Tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes!  Every year, I grow between 24-30 tomato plants in my outdoor garden to enjoy fresh and to preserve using some of our favorite recipes.  That many tomato plants, keeps us stocked up with fresh tomatoes in the later summer months and makes for a busy August and September of canning.  Processing that many tomatoes may seem overwhelming, but enjoying a warm bowl of homemade tomato soup in the winter months or delicious homegrown salsa and nachos during a sports game makes it all worth it. 

This year, my salsa making began with starting my jalapenos, peppers, and some of my tomatoes in my Rise Garden in March.  After a couple months of growth in my hydroponic garden, they were transplanted outside to continue growing for the rest of the season.  Now after a few more months of outdoor care, I’ve started to harvest the bounty and it’s time to get busy and start making some salsa!

This recipe is one of my favorites – it has the perfect blend of heat, acidity, and sweetness that will rival any store bought brand.  What’s also great about this recipe is that it can be easily adapted to suit your salsa preference. Dicing the tomatoes, peppers, and onions larger creates a chunkier salsa, while a finer chop yields a smoother salsa.  Omitting the jalapeno or adding an additional jalapeno can allow you to easily adjust the heat level to your preferred taste (one jalapeno would be considered mild-medium). Even the consistency can be adjusted; simmer longer to reduce the liquid if you prefer a thicker salsa, or decrease the simmering time for a thinner salsa. This recipe also works great if you’d like to double it for a larger batch.  With so many ways to customize this recipe, it’s truly the only salsa recipe you’ll need!

 

 - Rise Gardens

 

Ingredients

  • 4lbs (1.8 kg) tomatoes, skin removed and diced (directions below)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can (4 oz/114ml) chopped green chilies
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped, seeds removed if desired
  • 1 can (5 ½ oz/156ml) tomato paste
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh)
  • ½ tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

 

 

Removing Tomato Skins

  1. Step One: Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil.
  2. Step Two: On the bottom of each tomato, make a shallow X through the skin.
  3. Step Three: Working in batches, lower the tomatoes into the boiling water for approximately 1-2 minutes or until the skins start to crack.
  4. Step Four: Remove tomatoes from the boiling water and immediately place in an ice bath.
  5. Step Five: Once tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the skins off, remove the core, and dice to desired size.

Salsa Preparation

  1. Step One: In a large pot, combine all ingredients, except fresh cilantro and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Step Two: Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, continuing to frequently stir, until the salsa has thickened to desired consistency.
  3. Step Three: Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
  4. Step Four: Ladle into hot sterilized jars leaving ¼ inch (5mm) headspace and seal immediately with canning lids.
  5. Step Five: Process in boiling water for 15 minutes.