We have the gigantor model on the right from 1951. If only instruction manuals still looked like this!We have the gigantor model on the right from 1951. If only instruction manuals still looked like this!
Adding to the freezer with the freezer jamAdding to the freezer with the freezer jam
Using 8 lb of tomatoes and halving the rest of the recipe made 13 cups, or 6.5 pintsUsing 8 lb of tomatoes and halving the rest of the recipe made 13 cups, or 6.5 pints
Ladling into jarsLadling into jars
Cooked down by half and ready to goCooked down by half and ready to go
Washing the new jarsWashing the new jars
Cooking down by halfCooking down by half
Tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, garlic and saltTomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, garlic and salt
Lime juiceLime juice
The dry weather recently made these guys surprisingly hotThe dry weather recently made these guys surprisingly hot
Homegrown jalapenosHomegrown jalapenos
After blanching, the skins peel right offAfter blanching, the skins peel right off
Add to boiling water for 30-60 seconds (or when skins start coming off), then remove and submerge in ice waterAdd to boiling water for 30-60 seconds (or when skins start coming off), then remove and submerge in ice water
Preparing for blanching: one pot of boiling water, and one pot of ice waterPreparing for blanching: one pot of boiling water, and one pot of ice water
Thawing out the frozen tomatoesThawing out the frozen tomatoes
Prepping for blanching the tomatoes. Rinse, cut off stem end, slice X in skin on bottom of tomato.Prepping for blanching the tomatoes. Rinse, cut off stem end, slice X in skin on bottom of tomato.
Homegrown tomatoes from this year, and a few bags of frozen homegrown tomatoes from last yearHomegrown tomatoes from this year, and a few bags of frozen homegrown tomatoes from last year
Homegrown, homemade freezer salsaHomegrown, homemade freezer salsa
  • We have the gigantor model on the right from 1951. If only instruction manuals still looked like this!
  • Adding to the freezer with the freezer jam
  • Using 8 lb of tomatoes and halving the rest of the recipe made 13 cups, or 6.5 pints
  • Ladling into jars
  • Cooked down by half and ready to go
  • Washing the new jars
  • Cooking down by half
  • Tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, garlic and salt
  • Lime juice
  • The dry weather recently made these guys surprisingly hot
  • Homegrown jalapenos
  • After blanching, the skins peel right off
  • Add to boiling water for 30-60 seconds (or when skins start coming off), then remove and submerge in ice water
  • Preparing for blanching: one pot of boiling water, and one pot of ice water
  • Thawing out the frozen tomatoes
  • Prepping for blanching the tomatoes. Rinse, cut off stem end, slice X in skin on bottom of tomato.
  • Homegrown tomatoes from this year, and a few bags of frozen homegrown tomatoes from last year
  • Homegrown, homemade freezer salsa

I have a couple goals for the tomatoes that I grow.

  1. Have enough to eat fresh.
  2. Preserve some into salsa, pasta sauce or other tomato products.

Last year I didn’t have enough to do much preserving, so I blanched, peeled and froze some Romas that I used later in chili.

A few weeks ago I had a whole pile of tomatoes ripening on the counter and realized I needed to do something with them. Finally, I had enough to make salsa!

I still didn’t feel like I had enough to make canning worth my while, so I went the freezing route. (Plus we have a gigantic freezer in our basement, so freezer space isn’t really a limiting factor.)

I found what looked like a great freezer salsa recipe online, and went to work. I had about 8 lb of tomatoes between the fresh tomatoes I had from this year and some frozen ones from last, so I halved the recipe.

The salsa turned out amazingly. We used homegrown tomatoes, garlic and jalapeños. We also added some serranos which made the salsa a little spicier than I love, so next time I’d leave them out.

Can you freeze in canning jars?

Yes, if you use the right ones.

a) Only use wide-mouth canning jars. The necks of tapered jars are a weak spot that can crack under pressure from expanding liquid.

b) Freeze in pint-sized jars or smaller. Quart-sized jars contain too much liquid which will expand when it freezes. Stick to pints or half pints. I learned this the hard way last year after I froze some homegrown tomato carrot basil soup, and the tapered-neck quart jar cracked and sliced my finger open.

c) Allow yourself plenty of headspace for the liquid to expand.

I prefer glass to plastic, so I freeze in canning jars. Plus, when I finally get around to canning I’ll have quite a stash of jars to use.

Freezer salsa is a great alternative to canned salsa if you’re not trained in how to can safely or if you don’t have mountains of tomatoes all at one time.

We really, really like this recipe, and assuming all goes well with our tomatoes in the next few days, I’ll be making another batch on the weekend.