The Best Cooked Salsa

October 15, 2020  •  Appetizers, Condiments, Sauces

I love fresh pico de gallo, fresh corn salsa, and pretty much every other sort of fresh salsa. But there comes a time in every harvest season, when the volume of tomatoes and peppers and jalapeños starts to overwhelm me. That’s when I’m called to make a cooked salsa that can be canned and enjoyed throughout the year. And this one is mighty good!Don’t fiddle with the recipe much, because when it comes to canning, things like pH (acidity) matter and you don’t want to end up with something unsafe. Also consult canning guides for altitude to determine the correct amount of time to process the jars in a water bath.

The Best Cooked Salsa
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 to 10 pints
  • 10 cups peeled, finely chopped tomatoes (about 5 pounds raw)
  • 3 cups chopped onions (about 2 large onions)
  • 3 cups finely chopped peppers (about 1½ pounds) - see Notes
  • 10 small jalapeños, minced (about ⅔ cup)
  • 8 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup chipotle paste (see this recipe), optional
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1¼ cups apple cider vinegar
  • 12 ounces tomato paste
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large nonreactive pot and bring to a boil; reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
  2. While the salsa is cooking, sterilize 10 pints jars and their lids and rings. Fill the jars to within ½ inch of the top, wipe the rim clean, and close with the lids and rings.
  3. If you have a small amount of salsa left that doesn't fill a jar, simply refrigerate that and enjoy it with chips.
  4. Process the jars in a water bath for at least 15 minutes (for my altitude in Denver, I processed the jars for 25 minutes). Remove the jars and let cool on the counter, making sure that the lids have all sealed properly. If any do not fully seal, place in the refrigerator and use within a couple of weeks. The properly sealed jars are shelf stable.
I use my food processor to mince everything, working with one ingredient at a time, to get a consistent level of coarseness for all of the vegetables.

You can use a mix of sweet or spicy peppers as desired. I like a mix of sweet red peppers and roasted peppers like poblanos.

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