The Best Tomato Salsa Recipe

The Best Tomato Salsa Recipe
I know you all are expecting another white fight today…but you know these sisters have no rules!  Well, I got some surprise tomatoes from my wonderful friend and I was SO EXCITED to kick off the canning season!

Now, grab a brown paper bag and breath into it……because my mom has given me permission to share her SALSA RECIPE!  Don’t hyperventilate…I know it’s exciting.
If you have never canned before, this is really easy, and I’m going to show you step by step.  Seriously, if I can do this, anyone can do this!


1/2 bushel tomatoes
5 large yellow onions
5 large green bell peppers
1/4 cup salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
6-20 jalapenos (depending on how hot you want it)
6-10 –> mild
11-15 –> medium
16-20 –> hot
optional:  1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Some kind of canner processor
Canning bottles

(We got all these wonderful veggies from my friend and she brought over some hot red peppers along with the jalapenos, so we tried a variation with them, and that’s why they are in the picture, not to confuse you.  VERDICT:  We actually liked the flavor better when using ONLY jalapenos.)
The Best Tomato Salsa Ingredients

First, start a pot of boiling water.  When the water is boiling, throw some tomatoes in for about 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on how many you put in and how much they cool down the water bath.

TIP:  You can’t really do this wrong or ruin the tomatoes.  You don’t need to set a timer or get all stressed about it.  Just look at the tomatoes.  You will know they are ready when the skin breaks.
Boil Tomatoes

Like this.  The skin will look like it wants to come off.  Use a ladle or a slotted spoon to get them out of the boiling water and straight into a cold water bath.  This process is called blanching.
I like to keep my cold water bowl in the sink so I can easily run more cold water in when it gets warm.  You can also throw ice in there to keep it cool.

Tomato in cold water

Peel off the skin of each tomato.  (TIP:  Have a “garbage bowl” handy so you can put the peeling and the cores in there to minimize clean up.)

Peel Tomatoes

Core each tomato with a paring knife and set aside on a cutting board or in another bowl.

Core Tomatoes

Your tomato will look like this.  Keep this cycle going.  While you are peeling and coring the cooled tomatoes, there should be more tomatoes being blanched.

Peeled Cored Tomato

Now its time to chop everything up (tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and jalapenos) and put them in a big stock pot.  Chop according to how chunky you want your salsa.  I like mine smaller so I pulse the veggies in my food processor a couple times.  Make sure to wear gloves when chopping the jalapenos.  You do not need to take the seeds out, however, you can if you want to…just make sure you wear gloves for that too!
Chop Veggy
I’m not joking about a big pot…a half bushel of tomatoes is a lot of tomatoes!  I’m not sure exactly how much mine holds, but just go to the canning section in the store and find the big pots like this.  The one on the left is the processor.  That will be for putting all the bottles in at the end.  It comes with a metal rack to lower them down in.  The next size is almost as tall, but thinner.  Thats the one I cook my salsa in.
Cook Salsa
Optional:  I have a weakness for cilantro, so I throw a little in mine.  If you also like cilantro, chop up about a half cup fresh and toss it in with the veggies.
Toss Veggies
Get your hands in there and squish everything together!  Get those juices flowing.

squish everything together

Now put the salt, sugar, and vinegar in and stir.  Place on high heat and bring to a boil.  Stir often.  When it starts to boil, turn heat to medium and simmer until everything is tender, about 1 hour.
 ***And please, please, please…I know you all know this but I just have to say it…please, if you have small children, gate off your kitchen or invite the babysitter over, just do something to keep them out of the kitchen.  I would hate to know that some child got burned by a huge pot of boiling liquid, especially if it was because of my tutorial.  Thanks for listening.  🙂

Tomato Salsa finish

Ok, listen up…because I’m a dork and I forgot to take pictures.  But it’s easy…don’t worry.  While its boiling, get your clean, sanitized bottles out on the counter, ready to fill.  Also, get your NEW lids and bands out and ready.  You cannot reuse the lids, but you CAN reuse the bands.  If you bought new bottles, they will all come with new lids and bands.  If you are using old bottles, you can buy a pack of lids by themselves, just be sure to get the right size.
This is the processor that I use.  It’s the cheapest that I found but it comes with really easy instructions.  You can get fancier ones, I was just looking for inexpensive.  Be sure to read the directions thoroughly on the one you buy.
And you might want to get one of these jar lifters.  These lift the jars out of the boiling water so you don’t burn yourself…which is much easier than doing it my way.  (Three layers of hot pad gloves.  Haha.  I know, it’s $4.  I should break down and buy one! )
Fill your jars, but leave a little space at the top.  Wipe the rims of the bottles clean before putting the lids on.  You don’t want any junk in the way so it doesn’t seal properly.  Put the lids and the bands on.  (Twist the bands on just until they stop.  You don’t want to screw them on so tightly at first so it doesn’t let the lid seal properly.)
Set your bottles in your canner.  Read your instructions carefully so you know how much water to put in your canner.  Process the bottles of salsa for 20 minutes.  Take them out carefully and let them sit on a towel on your counter for 24 hours to make sure they have sealed.  After they have sat and sealed, you can then twist the band on tighter, and put them in your food storage!

TIP:  After they have sat for 24 hours.  Press on the seal and make sure it doesn’t make a popping noise.  If it does, then it didn’t seal, and you cannot put it in your food storage, just put this one in your fridge and eat it first.  🙂
Packed Tomato Salsa

Have fun kicking off the fall season with canning!  There are more canning tutorials to come!