Frozen Tomato Salsa Experiment

Last summer in the midst of Frank’s recovery from back surgery and my gallbladder going out, I did not can one tomato. Not one. Instead, I froze about 12 to 15 gallons of whole tomatoes in freezer bags. That’s about all I could manage. Pick them, wash them off, pack them in a freezer bag, and put them in the freezer. About a month or so ago, we ran out of the previous year’s salsa we had canned, and we really like salsa. So I tried the frozen tomatoes to see how they would work in a fresh salsa.

As the tomatoes thawed, there was quite a bit of watery liquid. I thought about pouring some of it off, but decided to keep it this time. This gallon of tomatoes yielded six cups of tomato product. 

I got out my frozen jalapeno peppers. I didn’t get any peppers canned last summer either, but I did freeze up a quart of chopped peppers just for this possibility. Following my regular salsa recipe, which is scribbled on a piece of paper, with these frozen vegetables was all guess work. 

I splurged and bought some fresh cilantro for this batch of salsa, just because we really like it. My regular recipe calls for 5 onions, so I dutifully chopped up 5 onions. This was a mistake. 

The salsa looks great, but it turned out to be onion salsa instead of tomato salsa. The onion flavor was VERY strong. Luckily we like onions, but I found this salsa was better cooked into something than used as is.

We ran out of the onion salsa last week, so this week I got out another gallon of tomatoes. Thus begins experiment #2.

This time I poured off most of the watery liquid after the tomatoes thawed, and I only got 3 cups after I removed the skins and cores.

I used a few more frozen jalapenos, since the last batch was very mild aside from the over powering presence of onions.

Initially, I only used one onion, but there weren’t quite enough, or so I guessed. So I added another half of an onion I had in the frig. The reusable wraps are great.

I had fun taking a picture of adding the salt. Just because.


 This time I used some of the cilantro I dried last spring from the herb bed. I have read that dried isn’t near as strong as fresh, so I doubled the amount. I have also heard that dried isn’t worth using, so we will see after this has had a couple of days to sit and blend flavors.


I have my fingers crossed that this batch will taste much better. We seldom cook with tomatoes of any kind anymore, so I will keep using our frozen tomatoes for salsa until we can make some fresh next summer.

I really enjoy experiments like this. It gives us yet another opportunity to learn something new. I hope you’re planning for your garden, we certainly are. We’re going to leave potatoes out of our garden this year. Frank and I have introduced a low carbohydrate regimen into our diet. We plan this to be a life long change for the better. So our garden plans are changing somewhat to provide the new things we are eating. 

Until next time – Fern

Fern’s Salsa

This salsa recipe has been adjusted several times to the current ratio of vegetables. We really enjoy it. Especially with fresh corn chips. We buy corn tortillas then fry them in olive oil and sprinkle on a little salt. They are very good alone. But when you add a bowl of fresh salsa, it’s almost a meal in itself.

We eat the recipe fresh and we also can it to eat throughout the winter. The ratios can be increased or decreased depending on the number of ingredients you have or your taste preferences. We like the simplicity of the recipe.

Since I made this batch of salsa over a few evenings due to time constraints, I chilled the ingredients as I prepared them. Before I canned it, I heated it all to boiling.

Earlier in the summer when I only had a few tomatoes, I peeled them by hand to make a quart of fresh salsa. For this batch I actually had a decent number of tomatoes so I blanched them.

Boil a pot of water deep enough to hold some tomatoes. Leave the them in the boiling water for about a minute or until the skins start to split. Then put them in a sink of cold water. 

The skins will slip off easily after they are blanched.

Peel and chop 6 cups of tomatoes to the desired consistency. Some folks use a blender or a food processor, I dice them. 

Finely chop and add 4 medium onions and 1/2 cup jalapeno. Add 1 tsp. salt.

Finely chop and add 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro (more or less). Adjust the amount according to your taste. I tend to add more than the recipe calls for. We really like the flavor. I bought these plants in the produce section at the store. When I plant cilantro here in the spring it bolts and goes to seed. These are trying to do the same thing. So I keep them potted on the porch so I can go out and take clippings for the salsa.  

Stir well. To eat fresh – chill (if you can wait that long). Eat!

To can, heat to boiling, fill hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe rims, put on lids and rings. Water bath for 15 minutes after coming to a full rolling boil. Remove the canner lid and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the jars and place them on a towel, then cover with a heavy towel and let cool slowly and seal.

This is another tasty, easy way to preserve our wonderful harvest.

Until next time – Fern