, how ripe they are, etc, and for safety, are not recommended.

    Hope this helps. By the way, for other recipes and lots of answers, visit the Harvest forum of GardenWeb, now Houzz, I think. There are many experts there that can explain things about safety...what not to add or change, etc. While there, check out the recipe for Annie's Salsa, it's one of the best on the internet!

    2 replies

    Thank you for your concern. My recipe is known/tested safe. It has also been approved by the Florida Department of Agriculture and the Florida Health Department. This is the one I commercially produce for public consumption under another label. If a product is of a ph level of 4.6 or below, it is deemed high in acid and is safe for boiling water bath canning. Between the Citric Acid, Malic Acid, and Ascorbic Acid found in the roma tomatoes alone the ph level is suitable. The lemon juice is there to add citrus flavor, not to make it food safe. While mine might not be one of the "best on the internet", it IS one of the best in the supermarket, and also very safe. That is why I took the time to share it. Have a good day.

    That's great! Would you just call it a salsa, or is it a pico de gaillo? Sorry for the spelling! It looks like the latter... more solids than liquids.


    3 years ago

    Looks fantastic!


    3 years ago

    Hi. I love it, can I use normal and natural lemons for the lemon juice? when you eat the salsa does it taste like lemon?


    3 years ago

    is there a special reason you used Roma?

    Farmers' market has delicios tomatoes right now.


    3 years ago

    You can't beat homemade salsa. I probably eat several gallons-worth every year! :)

    1 reply