Green Tomato Salsa Verde

September 12, 2010 · 73 comments

filed in: Gluten-Free,Sauces/Condiments/Marinades,Vegetables,Vegetarian/Vegetarian Option

Green Tomato Salsa Verde

September is a month when many home gardeners in the northern hemisphere start monitoring weather forecasts in earnest. Nighttime temperatures are dropping, but plenty of green tomatoes remain on the vine that will likely get zapped by cold weather in coming days or weeks. Pick them now, or hold off in hopes that more will ripen before the first frost ruins them all? This gardening dilemma probably explains the origins of the classic, waste-not-want-not comfort food dishes of fried green tomatoes and green tomato/apple pie. But what other uses are there for these late season tomatoes that have not yet ripened?

This recipe offers one answer. Here I’ve substituted green tomatoes for the similarly flavored, and very distantly related, tomatillos that are the main ingredient of ever-popular Mexican-style salsa verde, which also features green chili peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro. This easy, delicious, and versatile salsa may be used fresh or frozen for later use.

Ingredients

2 pounds firm, green tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 fresh green Anaheim (or other large, mildly-flavored) chili pepper, stem and seeds removed, quartered
3-4 green jalapeño chilies (for a medium salsa) or serrano chilies (for a hotter salsa), stems removed, quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey or sugar
1/3 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves (coriander greens, dhania, etc.), coarsely chopped

Preparation

  1. Combine the green tomatoes, onion, chili peppers, garlic, salt, cumin, olive oil, and water in a stock pot. Bring to a boil and cook covered on a medium-low heat burner for approximately ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water only if needed to maintain the most minimal broth.
  2. Stir in and simmer for an additional five minutes the lemon zest, lemon juice, honey (or sugar), and cilantro. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning, if needed, by adding more lemon juice, honey, and/or salt, to taste.
  3. Spoon the mixture (in batches if necessary) into the container of a food processor or blender and pulse until the salsa reaches the consistency you prefer, either chunky or a smooth puree.  Makes approximately one quart of salsa, which should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. This recipe may be doubled or tripled.

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{ 67 Comments...read them below or add one }

John November 6, 2013 at 9:01 am

Great recipe, Thanks! I agree with Ralph – sometimes I just use a spoon.

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Ralph October 14, 2013 at 8:58 am

This is my second year using this recipe to make use of my end of season green maters. I use way more cilantro, lime juice instead of anything lemon, more cumin (to taste), and this year I blistered my serrannos on the grill for a fire-roasted taste. Who needs tortilla chips? Just give me a spoon!

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Barbara October 14, 2013 at 11:55 am

Great ideas, Ralph, and thanks for sharing them with us!

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Cindi September 29, 2013 at 4:22 pm

I ALMOST stuck to the recipe:
I didn’t have yellow onions, so I used red onion instead
I didn’t have fresh lemons or limes; I used concentrated lime juice and had no zest
I doubled the anaheims and jalapenos
And we don’t like the flavor of cilanthro so that was left out.

I diced the tomatoes, onions, and peppers about 1/4-1/2 inch so I could skip the food processor step and I just mashed with a potato masher by hand after cooking.
And OMG this is the best salsa ever! Hubby just sat down and ate it straight and wants more. Tastes far better than any red salsa I’ve ever made. Thank you so much! I will never let another green tomato freeze in the garden again.

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Tracy September 1, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Made this today using the jalapeño peppers. It was too mild for me, so Serrano peppers for the next batch.

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Erin Kelkar July 24, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Thanks for a great recipe. My son made this salsa a few weeks ago with early tomatoes. I liked it so much I made a batch for the freezer. Tonight, my son made another batch.

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Annie July 13, 2013 at 10:10 pm

I made this salsa today and it was deeeelicious! Looking forward to trying many of the others! Great site.

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Rita October 28, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I forgot to omit the oil for canning!!! And I made a triple batch! Is it going to come out terrible? Anything I can do?

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Barbara October 29, 2012 at 9:03 am

Oh dear, I’m so sorry. And after all that work, too! Unfortunately, the US National Center for Home Food Preservation says:

“Preserving tomatoes in oil is currently not recommended. Oil may protect botulism organisms trapped in a water droplet. Furthermore, oil may have a deleterious effect on lid gaskets and the at least one manufacturer of home canning lids recommends against it.”

A discussion found at http://my.gardenguides.com/forums/topic/72779 is very relevant to your question and may offer appropriate advice on whether you can safely salvage, through refrigeration, any of the salsa you’ve already made.

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amber October 22, 2012 at 8:13 pm

tried it loved it…cannin’ an 18 gallon tote of green tomatoes tomorrow and sharin’ as a christmas gift! great idea and useful for end of season!

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Debby I October 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Delicious. Easy. I made a double batch and froze it in many containers so I can have it all winter long. Do not overcook it since when you puree it you probable want it still a bit chunky and if you cook it to mush you will get mush when you puree. I could not get Anaheim peppers so I used one pablano and one green pepper. Could really use any pepper based on the heat you want. It is a keeper.

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natalie October 19, 2012 at 11:00 pm

followed recipe to the tee but it has a bitter after taste any suggestions?

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Linda October 15, 2012 at 11:09 pm

I just canned a triple batch and am wishing I had enough green tomatoes to do another triple. Absolutely delicious; and so easy!!

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Steff October 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Can I can this for storage?

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Barbara October 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Yes you can. I haven’t canned this recipe because I live in a part of Florida that doesn’t have freezing weather, I grow tomatoes nine months of the year, and I generate excess green tomatoes fairly evenly throughout that period. However, please see Elizabeth’s very helpful comments below regarding her method of canning this recipe, particularly her tip about omitting the oil.

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Daun September 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Just what we needed to use up the tomatoes.

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Smore September 23, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Made it and everyone loved it. Thanks for the recipe.

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lisa June 20, 2012 at 10:25 pm

This was even better than I thought it would be. It was very fresh and flavorful. I too used lime instead of lemon. I like a lot of heat, so next time I will make that adjustment. Highly recommend!

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Kristy June 12, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe and thank you Elizabeth for the canning modifications. A girlfriend of mine had given me enough green tomatoes to make a double batch and I couldn’t just let them go to waste. This was my first ever attempt at canning and because of you, a success!

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Mary May 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm

What is the yield for this recipe “as is”? A Gallon? More? Less?

It sounds GREAT!

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Barbara May 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm

The recipe yields approximately one quart.

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lisa December 11, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I made this with the last of my tomatoes this fall and it was amazing… Made again today using 6 lbs of tomatillos someone gave me and it worked really well with those too…used lime and lime juice instead of lemon… Mmmm. Thanks for sharing this great recipe.

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danielle December 2, 2011 at 3:15 am

just rescued my last tomatoes this morning from green house (1st frost last nite in england but they r fine !) and will be be trying this recipes out today as not a big chutney fan but love mexican ect and love the fact u can freeze ! so fingers crossed

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Peg November 18, 2011 at 7:58 am

I read that putting newspapers over my green tomatoes would turn them red. HUM? I have decided that this salsa is just too wonderful and too bad about waiting for red tomatoes. With the season ending, I had too many green T’s and excessive peppers on the vine and this recipe hit the mark. Hot out of the blender…yum! My first batch didn’t last long. Thanks so much. Most say that it tastes like my tomatillo salsa, so who is to tell? Whatever makes ‘em happy.

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TriciaM November 13, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Are the skins an issue? Do they need to be sweated off like you would when canning stewed tomatoes?

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Barbara November 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I prefer to leave the green tomato skins on for this salsa recipe and thus didn’t include a sweating step in the recipe.

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melissa November 10, 2011 at 6:03 pm

what kind of jars do u use?

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Barbara November 10, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Normally I use Ball brand pint or quart canning jars with two-piece lids. However, for the photo above, I used one of several no-name refrigerator jars bought at Dollar Store since I planned to store the salsa batch I made in the fridge and use it within the week.

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Bruce Schafer November 6, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Made a double batch of this recipe and it came out great. Instead of a stock pot I used a crock pot on high for about 3 1/2 hours. At the end I just mashed it lightly with a hand potato masher (aka ricer) rather than using a blender/processor.

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Suzanne November 6, 2011 at 5:24 am

Thank you for a great recipe! I made a double batch last night and my husband and I couldn’t rave enough about it. The flavors are wonderful.

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Lora October 30, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Just made a batch. Left out the oil for canning; used 1 1/4 tsps of salt and also added about a 1 tsp apple cider vinegar. I also used a red bell pepper instead of the Anaheim, and the added color looks great. I’m leaving it all chunky. It works great that way and it’s one less thing to clean! Thanks for the recipe!

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Kami October 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Could I make a batch and then freeze the jars of salsa, as if it is freezer jam?

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Barbara October 30, 2011 at 6:54 pm

That’s exactly what I do when I have excess green tomatoes, and, yes, I’ve been happy with the results. Perhaps I should point out to readers that I live in Gulf Coast Florida where our strange tomato season runs from late September to May and that I generate excess green tomatoes fairly evenly throughout that period. Our tomato season ends gradually with a whimper — because of excess heat — rather than with a bang — because of freezing weather. Thus my lack of need and knowledge regarding proper, water bath canning of green tomatoes for long-term storage. Many thanks to all of you canning experts who’ve pitched in with such useful advice here!

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Elene October 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm

I made 17 pints. I think it will be fine after waterbath-ing for the 20 min ( didn’t use any oil in the batch I canned) BUT the fresher un-canned, un-canned version with the oil, I can vouch for. YUMMMMM

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michael October 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm

hi, first time here….and am enjoying your photos and everybodies comments. I have two 5 gallon buckets of green tomatoes. I make jams using the inverted method all the time….my question is would it work with the salsa as well?

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Barbara October 27, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Although I’ve read about the inverted method, I haven’t tried it. Perhaps one of our other, more canning-savvy commenters has the answer to your question?

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Judy P. October 18, 2011 at 11:42 am

In answer to the question from Michelle about leaving out the oil for canning? Oil coats the food and allows botulism organisms to grow. I have been checking several recipes to use up my green ones, and this sounds pretty good. Last night I made frozen green tomato pie filling, and pepper jelly. Gonna do the salsa today.

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Michelle October 17, 2011 at 7:23 pm

This receipt was AWESOME!!! I had a ton of leftover green Tomatoes so I looked up a receipt for easy salsa. I have to be honest, went with this one cause I simply thought it was super easy looking. Well…I was right! But not only easy… IT’S DELICIOUS! I made a triple batch and am very happy I did! My family said it rivaled any restaurant verde ever!
My only suggestion: try serving it Right out of the blender HOT! Fab-u-lous!!!!

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Jennie October 16, 2011 at 1:49 am

Thanks for the recipe. I have lots of green tomaties and frost is in our near future. I pulled my plants today and put the green tomatoes in a vaccum seal bag. Tossed them in the freezer and will pull them out to can when I have a free weekend. I also do this with my tomatoes that ripen during the summer, but not enough to make a batch of whatever I plan to can. What I like about freezing before canning is, the skin slides off once they thaw.

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Elizabeth September 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Yum. I’ll use this recipe again. I tripled the recipe with just under 6 pounds of cored green tomatoes. It made 7 pints. My pot was not wide enough, so I cooked it in two batches. Pureed, recombined puree in stock pot, simmer for a few more minutes, then canned the hot salsa. (Ball recommends boiling water bath for 20 minutes. I used hot jars, hot lids, and simmering salsa when canning.)

Ingredient changes:
No Olive oil (b/c canning)
7 Tbs. lemon juice (1 Tbs. per pint, because canning)
4-5 green fish peppers (similar to jalapeno)
2 small poblano peppers (instead of anaheim)

I used fewer peppers because I like a mild to medium salsa. I used different peppers, because that is what I had in my garden and freezer.

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Debra September 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Thanks for the canning modifications. Sounds like just the recipe I need and canning is a must.

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Julie December 5, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I’m going to make this tonight! I have 21 pounds of cleaned and ready to go green tomatoes! Thank you so much Elizabeth for posting your canning method. I’ll put it to good use. This recipe looks wonderful!

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tompoe September 15, 2011 at 6:12 am

I just harvested green tomatoes. Rather than make up recipe right away, what is the possibility of cutting up green tomatoes, bagging and vacuum sealing, then freezing batches to be brought out during the holidays, and making up recipes as needed? Is that safe?

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Barbara September 15, 2011 at 6:42 am

I haven’t tried freezing raw green tomatoes; however, several websites suggest that your proposed approach should work very well. You might want to refer to the advice shown at http://food.unl.edu/web/preservation/freezing-tomatoes, http://www.ehow.com/how_4529239_freeze-green-tomatoes.html, and http://www.kitchensavvy.com/journal/2006/10/freezing_green_.html. And keep us posted on how things work out!

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Brandis @ Crunchy Thrify Cool September 4, 2011 at 11:02 am

I just canned 8 pints of this (tripled the recipe, plus a little more) and it looks/smells AWESOME!. For those wishing to can it, here’s what I did- leave out the oil (add a little water or lemon juice at the beginning to help keep from scorching). After chopping in the food processor (which I did in batches) I returned it to the pan and brought it back to a simmer and let it simmer for probably 15 minutes to reduce it to the consistency I wanted- as long as you bring it back to a boil, you can simmer as long as you want. Don’t skimp on the acid- I added extra as it both needed that extra bite AND the acid ensures a safe product. Then I ladled into hot prepared jars, lidded with hot lids, and processed in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Thanks for the great recipe!

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michelle September 26, 2011 at 6:00 pm

i would like to know why you left out the olive oil in your process. thanks!

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Clinton May 4, 2011 at 8:53 pm

This looks like a perfect recipe for canning. I love using green tomatoes in various dishes. This delightful salsa would be perfect compliment to a bag of my favourite tortillas.

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Jefro Bodine November 5, 2010 at 9:33 pm

I too have an abundance of little greeny meanies, and decided to make salsa. Your recipe, and mine were almost exact, except for the lemon. I think I will use lime. Nice pics.
BTW the tomatillo is related to gooseberries, and are not related to tomatoes.

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Shawn Markel November 1, 2010 at 11:36 am

Can this recipe be canned with a water bath process? If so, for how long?
Thank you.

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Barbara November 1, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I am not an experienced canner, I’m sorry to say, but I believe this can be canned in a traditional water bath. Although I prefer to preserve this salsa for later use by storing it in the freezer, http://all-natural-mama.blogspot.com/2009/08/cooking-canning-salsa-verde-green-sauce.html provides very complete instructions for canning tomatillo salsa verde. I assume that you could apply the same process and cooking times to this green tomato salsa.

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Lori October 14, 2010 at 9:21 am

Oh, I didn’t get it from gotta dig it, I got it from Frugal Gardener! Oops!
~~Lori

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Lori October 14, 2010 at 9:14 am

Hi! I found your site from Gotta Dig It. I have been looking for something to make from a mountain of green tomatoes I have on my counter. Last night I tried your recipe, and it was great! Used leftover pinto beans and pulled pork to make quesadillas, with your salsa verde added inside, next to, and all over! It was a nice change. Easy to make! Thanks for the recipe, it will be going into my file for future use. Hey, nice pictures, too~~Lori

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Sarah October 13, 2010 at 12:47 pm

once made (and kept in the fridge) how long would a batch last for?

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Barbara October 13, 2010 at 12:54 pm

It should last in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, assuming the jars you pour it into are scrupulously clean. It can also be frozen for later use.

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chris October 13, 2010 at 12:31 pm

would it be okay to leave the cilantro out?

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Barbara October 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Sure. That would work.

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A Canadian Foodie September 16, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Absolutely gorgeous looking preserve. I love preserving at this tine of year, and it looks like you have captured a jar of spring. It sounds delicious. YUM! How different are the green tomatoes in this recipe from the tomatillos? Valerie

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Barbara September 16, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Thanks for asking that question, Valerie, which I was debating about myself. In their raw form, tomatillos seem to me more delicate and a tiny bit tarter than green tomatoes. But in their cooked form, as in this recipe? Dunno. I did add a bit of lemon juice to this recipe, which wound up tasting very like tomatillo salsa verde to me. That said, the focus of this post was on an end of season, waste-not-want-not approach to excess green tomatoes. Out of season, I would probably opt for tomatillos, for availability and price reasons alone.

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Megan September 14, 2010 at 10:31 am

What a great idea. My hubby would devour that in no time!

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Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog September 14, 2010 at 1:29 am

Wonderful green salsa never used green tomatoes. It’ll go excellent with a bunch of nachos. Have a great week! Gera

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Faith September 13, 2010 at 6:32 pm

This is a fantastic use for green tomatoes! I’ve only ever used them to make fried green tomatoes so I’m excited to try this!

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Jason's BBQ Adventures September 13, 2010 at 8:48 am

Great looking salsa! Love the use of green tomatoes.

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Arnold September 12, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Well I have learned something. I never thought one could do anything with green tomatoes. The styling on your photos is great (as always).

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Barbara September 13, 2010 at 5:46 am

In these parts, at least, they are a great favorite and are also used for relishes. I actually had to buy (!!) the green tomatoes used in this recipe since my mid-Florida home garden season, in backwards fashion, runs from September to May.

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Sonia September 12, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Hi, I just jumped here from Thesis forum. You’ve got a very beautiful and clutter-free space! Everything is done nicely and organized. This recipe is useful for me. Thanks for that. The spoon besides your salsa bottle is lovely.

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Amanda September 12, 2010 at 8:23 pm

I absolutely love salsa verde. This is beautiful Barbara, wish I had a big bag of chips right now!

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Mags September 12, 2010 at 7:04 pm

This makes me wish I wouldn’t have yanked my tomato plants out of the garden. There were plenty of green ones in there to work with. Salsa verde is something I almost always buy in the jar and it would have been interesting to try this recipe. It looks delicious.

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