Preserving Tomatoes as Salsa


Salsa time! Salsa is one of our favorite canned goods; we use it not only as a snack, but it’s also a staple ingredient that I use in chili and Mexican dishes. It’s a great way for me to preserve not only the tomatoes, but peppers and onions from the garden, too.

I’ve tried a number of recipes over the years, and this one is a keeper, getting thumbs up from my entire family.

This recipe calls for chopped vegetables. My easy, cheat-y way to do this is with a food processor using the metal blade. I simply core and quarter the washed tomatoes (I do NOT peel them; who’s got time for that?), pulse them until they’re the consistency I like in a salsa, and then measure them directly into the stock pot. I do the same with the peppers and garlic. If you don’t have a food processor, use a knife and aim for a quarter-inch dice on the tomatoes and onions and an even finer dice for the peppers.




Garden Salsa
Yield: 7-9 pints

  • 14 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 6 jalapeno peppers, diced and seeds removed (avoid touching the seeds if possible, and for goodness sake, keep your hands out of your eyes!)
  • 4 long green chiles, diced and seeds removed (I use banana peppers)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • optional: add 1-2 12-oz cans of tomato paste for a thicker salsa (I’ve tried this recipe with and without. I like the texture with the tomato paste, but I dislike adding conventionally grown paste from a bpa-lined can to my organically grown garden bounty.)

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Following standard canning procedures, ladle hot salsa into jars, leaving about 1/2″ head space. Screw on lids and bands, then process in a boiling water bath. 15 minutes, 0-1,000 feet altitude; 20 minutes, 1,001-6,000 feet altitude; 25 minutes, above 6,000 feet.


My recipe is adapted from one that I found years ago on NMSU’s College of Agriculture & Home Economics site, that as far as I can tell is no longer available online.

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  • Sonia ,

    Sounds delicious! I also make refrigerator pickles with green tomatoes, using my grandmother’s recipe for her cucumbers and onions pickles (she used to call them ‘icebox’ pickles)…but I add garlic and some of the tiny red hot Hawaiian chile peppers to mine…

  • This looks like a great recipe. I’m bookmarking it and plan to try it with our next batch of tomatoes from the garden!

  • I loved canned salsa, especially on cold winter days when I’m really wanting some fresh tomatoes again!

  • sarah henry ,

    Nothing says summer like tomato salsa.

  • Jean ,

    How much does this recipe make? Do you use pint or quart jars? Sounds delicious!

    • Kris Bordessa ,

      Hi Jean. It IS delicious. We just love it. Thanks for catching that omission. I’ve updated the post to reflect that this will make 7-9 pints. I often do them in quart jars, though – I use the salsa in cooking a lot, and I’ve got two teen boys. We go through it!

  • Brette Sember ,

    I have been saying that I need to learn to can. And I’m getting lots of tomatoes from our CSA so maybe this is the recipe I will start with?

    •  @Brette Sember I’ve been canning for years, and this is by far our favorite recipe. The cooking part of it is just cooking. The canning part is easier than you’re imagining. Let me know if you decide to try it; happy to hand hold along the way!

  • Julana L. Schaub ,


  • Jennifer L. Mika ,

    Glad I found this!! I will be making it tonight!! Thanks :)

  • Cindy Green ,

    I have a tip for you on the tomato paste. You have a dehydrator so I think you will like this. I dry my paste tomatoes and then grind to a powder in a food processor. Then to make tomato paste you use one TB powder to 2 TB water or you can also make tomato sauce. I can;t remember the portions there at the moment. I also add the powder to soups and such.

  • Son of a Beach ,

    Add some chopped cilantro at the end (don’t cook it), then you will have some really delicious salsa!!

  • Marie ,

    Could you write an article for city dwellers without a garden who have trouble finding enough cheap and fresh ingredients? It took me a while to find good sources and there may be people out there who would like to do canning but don’t think it is worthwhile because they only rarely chance across “this is a great deal but how can we finish it all” situations.

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