Use up your garden or farmer's market produce with an easy & flavorful roasted tomatillo or green tomato salsa that you can preserve by canning or freezing. You can make this salsa verde as spicy as you like by adjusting the types and heat of the peppers.
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This homemade roasted tomatillo or green tomato salsa recipe is SO good, with a tangy, slightly spicy flavor that gives a nice flavor to meals like tacos and enchiladas.
I love having this salsa verde on hand as another option along with our regular, favorite canned red tomato salsa as a dip for chips and using it for other southwestern meals (a dollop of this on Chicken Chili? Yum.)
Tomatillos or Green Tomatoes?
If you grow or buy tomatillos when they're in season, you can use those for the most authentic version of this green salsa.
But if you grow tomatoes at all, you know you will have green tomatoes at the end of the season and this roasted green salsa is one of the BEST ways to make use of those unripe tomatoes. The tartness of the green tomatoes is very similar to tomatillos, so it's a pretty decent substitution.
So it really is equally good with either fruit - feel free to use either.
Want more ideas to use up your green tomatoes in recipes you can both eat right away and preserve for later? Check out this e-cookbook I created to use 'em up:
Stock Your Pantry with Salsa Verde
Salsa is one of the best things you can have in your pantry for quick meals and snacks - it really has saved us many times from the drive-through.
Every time we're in a rush, or late coming home and really hungry, and I think about grabbing some food along the way, I remember that we always have chips, cheese, salsa and sometimes tortillas. It takes about 10 minutes to make nachos or quesadillas with salsa.
Of course it's also great topping (slightly) more involved meals like tacos, enchiladas and salads of grilled chicken, beans and guacamole.
And that's another reason to love having homemade salsa in your pantry - it works for so many things, right?
Make Roasted Tomatillo or Green Tomato Salsa
To make this easy salsa, it's simply a matter of chopping the ingredients and roasting them in a hot oven before transferring them to a stockpot to boil before canning (or letting cool and freezing).
You can leave the salsa with larger chunks or use an immersion blender in the pot to gently chop to a finer consistency. The salsa you see in the photos was blended in this way so all the vegetables were more even sizes.
Would you like it mild or spicer?
You can adjust this to your family's heat levels and still be safe for canning! Simply keep the ratio of peppers the same, but vary the types. For instance, we like it spicer, so I use half jalapeños to make up the pepper portion - and I leave the seeds and membranes.
If you want it less spicy, use all mild peppers like Anaheim and Poblano, and/or remove the seeds and membranes.
How to Prepare Tomatillos for Salsa Verde
Tomatillos are such a fun plant to grow! All you need is 1-2 plants to harvest enough for salsa, so if you grow tomatoes, leave room to add a tomatillo for a change.
You'll harvest tomatillos when you feel them and they are firm and filling out the outer husk.
To prepare them, simply rub off the husk. You'll notice a sticky residue left - that's normal. I wash the fruit to remove as much as I can. Then chop them and add them to the roasting pan.
Can I freeze fresh tomatillos?
If you have an abundance of tomatillos and can't process them all while they're at their ripest, you CAN freeze them for later!
You freeze tomatillos similar to tomatoes, either whole or cut. Remove the husks, wash, dry and lay out on lined cookie sheets to freeze until firm before adding to freezer baggies/containers.
If you want to use in a canning recipe, do like tomatoes and weigh them first, writing it on the bag before freezing.
Safely Can Roasted Tomatillo or Green Tomato Salsa
Making your own salsa means you know exactly what's in it and can tailor it to you and your family's liking.
Only to a degree, though, if you're planning to can: the only ingredients you can adjust or change when canning in a water-bath canner are the dry ingredients. All the fresh ingredient ratios must stay the same to remain safe.
Is this recipe safe to can?
This recipe was adapted from a National Center for Home Food Preservation recipe, and by 'adapted' I mean:
- roasting instead of boiling the vegetables initially to increase flavor (like my safe-to-can roasted tomato sauce)
- keeping the same pepper-onion ratio to tomatillos/tomatoes, but increasing the peppers and decreasing the onions
- adjusting the dry spices
If you would like a more garlic flavor, for instance, it will have to be added as dry garlic powder when canning or you can add it as fresh when you serve it.
Can I add fresh cilantro?
UPDATE: Many people have asked me about adding fresh cilantro to this recipe. The NCHFP website (where the recipe is from, linked above) suggests adding cilantro when serving since it doesn't keep its flavor as well with canning.
However, as a gardener I know you want to use what you have growing at the time. Fresh cilantro adds a low acid ingredient, though, so you would have to remove something to add a couple tablespoons of chopped cilantro.
I would probably lower the onions to 2-1/2 cups and then add 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.
NOTE! This is TOTALLY not what you're supposed to do, since the recipe has been tested the way it was published. My thoughts on it are this: lowering the onions by 2x what you're adding should keep the ph ratio safe.
But only do this if you feel comfortable with it - otherwise add fresh cilantro when you serve it!
What if I just want to freeze the salsa?
If you're going to freeze this only, it IS okay to add more fresh garlic, fresh cilantro, more peppers, or whatever you'd like to your heart's content.
You wouldn't be able to can it after doing these changes, though.
The good thing is, it freezes great, so it's really your choice!
Best Reader Comment:
"I have never been a big fan of salsa verde, but I have an abundance of green tomatoes that I do not want to go to waste. So I gave your recipe a try, and oh my goodness! This is so amazing and the recipe is so easy to follow. Thank you! I now have salsa in my freezer that we will enjoy throughout the winter. This will definitely be my go-to salsa recipe!" -Debby
Other Easy Preserving Recipes
Roasted Tomatillo or Green Tomato Salsa
- 5 cups chopped tomatillos or green tomatoes, about 2 pounds, washed, husks removed from tomatillos
- 3 cups coarsely chopped hot peppers: a combination of jalapeño and long green Anaheim or Poblano chilies to your taste*
- 3 cups coarsely chopped onions
- 6 medium cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup bottled lime juice (or lemon)
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano or to taste
- 1 tablespoon salt or to taste
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin or to taste
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Place tomatillos or green tomatoes in a large roasting pan. Add chilies, onion, garlic and mix.
- Roast vegetables for 30-35 minutes, stirring at the halfway mark, until the tomatillos/tomatoes are starting to break down.
- Scrape the roasted vegetables into a large stockpot and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes. While simmering, prepare water bath canner, lids & 4 pint or 8 half-pint jars if planning to can (wash freezer-safe jars or containers for freezing, or use freezer baggies)
- Blend the salsa further, if desired, with an immersion blender and the ladle into prepared jars leaving 1/2-inch headspace for canning (you'll need a good 1+ inch headspace for freezing to account for expansion).
- To Can: Wipe rims, seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes, turn off burner, remove lid and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove jars to a cloth-lined surface and let cool 12-24 hours before testing the seals, labeling, and storing for up to a year.
- To Freeze: let salsa cool and then transfer to clean freezer containers. Label and freeze for a year.
This recipe has been updated- it was originally published in September of 2015.