Sauces & Marinades

Homemade Salsa

Homemade Salsa

This is my story. It’s the story of a love affair. A love affair between me…and salsa. Sweet, spicy, glorious salsa.

Homemade Salsa

Have you ever made homemade salsa? Yes, it’s a bit quite labour-intensive. Yes, canning can be a scary thing. But once you get over those two things, homemade salsa is the bomb.

My parents live on an acreage with a giganterrific garden that produces a giganterrific amount of tomatoes and hot peppers. They’ve been making this salsa for a number of years now and I stole the recipe from them so that I can share with you! Once you make it, I promise that you will fall in love with it as much as we have.

My biggest pet peeve in making salsa is in getting the tomatoes peeled. You have to blanch in batches, which takes forever and is a serious pain in the derrière. Over the years, I kept hearing snatches of conversation of people making salsa with frozen tomatoes and this year, decided to investigate. Wow. Never going back.

The perks of using frozen tomatoes are:

  1. You can wait until you are ready to make the salsa. Feel like making salsa in December? No problem!
  2. Peeling the tomatoes is insanely easy and takes way less time than blanching.
  3. There is absolutely no difference in the consistency of the end product.

To freeze and use your tomatoes:

  1. Wash the tomatoes (no need to dry), place in plastic bags and freeze until ready to use.
  2. When ready, remove tomatoes from bags and place in a sink full of hot water.
  3. Peel – the skin should slip off easily.

Here’s a quick video showing how simple they are to peel:

I’ve added lots of notes to the recipe below, but I want to give you a quick rundown on some basic tips for making this salsa.

1. Sterilizing your jars – my favourite method is the simplest one. I wash my jars (because they’ve been sitting in my basement gathering dust for the last year), rinse them, and place them upright on a large baking sheet. Heat them in a 225°F oven for a minimum of 10 minutes.

2. Ingredients – I stick pretty true to the original recipe except for a couple small things. I don’t like green peppers, so I use a mixture of red, orange and yellow. If green peppers are your thing though, feel free to switch it up. I make two variations of this salsa: one with fresh jalapeno peppers and one with canned chipotle peppers (in adobo sauce). **NOTE: Please don’t vary the amount of tomato ingredients (chopped tomatoes, sauce and paste), as the acidity is needed to keep a safe pH level for canning.

3. Chopping size – I chop all my ingredients by hand to get a thick, chunky salsa. If you prefer a thin, smooth salsa, you can chop the ingredients (excluding the tomatoes) in a food processor.

4. Heat level – Jalapenos and chipotles get the majority of their heat from the membranes and seeds. We like a spicy salsa so I generally leave all the seeds and membranes in, chopping the jalapeno pepper up whole. For a milder salsa, you can leave out some or all of the seeds. Keep in mind though that hot peppers vary in heat, depending on growing season, variety and source. Every year, my salsa has a different heat to it, and there’s really no way of knowing until you crack open the jar. And most importantly: don’t forget to wear gloves when chopping hot peppers!!

Homemade Salsa

Homemade Salsa

Homemade Salsa

Homemade Salsa

Homemade Salsa


Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Yield: 6 pints

  • 8 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 2½ cups chopped onions
  • 1½ cups chopped red, orange or yellow peppers
  • 1 cup chopped jalapeno or chipotle peppers
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • ⅛ cup canning salt
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup vinegar
  • 2 cups (16 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 (13 oz) can tomato paste
  1. In a large heavy bottomed stock pot, mix all ingredients together on medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Seal in sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
• To sterilize your jars: first wash and rinse them (no need to dry). Place them upright on a large baking sheet. Heat in a 225°F oven for a minimum of 10 minutes.

• For a chunky salsa, make sure to chop all the vegetables by hand.

• If using fresh tomatoes, score an "x" in the bottom of each one and blanch (boil for 2-3 minutes and plunge into an ice bath).

• You can freeze your tomatoes after washing them and placing them in plastic bags. When ready to use, put them in a sink full of hot water and peel.

• When making chipotle salsa, I use the canned chipotles in adobo sauce.

• When making jalapeno salsa, I leave the seeds and membranes in and chop it all up. This makes for a spicier salsa. For a milder version, deseed the peppers and remove all the membranes.

• You can use any colour of peppers you want, but I prefer a mixture of red, orange and yellow.


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  • Reply
    August 25, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    This recipe doesn’t have cilantro – when would I add that?
    Also, we are used to lime juice in it, can the vinegar be replaced with lime juice?

    • Reply
      September 4, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      Aftercooled down, just before canning or freezing

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