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Buechel’s “Make it Up as you Go” Salsa

You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too.

Kurt Vonnegut

Nikki and I just finished with an amazing salsa recipe we’ve been playing around with for about 15 years. Each year we seem to tweak it a little depending on the ingredients and how it it tastes and how much liquid is in the mixture.

One thing that really grinds my gears is when you look for a recipe online and there’s a ton of ads and pop-ups that make you scroll through the whole thing to try and find the process, so I thought I’d throw our recipe out there for anyone that wants to get to the point.

Now – if you’re looking for 100 percent home-grown, organic, and table to garden, I’m not sure this is the right one for you. We make this recipe because it’s a family favorite, but we have limited time and space. So for us we try to get as much from the garden as we can, but there’s no shame in putting in some store bought items. The only for sure is the tomatoes. They have to be garden fresh or there’s no reason to even mess around.


  • 5 Gallons (~ 42 pounds) of ripe tomatoes (Romas are best for less juice)
  • 4 bunches of cilantro (really exact…)
  • 4-6 large sweet peppers (any color)
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 head of garlic
  • 1 handful of basil (more or less to taste)
  • 4 + jalapeno or hotter peppers – optional
  • 1/2 cup of lime juice (~ 4 whole limes juiced)
  • 0.30 oz of dried chili peppers
  • 3 – 4 cans of corn (more or less to preference)
  • 2 – 3 cans of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 – 2 cans of garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 – 4 small cans of tomato paste (depending on preference of juice
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup salt (more or less to taste)


  • 1 large water bath canner
  • 1 large stock pot or additional canner pot
  • paring knife
  • cutting boards
  • 24 pint or 12 quart canning jars (+/-) with lids and rings
  • slicing knife
  • strainer
  • canning funnel and magnetic wand
  • tea pot or other item to boil water
  • bowls
  • frying pan (preferably cast iron)
  • 2 – 4 baking pans with sides (depending what you can fit into your oven)
  • ladle
  • canning jar lifter
  • ground beef or potato masher



  • Wash and rinse all vegetables and herbs – dry and set aside.
  • Open beans and rinse – set aside
  • Remove all garlic skins – set aside
  • Remove stems from all cilantro and chop- set set aside
  • Remove stems from all basil – set aside
  • Chop red and white onions – set aside
  • Juice limes – set aside
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Fill hot water bath canner and place on stove. Turn burner to high.
  • Wash all glass jars in dishwasher on high heat. Another option is to boil water in teapot and add approximately 1 – 2 inches of boiling water to jars. Make sure to keep jars hot and do not let cool. If you are using boiling water do not start this until right before filling jars with salsa. If you use dishwasher keep in the dishwasher to keep warm.

Starting the Process

  • Place tomatoes on baking pans. Put in oven.
  • Roast tomatoes in oven for 10-15 minutes till skin splits. Remove from oven and let sit until you are able to handle tomatoes.
  • Remove tomato skins and seeds. If you like the salsa chunky, cut up and place into canning stock pot. If you prefer fewer chunks lightly blend the tomatoes with a blender. Do not overblend.
  • In a frying pan on medium heat, place 2 tablespoons of olive oil . Roast all garlic cloves until tender.
  • Add basil to garlic. Roast covered until tender.
  • Remove garlic and basil from heat. When cool to touch, chop garlic and basil until fine.
  • Place peppers on cooking pan. Put in oven.
  • Roast Peppers in oven for approximately 15 minutes until skin wrinkles. Remove from oven and let sit until you can handle peppers. Recommend wearing gloves if you are roasting hot peppers.
  • Remove seeds and chop peppers.
  • After straining corn, to remove the remaining liquid heat in frying pan. Stir corn occasionally to keep from burning. When most liquid is gone, remove from heat.
  • Add all fresh vegetables, salt, vinegar, lime juice, dried chopped chili peppers, and herbs to tomatoes. Heat to low boil. If you did not blend the tomatoes, use a ground beef masher to mix and mash the tomatoes into finer chucks. Stir frequently.
  • When low boil is achieved, add corn and beans to pot.
  • Check with taste and liquidity. If too watery, add tomato paste to thicken. If more salt is needed, add salt to taste.
  • When 15 minutes is up, remove stock pot from heat. Place on large cupboard.
  • Place all canning jars near stock pot.
  • If you used boiling water to sterilize the jars, remove water from each jar as used. Make sure to inspect the jars for chips or cracks in the glass before filling.
  • Boil more water in teapot. Place the metal lids in a bowl. Cover lids with boiling water and let sit in the water bath.
  • Place canning funnel on top of jar. Using a ladle, fill the jar approximately 3/4″ from the top of the rim.
  • Using a cloth, wipe the top of the jar to remove any salsa and exess moisture. Take care not to touch the rim once it is clean.
  • Using the canning wand, remove a lid from the water bath. Place on top of the jars while avoiding to touch the rim of the jar with your fingers.
  • With the lid in place, place a metal ring over the lid and tighten firmly.
  • Continue filling jars. Most water canners hold 7 jars at a time.
  • When water in the water bath pot is boiling, use a canning jar lifter to place each jar slowly into the boiling water.
  • When all jars are set into the boiling water, set timer for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, remove jars from water. Do not place hot jars in drafty area.
  • You will hear the well-known “POP” when the lids seal shut.
  • Let cool for at least 6 hours before moving.
  • Press the top of each lid. If the lid does not move up and down and sits firmly in place, the lid is sealed. If it does move, the lid did not seal. If this happens, place these jars in the refrigerator and eat within two weeks.
  • If you are lucky enough to have chickens – save all the scraps and give them a grand feast!
  • And of course – ENJOY!

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