The end of the growing season in Ontario means lots and lots of green tomatoes. And that means, Green Tomato Salsa! It’s just like regular salsa, but it’s green! When you only grow a small amount of tomatoes each year, making sure you’re using every last one of them is important. So jump on the green tomato salsa train, and don’t let any of them go to waste!Jump to Recipe
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Salsas are just great. Seriously, I love them. Not only for nachos or tacos or fajitas (but those are all excellent) but for lots of things! Chicken breasts baked with a layer of salsa and cheese, and served with rice is a super quick, colourful and flavourful meal. Basically if you need to kick up a sort of meh meal to the next level, salsa is the perfect go-to.
When you grow a finite number of tomatoes though, you don’t necessarily want them all to become salsa. And for the last few years, I actually haven’t canned any salsa that uses ripe tomatoes. We have decided that all the tomatoes that ripen will either be eaten fresh, dried, or turned into pasta sauce. The growing season is short here, and can come to an end abruptly, so we know that there will be a good number of green tomatoes left at the end of the season. Why spend our ripe toms on salsa when we know there will be an abundance of green ones later?
Are Green Tomatoes Okay to Eat?
Short answer, not really! Okay, that’s not a very reassuring answer, but don’t worry. If you’re like me, you may have heard that green tomatoes are toxic. And yes, when they aren’t ripe, tomatoes contain a small amount of solanine when raw, which is a toxic compound. But there is so little of it that you would need to eat several kilos of green tomatoes in one sitting for it to have a negative effect. And even better, cooking the green tomatoes removes the toxin all together! Cooking them also gives them a more pleasant texture and taste. They’re sour and a bit grainy when they’re raw. Once cooked though, they’re mellow, tart, and soft.
Heat or No Heat
This green tomato salsa recipe makes what I would consider to be a pretty mild salsa. But I love spicy things. Increasing the heat to your tastes is important and can be done right up to the last minute using dried spices. If you aren’t sure how hot you want it, it’s better to use dried spices only and add little by little while tasting the whole time, until you get it to where you like it. Remember; You can always add more, but you can’t take any back!
This salsa is acidic enough that it can be water bath canned to preserve it. If you adjust the amount of onions or peppers, you will want a pH meter to test that it is still within a safe range. Otherwise it can be frozen, or pressure canned. If this is your first year canning, then I’d recommend following the recipe as closely as you can. Having the right tools is also helpful, and thankfully you can get some great canning kits from Amazon like this one.
Making the most of your harvest is one of the best ways to ensure you really enjoy your garden experience. And I hope you enjoy this salsa as much as we do at our house!
Green Tomato Salsa
- 1,100 g Green Tomatoes
- 200 g Bell Peppers
- 30 g Jalapeno
- 170 g Red Onion
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1/2 cup Cider Vinegar
- 3 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Each, Salt, Cumin, Thyme, Chili Flakes, Coriander, Chipotle Powder Use the chili flakes and chipotle powder to adjust the spiciness to your tastes.
- 1 Tbsp Oregano
- Prepare the tomatoes. Remove their cores and any unsightly bits. Dice into different sizes, some larger and some smaller.
- Dice the bell pepper, jalapeno, and red onion into a small dice. And crush the garlic.
- Combine everything, except the spices, in a large heavy bottomed pot. Place over medium low heat and stir to combine. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, and let it bubble and cook for about 25 minutes.
- Add the salt, cumin, thyme and oregano. Followed by the chili flakes and chipotle to your tastes. Adjust salt as well while you're tasting.
- Continue to cook, for a further 10-15 minutes.
- Prepare your canning tools, and sanitize your jars either in boiling water or by heating in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Begin to heat water in a large canning pot.
- Fill hot jars with hot salsa. Wipe the rims of the cans with vinegar and tighten on the lids to just hand tight (you don't want to over tighten the lids at this point or air won't be able to escape.)
- Transfer the jars, using a jar grabber, to your pot of water. The water should be about 2 inches higher than your jars.
- Bring to a gentle boil, and process for 20 minutes for pints, and 15 minutes for half pints.
- Remove and allow to cool undisturbed for 12-15 hours. Label your jars with the date. Store in a cool, and dark pantry for up to 18 months. Once opened, store in the fridge.