Spicy Tomato Salsa

Dried chili peppers, fresh jalapeno peppers and hot pepper flakes add multidimensional space to this simple tomato salsa from the BERNARDIN Complete Book of Home Preserving, Robert Rose 2006 Inc., available in book stores.


  • 9 dried chili peppers
  • Hot water
  • 12 cups (3 L) diced cored peeled tomatoes (1⁄2-inch/1 cm dice)
  • 3 cups (750 ml) chopped red onions
  • 1-1/2 cups (375 ml) tightly packed finely chopped cilantro
  • 15 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) salt
  • 3/4 tsp (4 ml) hot pepper flakes


  • In a heatproof glass or stainless steel bowl, combine dried chilies with hot water to cover. Weigh chilies down with a bowl or a weight to ensure they remain submerged, and soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain off half of the water. Transfer chilies and remaining water to a blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade and purée until smooth.
  • Meanwhile, Place 6 clean 500 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner. Cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Keep jars hot until ready to use.
  • Preheating Bernardin® lids is not advised. The sealing compound used for our home canning lids performs better at room temperature than it does pre-heated in simmering water (180°F). Simply wash lids in hot, soapy water, dry, and set aside until needed. Preheating can lead to less vacuum being achieved during water bath canning, and to buckle failures during pressure canning.
  • In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine chili purée, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño peppers, vinegar, salt and hot pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
  • Ladle hot salsa into a hot jar to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top rim (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more salsa. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining salsa.
  • When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process –boil filled jars – 15 minutes.
  • When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.
  • After cooling check jar seals. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.