Mama’s Chunky Tomato Salsa

Mama's Chunky Tomato Salsa

Mama's Chunky Tomato Salsa

I love having a home garden to grow tomatoes for cooking and eating fresh, but when tomatoes are in peak season, I head to the farmers market. My family loves homemade salsa, and so picking up a bushel or two of fresh Roma tomatoes means I can get all my salsa made for the winter in one weekend. I like to use poblano peppers as one of the main ingredients because I love the smoky heat that the pepper adds to the salsa. The amount of heat in the salsa is up to you. It can be made with mild hot peppers like jalapenos or you can increase the heat by using serranos, habaneros or even ghost peppers. This salsa is great served with nacho chips, mixed into black bean quesadillas or just added to your favourite Mexican-inspired soup.
YIELD : 5-500 ml jars
WATER BATH PROCESSING TIME: 15 minutes for altitudes of 1000 feet or below. Adjust processing time for other altitudes.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Water Bath Processing Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Course condiment
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 5 500 ml jars
Calories 12 kcal


  • A 16-litre pot for blanching the tomatoes
  • 8-litre stainless steel heavy bottomed pot
  • large fine mesh strainer
  • canning pot
  • wire basket or tray for the bottom of the canning pot
  • jar lift
  • magnetic wand for lid placement
  • funnel
  • 5-500 ml sterilized jars with lids and rings
  • disposable gloves


  • 14 cups Roma tomatoes (about 8 lbs before peeling, seeding and chopping) peeled, seeded and chopped medium dice
  • 3 cups poblano peppers (about 6-9) seeded and chopped medium dice. For a milder salsa you can use bell peppers or a combination of poblano and bell peppers.
  • cup jalapeno peppers (about 2-3) seeded and chopped fine. To make a hot salsa substitute serrano, habanero or ghost peppers
  • 2 cups Spanish onions or cooking onions chopped medium dice. (I like to use a combination of these onions.)
  • 1 cup vinegar 5% acidity or higher
  • ½ cup cilantro or parsley chopped fine
  • cup tomato paste about ½ of a 156 ml can
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt if using kosher salt use 1½ teaspoons
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • bag of ice cubes for cooling the blanched tomatoes


To peel and prepare the tomatoes for dicing:

  • Cut an X on the blossom end of the tomatoes.
  • Fill the 16-litre pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Fill a clean sink with cold water and add a two-three dozen ice cubes.
  • Boil the tomatoes in batches for 30-45 seconds and then transfer them to the cold water to prevent the tomato flesh from cooking. (Note: if you are using this boiling water to blanch enough tomatoes for several batches of this salsa, make sure that the water remains boiling hot otherwise the peel will not separate easily from the tomatoes. (You might need to let the water return to boiling after blanching more than 8 lbs of tomatoes because every time you add cool tomatoes the boiling water cools slightly.)
  • Peel and cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and the cores.
  • Note: If you plan on making several batches of this recipe in one day, to be efficient, blanch all your tomatoes first before peeling and chopping them.

Chop and cook the tomatoes:

  • Chop the tomatoes, medium dice and measure to 14 cups. Add them to a large fine mesh strainer set over a bowl or pot. Let the tomatoes drain for 30 minutes.
  • Place the drained tomatoes in an 8-litre pot and heat to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 60-70 minutes or until thickened, stir frequently.
  • Note: If you plan on making several batches of this recipe, get one batch started by chopping the 14 cups and setting it up to drain before chopping the next 14 cups. When I am making multiple batches of this salsa in one day, I drain and cook all the tomatoes first before doing the next steps.

Chop the remaining vegetables:

  • Wearing disposable gloves, seed and chop the poblanos or bell peppers; measure 3 cups. (The gloves are needed for chopping poblanos but not for the sweet bells.)
  • Wearing disposable gloves, seed and chop the jalapenos or serranos; measure ⅓ cup.
  • Chop the onions to medium dice; peel and mince the garlic.
  • Chop the cilantro or parsley finely; measure ½ cup.

Add the remaining ingredients to the thickened tomatoes:

  • Add all of the remaining ingredients to the thickened tomatoes. Bring the mixture back up to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Fill each sterilized jar with the salsa, leaving ½" headspace.
  • Run a sterilized spoon through the salsa in the jar to remove air bubbles. If after doing this, there is room to add more salsa, go ahead and add it, making sure that you still maintain ½" headspace.
  • Wipe each jar rim with a paper towel or cloth dampened with hot water.
  • Top each jar with a washed and briefly warmed snap lid. (I put the snap lid in boiling hot water for 30 seconds; this softens the seal.) Add the sterilized ring and tighten to finger tip tightness.
  • Process using the boiling water method in a canning pot for 15 minutes. (Make sure to start timing when the water returns to a full boil after adding the salsa-filled jars.)
  • Remove the jars using a jar lift and place on a cutting board. Do not disturb for 24 hours.
  • Remove the rings and inspect the jars. Wipe the jars clean with a soapy cloth. Store the salsa without the rings in a dark cool place for up to a year. If any jars have failed to seal, store in the fridge and use immediately.



Every season, I like to make at least 20 jars of this salsa. Processing an entire bushel of tomatoes, from start to finish, in one day, with two people, using five 8-litre or larger pots to streamline the canning, will take about 8-9 hours. The yield, on average, will be 25-500 ml jars.


Serving: 1=⅕ of a 500 ml jarCalories: 12kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 122mgPotassium: 74mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 154IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 1mg
Keyword salsa, tomato
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

7 Replies to “Mama’s Chunky Tomato Salsa”

  1. 5 stars
    We made this recipe today and it was very easy to follow and we ended up with 22 jars of amazing salsa! Absolutely delicious! Thank you Cansanity for your recipe and pro tips!! We are going to make this an annual event!

  2. I made two batches of the salsa this week. Excellent! Followed the recipe and got great results. All my jars sealed! Will definitely make this again next September. Thank you, Lou-Ann

  3. 5 stars
    do you have to cook the tomatoes for 70 minutes? What if you want chunky salsa.? Seems like this would turn the tomatoes into sauce? I’m a newbie and I seriously want to know. I love how you explain everything and can’t wait to try it.

    1. Thank you for asking this question and welcome to this canning community. Yes, you do have to cook the tomatoes. Cooking the tomatoes in this first step does two things, 1) evaporates the excess liquid so the resulting salsa is thick and has an intense tomato flavour 2) concentrates the tomato ingredient in this recipe resulting in the proper acidity in combination with the vinegar and other ingredients. The proper acidity is necessary for the salsa to be shelf stable after water bath processing. Don’t worry if you chopped the tomatoes chunky, they will still stay chunky.😊 You would have to puree them to get them to turn into a sauce.

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