Drop-of-the-hat Salsa


I finally got to use my new canning equipment today! We’ve had a bumper crop (for us, at least) of tomatoes, and had at least two or three pounds sitting in the fridge up until now.

Before you say anything, our harvest dates have been odd- some peoples’ tomatoes peak in July and August, ours peak in October, a few days before the frost date no less. I’m still expecting to visit the garden in a few days to find a frozen watermelon. Yep- those too.

That put aside, I decided to make salsa with the tomatoes. We have a few cans of spaghetti sauce already, and I am already tired of peeling all of the tomatoes. Also, the majority of the tomatoes we had were tiny, and it would be way too much work to process all 7,264.


Salsa, on the other hand, requires no peeling, and aside from dishes and prep, very little involved work. I literally left it for three-quarters of an hour to go and do my Geometry. It did fine.


  • About 7 or 8 cups of tomatoes (should make about 5 cups of puree, see step 1)
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, diced (or sliced thickly and passed off as okay, like mine)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup medium-hot peppers- I just used the rest of a jar we had. Before you shout at me and call me a hypocrite-


There. Certified organic. There’s my excuse.

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp each of:
    • onion powder
    • oregano
    • cayenne pepper (adjust to taste- we’re not huge hot-pepper fans, if you want, add more)
    • cilantro
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  1. Wash your tomatoes. Cut the big ones in half. Dump all of them on a cookie sheet. Fill a stock pot with water, and begin sterilizing your jars.


Seriously- make sure that it’s a cake pan, or at least something that is not flat. The tomatoes will produce a lot of juice, and if you don’t have something to catch it… I’ll leave it to your imagination. Use a cake pan!

2. Put your tomatoes in the oven, and preheat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast for 30-45 minutes. If you are using a convection bake option, preheat to 400 and roast for 30 minutes.

3. Combine all ingredients (besides tomatoes, ACV, salt, and pepper) in a large bowl. Stir until combined, and set aside.

4. Let the pans cool for a minute or two before pouring as much of the liquid off as possible. Take your jars, rings, and lids out of the stock pot, and pour out the water.

5. Once the tomatoes are completely cool, pour into the blender, reserving about a half-cup to a cup, depending on how chunky you want it. Puree, then pour into the stock pot.

6. Pour the mixture in the big bowl into your stock pot. Add the rest of your tomatoes, along with the ACV, salt, and pepper.

7. Stir, put the lid on, and let simmer for as long as you want- anywhere from ten minutes to an hour, stirring ever so often. It’ll reduce as it cooks, so if you want a thicker salsa, let it cook longer. I haven’t noticed much of a difference in mine, but it all is a matter of preference,

8. Fill your jars, and water-bath process them for 15-20 minutes. Let cool, then check to see if they processed.


If you don’t (or your family doesn’t) feel comfortable with your canning skills, you have a few options:

  • You can process the jars the same way, but leave a little extra headspace, and freeze them
  • You can process the jars the same way, but refrigerate them.
  • You can dump it all into a container, jar or otherwise, and freeze or refrigerated them.
  • You can make it right before your party, and eat it all quickly.

Don’t feel obligated to can something- freezing is a safe option in many circumstances, and as long as you’re careful, refrigerating is good too. Use common sense, and you should be fine!

Always remember- when in doubt, throw it out!



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