My oldest child started kindergarten on September 5th… I took the day off so that I could be there both when he left and got back. It was a momentous day, but one that had a big gap in it while the young master was at school. So, how did I fill up the time? Let me show you…

Cooking Salsa

That’s right, folks, I made my yearly batch of salsa.

I’ve been making salsa for the last few years. It started after tasting some homemade salsa made by an old friend of mine. It tasted fresh and was better than any store-bought product I’d ever had. Once I made the decision to learn something about vegetable gardening, a salsa garden was the natural choice for me. So, I’ve been making a batch of salsa once or twice a year since. My father-in-law (a very hard man to buy gifts for) loves my salsa, so most of my yearly production has ended up as his Christmas gift for the last two years. This year, I was determined to make enough for both him and myself.

I’m happy to say that almost all of the produce was procured from the local farmer’s market, and some of the jalapeño peppers came from my backyard container garden.


I bought a bucket of ‘canning tomatoes’ that consisted of mostly ‘B’ quality Romas. Many of them were bruised, but I was able to cut those parts off and was still able to get almost 30 pounds of usable fruit for $14. Skinning and processing the tomatoes took maybe two hours, but things went fast after that. As the top picture shows, I managed to make almost 4 gallons of salsa. The stuff smelled great during the cooking, though the fresh jalapeños made the air in the house pretty acrid for a while. Everyone in the family, including the dog, was coughing.

By the time I finished up, I had 24 pints of salsa, 12 for me and 12 for my father-in-law. It was a good day.

Finished product

I used a variation of the ‘zesty salsa’ recipe from the Ball Blue Book. I use more green & red peppers than called for, but there’s still plenty of acidity in the finished product. Every year the salsa tastes a little different depending on how strong the jalapeños are, and how the tomatoes taste. Next year I hope to use mostly produce from my own garden.

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