Monday, August 29, 2011

Makin' Salsa

I love to make my own salsa.  One of the great pleasures in life is eating something delicious and knowing you made it.  Even better, salsa lets me enjoy growing the ingredients, making the salsa and then canning it to enjoy the taste of summer all over again whenever I open a new jar.

We start with fresh, homegrown tomatoes, though you can certainly go out and buy a bunch from the store or local farmer's market.  I use 8 lbs or so of Roma tomatoes (about 10 cups after squashing them and dicing them). (A full list of ingredients are at the bottom of the post.)

Skin the tomatoes (I immerse them in boiling water for 30 seconds or so, then put them in a bowl of ice water.  The skins slide right off).  Then cut them in quarters and scoop out the seeds and watery goo.  I also remove the core.  Squeeze the tomatoes lightly to drain off anymore juice.  Do this until you feel like you are going to die.  Maybe you'll die from boredom, maybe standing on your feet doing this will threaten to off you.  Regardless... do it forever.  Or until you have 10 cups of tomato pieces.
Tomato reject pieces- this picture should be rotated, but it may not show up that way.  Joys of technology.

Dice the tomatoes up then toss them in a colander in the sink.  This will allow even more tomato juice to drain.

Meanwhile (if you have a husband or friend who will allow you to rope them in to this) or after you get the tomatoes ready, turn your attention to the Green peppers.

I like to put in 4 cups of green peppers, diced up fine in my handy dandy food processor.  Each green pepper (grocery store size) tends to yield between 3/4-1 cup.  It doesn't matter if you go over or under- really it doesn't.
Dump your tomatoes and your peppers in to a large pot.  I mean LARGE.  I have a stock pot for the purpose of salsa.

Add 3 cups of fine chopped onions. I also use my food processor to chop them up fine.

Add 4 cloves of garlic, again, diced fine.

If you want it spicy, add your peppers to taste.  In my last batch (which is quite warm), I used 6 jalapenos, 5  large cayenne peppers and 4 hot banana peppers. I suggest you start light and add more peppers as you taste the finished product.  Later in the season we also add in habaneros. If you want your salsa very mild, omit hot peppers completely.

Add in 1 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of oregano (dried is fine), 2 tablespoons of cilantro (omit if you don't like the taste) and 1 tablespoon of salt.  Omit the salt if you are on a salt restricted diet.

Add in 2 cups of lemon or lime juice.  I prefer lemon juice.

Next, add in 1 can (12 ounces) or tomato paste.

There we have it.

Put your pot on a burner and bring it to a light simmer, stirring often for around 30 minutes.  You are wanting to kill any bacteria that may be in the salsa.  As it gets hot, sneak a taste.  Is it not spicey enough?  Add in more peppers!

Voila! You have made fresh salsa!  Now you can eat it all or process it through canning, according to your preferred method.   I hope you like it!

10 cups of diced, cored tomato pieces.
4 cups of green bell peppers
3 cups of finely diced onions
4 cloves of garlic
Hot peppers to your preference (optional)
2 cups of lemon juice
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp cilantro (more if you want a stronger cilantro taste, or omit if you hate it)
1 (12 oz) can of tomato paste
1 tbsp salt (optional)



  1. Will have to try this recipie! I LOVE salsa - use it instead of icky ketchup on fries, eggs, etc - I use it on baked potatoes instead of sour cream. We go through a ton. I like it HOT though. Where I live, in the city not the entire county, there are about 365,000 people with 57% of the population being hispanic - you MUST like spicy food to live here. I think it's a requirement now.

  2. Ohhh Jessica you would have LOVED a steak marinade I made once- it was ONLY pepper flavored (I had made pepper salsa and had the "dregs" left in the bottom). It was super habanero hot and we soaked the steaks in it. When you cooked it, the steak NEVER STOPPED BEING PINK lol. Take a bite, tastes great then suddenly the heat slapped you in the face. I'll have to see if I can recreate that and write the recipe down!

    This recipe is warm, but I'd actually prefer it to be hotter- it's about the max of what some people can handle and still enjoy it, but I'd put double the jalapenos to start since you like it HOT :). As you taste it, it is hotter in the pot cooking than when you go to eat it later on lol.

  3. Made a small batch today! Turned out pretty good for my first attempt! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I'm glad it turned out well! I've found every year I find *some* way to improve it just a tad- this year I think I finally perfected it though! :D