The Best Salsa

Blogging about food is not the norm for me. Actually harvesting and canning food falls into an even-less-than-norm category. But I am doing the virtuous thing and making lots of salsa with my abundance of tomatoes. 

Side note...I can (truthfully) say I enjoyed it!

The whole process of putting away fruits and vegetables for winter use was such a huge task in my home when I was a child, it became a dreaded chore at harvest time. To contemplate this task on my own each autumn was too overwhelming, time-consuming, and complicated, so I haven't done a lot over the past twenty years. 

But I don't have six children and eight mouths to feed (like my mom had, God bless her), so it is possible to operate on a much smaller scale. It's rather fun to make small amounts, like 14 pints, instead of 40 quarts. It does not have to take entire days to accomplish this project.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I have a suspicion I am too easily vanquished by large numbers!

Jacki and I wanted thick and chunky salsa so we searched the internet for recipes that fit the bill. We found one and modified it considerably to suit our tastes.

Here's the original recipe...

Recipe: Best Home Canned Thick and Chunky Salsa
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 This amazing home-canned salsa really is thick and chunky, just like store bought salsa! it’s packed full of flavor, and doesn’t have a strong vinegar flavor so typical of home-canned salsas. One bite and you’ll never reach for Pace again!
Recipe type: Salsa
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 5 Pints
  • 8 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 1½ cups chopped (seeds and all) fresh Anaheim chile peppers (roughly 3)
  • ½ cup chopped yellow bell pepper (for color)  
  • ½ cup seeded and chopped fresh jalapeno pepper (about 2-3 large), plus 1 whole pepper, chopped (seeds and all)
  • 2 cups chopped onions (about 2 large)
  • ½ cup snipped fresh cilantro (roughly ½ bunch)
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 3 large limes)
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (roughly ½ head)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and coarsely ground in a mortar and pastel or a coffee grinder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon paprika
  1. Wash tomatoes, and remove stems and cores with a knife.
  2. Bring at least 4 inches of water to a boil in a large kettle, and immerse tomatoes, a few at a time, into boiling water for about a minute, or until the skins start to crack and peel off the flesh.
  3. Immediately dip tomatoes into cold water, and drain in a colander.
  4. Slip off the skins, and discard.
  5. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, then place in a large colander set in sink, and allow to stand for 30 minutes. This will allow much of the tomato juice to strain out (place the colander over a large bowl if you wish to save the juice for something else).
  6. Transfer the drained tomatoes to a 7-8 quart stainless-steel, enamel, or nonstick heavy pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  7. Simmer, uncovered, for about 1.5 hours or until tomatoes are at the desired consistency, stirring often. You’re looking for the same consistency as a thin marinara sauce.
  8. Add remaining ingredients. Return mixture to boiling, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  9. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  10. Ladle hot salsa into hot, sterilized pint canning jars, leaving a ½-inch headspace.
  11. Wipe jar rims clean with a damp towel; place lids on jars, and secure in place by hand tightening the bands onto the jars.
  12. Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 15 minutes (start timer when water returns to boiling).
  13. Remove jars from canner, then cool them on cooling racks or on a towel on the counter.
My version for a double batch 
16 pounds tomatoes  
3 yellow bell peppers
2 jalape├▒o peppers
1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped onions
fresh basil, oregano, and thyme from my garden
6 limes
1/2 cup white vinegar
6 oz. tomato paste
5 t. minced garlic
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. lemon pepper, 1/2 t. black pepper
3 t. salt
1 T. paprika

 Follow instructions on original recipe except for step 2 - 4. I skipped those entirely! The onions, peppers, and herbs are chopped with a food processor. A double batch makes 13 - 15 pints. 

It is far and away the best salsa I've ever made. You say you thought I don't have experience. I have tried a few salsa recipes over the years and none come close to this. My favorite part is the light and airy burst of lime flavor. It brightens everything!

Speaking of brightening. On the very day I was making this salsa, my husband came home with this! 

It was completely unexpected and that makes it so much the sweeter! I can tell you, Coblentz Chocolates are delectable! The surprise gift melted my heart!

I am indeed a blessed woman!


  1. Looks very good Karyn. I keep trying new salsa recipes too. This year my new recipe calls for white wine and I it also calls for cumin. So good!!
    I feel the same way about canning tons of food. I like it much better doing smaller batches. If I have to do a lot (like applesauce) I break it up into several weeks. I buy 1/2 bushel at a time.

    1. Applesauce is on the list as well as canning pumpkin (butternut squash, to be exact!). We'll see if I actually get it done! This month is proving to be entirely too busy.


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