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Canning Salsa: A Family Tradition

We have a family tradition to work together to make salsa and can it every fall.


We have a family tradition to work together to make salsa and can it every fall.

Sometimes we have homegrown produce and other times we buy boxes of tomatoes from the local produce stand. In any given year, we might process as many as six batches of salsa (about 8 pints per batch).

I spend the day before chopping sweet and hot peppers. Then, the day we can our first batches, my mom, brother, and I all pitch in to create an assembly line.

My brother blanches the tomatoes. Mom peels them and I process them. We measure out the ingredients and cook it for two hours. Then we put it in jars to place in the water bath to process the jars. We’ll get these batches going in stages so we can keep things moving. We try to process all the tomatoes on the first day and refrigerate them until the next day, if necessary. Sometimes it takes two or more days to cook all the batches of sauce and process them. On a good day, we can do three batches if we get an early start.


Nothing compares to homemade salsa.


Some years, if we have to wait for produce to ripen, we end up having multiple canning sessions, though we prefer to do it all in one weekend.

This is a fun time to work together toward a common goal that we all enjoy. We’re salsa lovers and the house smells wonderfully spicy when we’re canning.

The batches come out different from each other and from year to year. Sometimes the salsa is sweet. Sometimes it’s hot enough to cause a four-alarm fire. Other times, it’s just right. No matter how the flavor changes, it’s all good. We savor the nuances in flavor when we experiment with different varieties or combinations of peppers.

I think the whole event is the most sensory thing we do. I love the bright colored produce, the spicy aroma, and the sounds of cooking while listening to . . . salsa music (of course!).

Salsa Music for You