good salsa from so-so tomatoes

With the early frost a couple weeks ago, I had to pick all my remaining tomatoes while they were still very green. The best way to ripen green tomatoes is keep them in a cardboard box in a cool area — basement, garage, or shop — that stays between 55F-60F degrees. ripening_tomatoes2

Once the tomatoes just begin to turn color, bring them inside to ripen the rest of the way at room temperature — 70F-75F or so. While this will get you ripened tomatoes, they are nowhere near as good to eat sliced as those sun-ripened on the vine. They do, however, make good salsa.


For this batch I peeled the ripe tomatoes and seeded them before chopping into small cubes. To add a light crunch, I also chopped green tomatoes into cubes with their skins on and added them to the ripe ones. To that mix I added a chopped sweet onion, and mixed the lot in a large bowl.

I don’t have any fresh chilies left, or I would have added those. Instead I chopped a cup of jalapenos I’d roasted and preserved in oil a few weeks back. I also mixed in ground cayennes I’d dried on my chili ristra for more spice.



Throw in some white vinegar, salt to taste, and that’s it. I follow my palate rather than a recipe because how much I make depends on how many tomatoes are ready at a time. As a guide, this recipe made a little over 5 quarts of salsa, and I used 1/2 a cup of white vinegar, and about a tablespoon of salt. I tend to under season with the salt and adjust to taste once I am ready to use the salsa.

Finally, sterilize the canning jars and lids in boiling water, put the fresh salsa in the jars leaving 1/2 an inch of head room, seal the jars, and boil the sealed jars in a water bath for 15 minutes. The tomatoes that tasted just so-so on their own are transformed by the salt, vinegar, and spices into a delicious salsa.


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