Where do I start? How about - how many tomatoes does it take to make 75 jars of salsa? It starts like a joke but when you have pounds and pounds of cherry tomatoes coming out of your garden every week you need a staple recipe for them.
Jeff and I have been canning quite a bit over the past three years and this year was huge. Every spring as we prep our garden we always say we will plant less so we won't have so much produce. This year, we definitely planted too much. I love my garden, but there comes a point when you become a slave to your garden. Not only did we have cherry tomatoes but we had just about every variety of tomato available.
Every other day, we would go out and pick pounds of cherry and grape tomatoes; yellow, red and orange. After roasting a few pounds, we needed a recipe we could use to wipe out as many as possible without them rotting. Some people might suggest giving them to friends and family, we did. With six children living outside the home, relatives and friends, we still had tomatoes, along with summer squash, zucchini, peppers, beans, beets, carrots, and cucumbers. We probably should have had a vegetable stand outside our house.
I decided to look for a salsa recipe we could can. It's something I knew we would use as well as give to friends and family. With all the canning cookbooks and magazines we have, I finally found this Lazy Cherry Tomato Salsa from Growit Cookit Canit. It was an adapted recipe from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, which we had. It's funny how each of us change the recipe to adapt to what we had available. The original recipe called for dried chili peppers and hot pepper flakes. I was afraid to make the salsa too spicy and decided to change the type of peppers that were being used and the choice worked perfectly for us. With poblano and jalapeno peppers coming out of the garden as quickly as the tomatoes, the combination was perfect.
During the summer, this salsa became my "go-to" Wednesday canning recipe. It took some prep time to chop the tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers but I could normally make a double batch and can 12-15 jars of salsa. By the end of the summer I had made about 75 jars of salsa. The nice thing was I began adding different types of tomatoes and even made the recipe with green tomatoes.
I do know this...it's the BEST salsa we have ever tasted. We have given away over 40 jars and people go crazy. From, "I was eating it out of the jar with a spoon" to "I put it in my eggs", when people are finished they return the empty jar looking for more. This salsa is also a great base for guacamole.
The Best Guacamole
- 3 avocados, chopped and slightly mashed
- 1/2 cup of "The BEST Cherry Tomato Salsa"
- 1 tablespoon of chopped jalapeno (optional)
1. Place into a medium sized bowl and mix together. If you like a little more heat, add fresh jalapenos. Now you have great salsa and guacamole!
So, lets start with a small batch. If you don't like or know how to can, you can make a fresh batch to enjoy in 1 hour. This salsa comes together very quickly and you can serve it warm or chilled.
An individual batch of Cherry Tomato Salsa
- 4 cups of cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped or split (measure after you've chopped)
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 large Poblano pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced with seeds
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup of packed, freshly chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup of cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, mix together all ingredients.
- Over medium high heat, bring the mixture to a boil.
- Lower heat to a simmer and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
- Using a hand blender or food processor, bring mixture to a blend with a few small chunks still visible. (see below)
- Return the mixture to heat and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- Allow the mixture to cool, place in refrigerator until ready to use.
- This mixture keeps for about 2 weeks.
If you are looking to make a batch to can, here is the original recipe we used this summer. Feel free to add different types of tomatoes. I found the smaller (cherry style) did better than large tomatoes. I have seen some great cherry mixed tomatoes available in supermarkets if you don't have access to fresh tomatoes.
This recipe is for canning and will make about 5-6 pint jars.
The BEST Cherry Tomato Salsa
- 12 cups of cherry tomatoes (red, yellow or green), split or roughly chopped
- 3 cups of chopped onions
- 5 medium size Poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
- 3 jalapenos, sliced with seeds
- 15 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 packed cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
- 3/4 cup of cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup of lime juice
- 1 tablespoon of sea salt
- 6 tablespoons of lemon juice
1. In a large Dutch oven, place all ingredients into the pan, except for the lemon juice.
2. Place the pan on a burner at medium-high and bring mixture to a boil.
3. Lower heat to a simmer and simmer vegetables for 20-25 minutes.
4. Using a hand blender. Blend the vegetables, in the pan, into a fine mixture with some chunks. Be careful because the mixture is hot.
5. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes on simmer and remove any foam that has not disappeared.
6. In a large canning pot, fill with water and sterilize 6-7 pint size jars. In a small pan, sterilize lids to jars.
7. Remove jars from pan, place on towel. Add 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice to each jar. Add salsa to 1/2 inch from top. Wipe rims, place lids and covers on jars.
8. Place back into water and process, after it comes back to a boil, for 15 minutes. Make sure there is water covering the top.
9. Remove from water, listen for the seal "pop" to make sure your jars have sealed.
Hide jars if you want to hoard your salsa and that is totally acceptable. Or - you can share your salsa with friends and family.