We just opened a jar of home-canned salsa that my husband has declared “powerful.” Hey, I labeled it hot—what did he expect? You can grow salsa in your garden and can it this year, with just a little planning. Here are the plants that you’ll need.
Tomatoes: Pick a rich paste tomato, or stick with a general-purpose tomato and I’ll give you directions on how to drain it after you chop it (and maybe make Bloody Mary Mix!).
Chile peppers: Both thick-walled jalapeno and thin-walled, larger Hatch or Anaheim peppers are traditional. Jalapenos are hotter. Hatch or Anaheim peppers are less hot. We grow both.
Garlic: Grow a little.
Onion: You don’t need much!
Oregano: Mexican oregano is that crucial secret-flavor herb in salsa.
Cilantro is the bright green, big-leafed herb with the distinctive flavor that I personally love in salsa, but you don’t want to put it in your salsa until you’re ready to serve. Canning will kill the flavor.
Plant the garlic and onion sets now (or as soon as your ground thaws enough to plant). Plant the oregano whenever you want. If you buy a plant and protect oregano through the winter, it may never die. Cilantro bolts in heat, so plant it early (as in now) and late (as in, for fall). Tomatoes and peppers love heat, so plant them as soon as the nights stay in at least the mid50s F.
That’s it. If you put these things in the ground some time in the next month or so, I’ll help you can salsa this summer. Yes you can can!
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