Near the end of the summer when the fresh tomatoes are ripening, I used to get a box full and go to town on making this fabulous salsa. I would boil my water, pierce the cleaned tomatoes, drop them in the boiling water for an easy way to peel them. Then I’d crush them with my hands in a large stock pot, add the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer for awhile before sealing them in pint jars.
Then I discovered those giant cans of crushed tomatoes at the big warehouse club. That allows me to make this mouth watering salsa anytime of the year I want to! See, the problem with doing everything with fresh from the garden produce is, there’s a limited window to get everything done. Well, for us working folks that’s hard to do. For a few years I chose to can green beans, freeze corn, make apple butter and pear butter and forgo the salsa. Just couldn’t get it all done. I would be without this salsa and buy the jars in the stores. I think I’ve tried every one of them and after making this recipe, I just couldn’t seem to wrap my heart around the store bought ones.
Well, after roaming around the warehouse club one day, I saw those gignormus (might not be a real word, but you understand…) cans of crushed tomatoes and a bell went off in my head. Heck, I can make salsa any time I want! So, I started stacking the cans in my buggy. There is typically plenty of fresh bell peppers available at the warehouse and I freeze chopped up jalapenos. I was set and I was excited! Not only was I able to make this any time of the year, I didn’t have to clean, pierce, boil, peel and crush those tomatoes! A HUGE time saver! Not only that, the canned tomatoes tend to be more consistent in the amount of liquid. There’s so many different varieties of tomatoes and some are more juicy than others and some have more pulp than others which will result in a wide range thickness in the salsa. So, for me, that’s another bonus in using the canned version.
We love making Chicken Quesadillas with leftover chicken, black beans, rice and cheese. It’s one of our go-t0s during the week after a long day at work. It’s quick and easy and you just use leftovers from your fridge. Well, the Quesadilla is just not complete without this salsa and sour cream. If you would like the Chicken Quesadilla recipe, just click the link and check it out! But for this post, I’ll show you how I make this delicious, mouth watering salsa and can it. This post is a bit long and could seem a bit overwhelming, but I wanted to be sure to include as much complete information as I thought was necessary. I promise, it’s really easy!
Here’s how I make it.
First things first. For a project like this one, well actually ANY project, I start with a tall glass of Sweet Tea (with lemon)! Who woulda guessed? Want my favorite Sweet Tea (with lemon) recipe? Click on the picture above or the link! Then I go to town chopping peppers.
Safety note here on chopping jalapenos. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from the capsaicin. For a little more information about that, see my Canning Jalapeno Peppers blog.
In a large stock pot, put in the tomatoes, bell peppers and Jalapeno peppers.
The other thing about making your own salsa is, you can make it as chunky as you like. We prefer our salsa to be less chunky, so I chop up my peppers kinda small. They will cook down too. Here, I used 2 of the 6 lb 6 oz cans of crushed tomatoes. If you like it more chunky, just use the diced tomatoes in the cans.
Smash, peel and chop the garlic. If you’re using the minced garlic in the jar, do about 3-4 teaspoons.
Pour in the vinegar and honey.
Add the salt.
Yes, it calls for 1/4 cup and yes, I know that sounds like an unreasonable amount. There is 24 cups of tomatoes in here and for me, it really does need it. But, if that’s a concern, just start with about half and then taste it a little while later and adjust according to your desires.
Add the chili powder and ground cumin. Bring all ingredients to a low boil, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to also prevent sticking and scorching. That would be a bad thing.
If you look closely at this picture, you’ll see another ingredient. We are folks that like a little punch in our salsa. Since I remove the membranes and seeds from the jalapenos, there’s really little to no heat there. So, I will typically add a couple of minced up habanero. Even then, it’s probably considered medium heat. (Don’t forget the gloves when handling and chopping the habanero! They are super hot!!)
The canning process is quite simple. I do the hot water bath version for the salsa. I also do this process for canning jalapenos. For a more detailed description, check out that blog.
In a large skillet with 3-4 inch sides, place the clean pint or half pint jars upside down. Add enough water to cover the jars about 1 1/2 inches up the sides. Bring the water to a low boil and heat the jars thoroughly.
Carefully remove one of the hot jars from the pan and place on a clean surface. I forgot to make a picture, but when you remove a hot pint jar from the pan, drop in a canning lid with the rubber ring to get it good and hot while you’re filling the jar.
Fill the jar with salsa up to the bottom of the rim.
Using tongs (the ones that look like over sized tweezers), grab that hot lid out of the water and place it, rubber side down, on the jar.
Screw on a canning ring, tighten with a good grip and place it in a stock pot. Repeat this process until you can’t put any more jars in the pot. Pour enough water to the bottom of the ring.
Cover the pot with a good fitting lid and bring the water to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium-low. You still want the water to bubble, but not rock the jars to death. Even with a low boil, it will be noisy.
Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Turn off the burner. This is what heats the seals on the lids to the jars.
Using one of these handy dandy canning tongs or weapon of choice, carefully remove the hot jars of salsa from the stock pot…
and place it on a towel so they’re not touching each other. Let them sit for 24 hours.
Looking for another fun salsa to make? This is a super easy one to make and serve. No canning required! It’s my Pineapple Pear Salsa!
Label each jar with the contents and date. Or you can get really fancy and make pretty labels. This will make about 12 pints, or I have used half pints and got about 24.
This also makes great gifts! Who doesn’t love homemade foods? Add a bag of tortilla chips to a cute basket and you have a gourmet gift for that special occasion.
Here’s the printer friendly recipe.