Homemade Salsa Tutorial

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Guest Post by Gina of Home Joys

Summer is truly here when the garden produces enough ingredients for a batch of homemade salsa. What can be better than chopping fresh vegetables, stirring a huge colorful pot full, and relishing the wonderful aroma that fills the kitchen?

Here is how I make homemade salsa:

First, peel the tomatoes.

The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to drop them in boiling water for about a minute. The peeling slides off easily. Paste tomatoes are the best for salsa but I just used what I had, which was about five different kinds of tomatoes including a pink variety.

After peeling and coring, chop the tomatoes until you have a gallon.

Chop three peppers. (Green, red or yellow – color doesn’t matter.)

Dice two onions.

Chop about ¼ cup of cilantro. I had no cilantro but lots of parsley, so I substituted parsley for cilantro. Different flavor but about the same appearance.

Crush two garlic cloves or use 1 tsp garlic powder.

For heat, you can chop up jalapeno or another type of hot pepper. I had a bad experience with hot peppers years ago. (Wear gloves and DO NOT touch your face while chopping hot peppers.) Now, when making salsa, I just use dried crushed red pepper. Much simpler and safer!

Mix all the veggies in a large pot and add salt, vinegar, and sugar. (Detailed recipe follows.) Bring to boil and simmer all ingredients for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Removing the lid of the pot while it simmers will result in a thicker salsa. Stir occasionally.

To thicken even more, I mixed ¼ cup of clear jell with ½ cup cold water, and added to the salsa while cooking.

Ladle into jars. Cap with lids and rings. Boiling water can for 10 minutes.

Enjoy the beautiful results, share as gifts, and open up a jar of summertime next winter!

I attempted to figure out my costs.

My tomato and pepper plants were gifts from my dear mother-in-law, so my expenses were almost nothing! Your cost will depend upon the price of your vegetables.

If you are growing tomatoes, peppers, and onions, your salsa expenses will be very minimal. But purchasing veggies at a farmer’s market could be a very economical choice as well. Even in the grocery store, these vegetables will be in season and at their best price and flavor.

Homemade Salsa

  • 1 gallon skinned, chopped tomatoes
  • 3 sweet pepper, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 12 jalapeno peppers or other hot pepper to your heat level
  • OR dried crushed red pepper to taste ( 3 T. was right for our family)
  • 2 T salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup of clear jell dissolved in ½ cup water (optional)

Place all ingredients in large pot. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Seal in jars and boiling water can for 10 minutes.

Gina is a blessed wife and mother of four young children. She shares her “from scratch” cooking and gardening adventures at Home Joys.


  1. mariah says:

    What’s the shelf life of this salsa? Looks great!

  2. Gina says:

    Mariah -
    I’ve kept this salsa sealed in jars as long as two years and it has been as good as the day I made it. After opening a jar, I keep it in the fridge for several weeks (if it lasts that long!)

    Hope it works well for you!

  3. Beth says:

    2 questions:
    1. How many jars of salsa does this recipe make?
    2. We love “fresh” salsa (not cooked). Can this recipe be canned without the cooking for the 30 minutes to 1 hour?

    • Gina says:

      This makes 8-10 pint.

      I’ve never tried canning without cooking first. It will not be as thick. I would guess that you would need to add some tomato paste. I think it would be better to find a non-cooked recipe instead of trying to adapt a recipe.


  4. Natalie says:

    How much did that recipe make (how many jars? what size jars)?

  5. Emma says:

    I’ve also been burned by chilli – somehow it got under my fingernail (agony!) so now I always wear dish gloves when handling it.

  6. Sara says:

    Why do the tomatoes need to be peeled?? Is this necessary or just a personal preference?

  7. Coralee says:

    I read on our local agricultural college website that salsa needs to be canned in a pressure cooker rather than a hot bath, because of the acidic level with adding other vegetables….what is your experience with this?

  8. joanne gallick says:

    You are okay to can salsa because of the vinegar that you are adding to make it more acidic. I have canned salsa for years with no adverse affects.

  9. Cross Family says:

    Do you ever freeze your salsa in ziploc bags……

  10. Sarah says:

    Can you use lemon juice instead of vinegar as the acid would that be safe for canning? When I make my salsa normally I add lemon juice and a tablespoon of ACV and it it sooo good. I love the lemon zest it gives.
    This is the ONLY recipe I have found that closely replicates mine!!!


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