When I was growing up we had a large garden that produced a lot of food. We would spend time during the summer weeding and harvesting the “crop”. My mom did the majority of the canning on her own, but I was there. At her feet. In her way I’m sure.

On salsa day, the house would fill with the smell of onions and peppers, enough to make your eyes burn. There was a bag of chips on the counter used for taste testing that was depleted by the end of the day. There were spatters of tomatoes on the counter and even on the floor. It was a days worth of work and my mom made a couple batches each summer. She would stock the storage room shelves for the winter and despite filling those shelves, every summer they would be near empty. I married and I too had a garden and filled my shelves with salsa. Clearly, we go through a lot of salsa!

Our salsa shelf has been empty for sometime. My last batch of salsa was just shortly before our move to Arizona. It was the last time we had the benefit of a plentiful garden. I received a message last week from my friend in Milwaukee and she let me know she had just finished a batch of my mom’s salsa. Immediately I started craving that salsa. More than anything I wanted a bowl with a bag of chips.

Although we currently don’t have a garden – I decided I would break down and purchase tomatoes for the salsa. (Something I never thought I would do, nor is it something my mom does!) The next day I was at the market, and wouldn’t you know it, the tomatoes I needed were 3lbs for a dollar. It was a salsa miracle!! Two days later I had 20 pints of salsa on my counter ready to fill my shelves. Thank you Linda for the kickstart!


20 lbs Tomatoes (I always use roma)

4 lbs onions (I do a 1/2 yellow, 1/2 white)

12 tsp salt (1/3 cup)

4 cup Apple cider vinegar

12 jalapeno peppers (this is to taste, I often put in more depending on the hotness level desired and the hotness of your peppers)

8 cloves of garlic (The minced garlic in a jar from the grocery store works great)

3 tsp cumin

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp sugar

2 or 3 cans tomato paste (12 oz)

Blanch your tomatoes to remove all skins. Boil a large pot of water and put some tomatoes in the p0t, wait up to 30 seconds and then remove them with a ladle and immediately put them in cold water in your sink. Do this for all 20lbs. You’ll have to add more cold water halfway through. Use a paring knife to remove the skins and remove the stem area.

Blend all your ingredients except the tomato paste and spices. I typically put a little of each ingredient in the food processor/blender multiple times. Put it in a large stock pot, add spices and let it cook for an hour or so, it’ll change from a light red to a dark red. I continue to cook the salsa until it’s the consistency I like. I prefer a thicker salsa, so I let a lot of the water cook out. Add the tomato paste and let it cook just a bit longer.

When it tastes the way you like and it’s the consistency you like, you’re ready to can it. You can use a stock pot or a traditional canner (black with white speckles). Fill as many jars as you can fit in your pot, make sure your jars are warm, since you’ll be adding warm salsa. Fill with salsa and clean off the top of the jar so you get a good seal. Add a lid and ring to the jar and place it in the pot of boiling water. After all jars are added, make sure there’s an inch of water over all the jars. Let it boil for 25 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Remove rings after jars sit for 24 hours. Make sure the lid has a good seal by pressing down and making sure it doesn’t pop back up.

Grab yourself a bag of chips and enjoy a batch of salsa!