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Salsa and Salsa Soup Stock

Salsa and Salsa Soup Stock

We use salsa on taco chips, as a pizza sauce, and in bean salads, and it’s always delicious.  Each year we make huge batches and that’s what we did yesterday.

Over the years we’ve refined our recipe, streamlined it, and simplified it.  It requires three large pans, and makes about 10 quarts of salsa as well as about 6 quarts of salsa soup stock.  We use a food processor for the chopping.

Here’s the recipe I tape on the cupboard door every salsa-making session:

  1. Divide between 2 large soup pans:
  • ½ gallon onions, chopped
  • 10 hot peppers, chopped
  • ½ gallon green peppers, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  1. Add enough chopped tomatoes to fill the pans. 
  2. Then chop up one more soup pan’s worth of tomatoes.
  3. Cook all three pans until clear liquid rises to the top. 
  4. Skim off as much of this liquid as possible from all three pans and put it aside.  (This is the salsa soup stock, and you should have about 5-7 quarts of it, depending on the variety of tomatoes you’re using.)  We push a metal sieve into the top of the boiling mixture so that the clear liquid drains into it; then we use a soup ladle to scoop up the liquid inside the sieve. (Thanks to Mr. 16 for this time-saving idea; I just used to slowly skim the liquid off with a soup ladle without the sieve.)  There are two reasons to skim off the liquid: to thicken the salsa without cooking it for hours(saves energy and time), and to save all that good liquid to use as a soup stock in the winter.
  5. Divide the plain tomato between the two salsa pans.   After draining the clear liquid from each of the three pans, there should be plenty of space in the two salsa pans for this.
  6. Add the following ingredients to EACH salsa pan:
  • 2 ½ c vinegar
  • ¼ lemon juice
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • ¼ c pickling salt
  • 1 ½ T oregano
  1. Heat the salsa to boiling, pour into canning jars, and process for 15 minutes.
  2. Can or freeze the clear liquid you skimmed off to use as soup stock.   (If you’re canning, be sure to add 2 1/2 T of lemon juice or vinegar per quart or 1 1/4 T per pint.)  This stock can be quite hot, so you’ll only want to use a cup or two in a normal pan of soup.

Note that the amount of tomatoes can vary hugely; all the other ingredients can be altered as well.   In fact, some years when the tomatoes hardly ripened and we had no peppers, we even substituted green tomatoes for the green peppers and cayenne powder for the hot peppers;  the resulting salsa was delicious.  However, do be sure to keep the right amount of vinegar, lemon juice, and salt for safety’s sake.

Other options include lime juice instead of lemon juice, and adding cilantro and parsley along with the oregano.

Yesterday we made a double recipe and ended up with 19 quarts of salsa and 13 quarts of salsa soup stock. It was a huge amount of work, and we did it together. Miss 13 put the green peppers and the tomatoes through the food processor and helped stir, the Little Misses gathered the jars, and Mr. 16 washed them.

For other recipes and tips for intentional living, see Works For Me Wednesday ,  Women Living Well Wednesdays, Healthy 2Day, Raising Homemakers, Encourage One Another, the Ultimate Recipe Swap, Thrifty Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, and Frugal Friday.


  1. Jacqueline says:

    Hi, Annie Kate,
    I found your blog on Rachel’s Day2Day Joys link-up. I hope to make your delightful recipe for this soup with our garden bounty. My family will like this one!
    I also want to invite you to stop by my place to link-up as I celebrate my 100th post. Your blog would be a hit with my readers as it is with me. I didn’t know about you until today 🙂 Come join in.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Enjoy the recipe! 🙂

  2. Christy says:

    This sounds delicious – would love to give it a try, we didn’t particularly care for the Ball Blue Book recipe. I have a question I am hoping you can answer (I know it will be like “duh”) but how do you measure a gallon of this or that?

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Oh, we’re so low-tech here, we just use gallon ice cream pails to measure and kind of guess at the halfway mark! LOL

      Since the recipe is very adjustable, that works for us.

  3. […] did realize one very important thing:  I had added neither vinegar nor lemon juice to the salsa soup stock I canned last month.  A long call to the Bernardin home canning company pointed out the […]

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