Canning Salsa During Harvest Season

Canning Salsa During Harvest Season

TV Host, Hunting Enthusiast, and Twin Mom Lindsey Hayes shares her experience harvesting her garden and canning her family's salsa recipe.

Growing up on a farm in southern Wisconsin, taught me a lot of valuable lessons about growing your own food. We plant corn and soybeans for our cows and we plant a large garden every summer for our family. These days, we don’t solely depend on the garden for food, but my great-great grandparents did. They would grow their own food in the summer and then, preserve it by canning, to last through the winter. As a child, I was always fascinated by my grandma’s canning cellar; dozens of mason jars full of peaches, pickles, canned beef, asparagus, beets, tomatoes and more. My grandma’s peaches were my favorite. She passed down the tradition of canning to my dad and I am so thankful she did. Now, my parents can together! They have taught me the tradition too. I still have a lot to learn, but am thankful for this family tradition. Canned beef or venison is my favorite meal to make, however homemade canned salsa is a close second.

The process starts in the spring by planting your garden. We plant a variety of different types of peppers, mild to hot. We also plant rows of tomato plants and two large rows of onions. We are very lucky to have amazing soil on the farm - rich in nutrients - thanks to some natural fertilizers (cows - haha).  It definitely helps the crops grow in abundance. I take little to no credit for all of the daily hard work that my mom does. Our garden is her baby all summer long. She spends hours weeding, watering and admiring her plants and flowers. I help when I can. I have twin one year old boys now, so I am constantly running. When gardening, we always wear Ranger Ready Picaridin 20% Repellents to ward off pesky biting flies, mosquitos and gnats. I also use the Ranger Ready Permethrin 0.5% clothing Repellent to add a second layer of protection to my gardening clothes. 

Here are a few gardening tips:

  • Protect your young tomato plants from wind and cold in the spring.
  • Till in between rows to keep weeds to a minimum (we want all of the nutrients to go to the tomatoes!)
  • If no rain is in the forecast, water daily.
  • Know your growing and harvest season- last frost of the spring and first frost of the fall.
  • Once tomatoes start to ripen, check daily and pick/enjoy.

We obviously enjoy gardening, but my favorite time of the year is when we have fresh produce to enjoy. Nothing beats fresh veggies from the garden. YUM!

We often go from having one or two ripe tomatoes to hundreds of them. This means, it is time to can salsa! 

More and more people are turning to canning today because of the fact that people are concerned about what is in their food. I love knowing exactly what is in every jar. I love knowing our family grew the ingredients. It is so fresh and delicious too. You can’t buy this in the store. It is just not the same. We are preserving a family recipe and a tradition. Yes, the entire process takes time and hard work, but the final product is worth it!

My parents were kind enough to share our recipe. It is top secret in the Hayes household! I hope you try it and share it with your family and friends.


Fresh Ingredients From The Garden


40 tomatoes 

5 cups of onion

5 cups of mild peppers

4 cups of hot peppers

3 tablespoons of cilantro

2 cups of apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons of canning salt

2 large cans of tomato paste or 5 small

3 cloves of garlic (chopped)

¼ cup of sugar


Skin tomatoes and cut them up into chunks.

Put tomatoes in an extra large pot and cook on stove over medium heat for 45 minutes.

Chop Onions

Cut Peppers, remove seeds/core and chop them.

Chop garlic cloves.

Reduce heat for the tomatoes to simmer.

Add onions, garlic and peppers to the simmering tomatoes.

Add peppers.

Simmer for 15 minutes.

Take off heat and fill quart jars to a 1/2 an inch from the top.

Put on the lids and put in jars into a warm water bath.  

Bring water to a boil.

Once the water starts to boil, water bath for 12 minutes. (Turn down to low boil for that 12 minutes)

Remove jars and let cool.

Enjoy the fresh salsa with family.