Yesterday, I made my second batch of salsa using the following recipe. My garden is now bursting with ripe tomatoes, and salsa is a great way to use a lot of them in one shot.

After making this just two times, I’ve learned a thing or two. The first thing I learned is that all jalapenos are not created equal. In the first batch of salsa I made, I used jalapenos from my niece’s garden. The salsa was not particularly hot. In the second batch, I used jalapenos bought at the farmers market. Those were very hot. Word to the wise — find out what kind of jalapenos you have before making salsa.

This salsa recipe is the first recipe I’ve made from the "Fresh Choices" cookbook I picked up last month at a library book sale. I flipped through all of my cookbooks looking for a salsa recipe that looked fresh and basic, and this one fit the bill. I figured once I found a basic salsa recipe, I could start playing with it to make it fit my family’s tastes. I’ll probably be tweeking it all summer. I’ll also be tasting the jalapenos I buy before I add them. Next summer, I’ll have to grow my own so I know what I’m getting each time.


  • 5 plum (Roma) tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped (original recipe calls for 2 regular tomatoes, but I like plum tomatoes because they have less water in them)
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (to add some heat, leave some of the seeds in)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt

Combine all ingredients gently and allow to sit for at least one hour for flavors to mesh.

My notes

  • In the first batch, I found that even though I used Romas, the salsa still got pretty watery, probably because the salt brings the water out of the tomatoes after sitting for a while. The second time I made the salsa, I salted the tomatoes and let them sit in a colander for a while to drain some of the juices. The salsa was still juicy, but not runny like the first batch.
  • The photo is from the second batch. I had half of a green bell pepper leftover from something else so I added that to the mix.
  • The recipe is easily doubled or more, but if you aren’t going to use it all within two days, I wouldn’t make extra. The best thing about this recipe is how fresh it is.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

How to make homemade salsa
A salsa base with garden fresh vegetables is a jumping-off point for making salsa just the way you like it.