Kel’s Spicy Salsa (Preserving Version) with Homemade Tortilla Chips


Kel's salsa and chips

My good friend PJ gifted me with a bunch of homegrown tomatoes in August, and I decided to can them using my spicy salsa recipe. If you live near Raleigh, there’s still time to make this wonderful salsa to enjoy later, but you’ll want to do so in the next couple of weeks.

Thanks, PJ

I’ve made this salsa several times (it was Richard’s favorite), but for some reason this version has been my favorite so far. Maybe it’s because I decided to add a little bit of sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes, or used a mixture of hot peppers from my own garden, but I love how it’s zesty but won’t make your taste buds scream for relief. You can always add more hot sauce if desired.


When I went to open my first jar of this tasty salsa, I realized I didn’t have any tortilla chips. As luck would have it, I had a whole package of corn tortillas, so decided to make my own. This is so easy – three ingredients, pop them in the oven for 10-12 minutes and, viola, you have tasty chips that cost much less than store-bought ones. And much better than most of them as well!

Ingredients for Salsa (makes 5-6 pints)

Kel's spicy salsa ingredients

  • 8-10 lbs. ripe tomatoes
  • 3 green peppers, membranes removed and seeded, chopped small
  • 3 sweet onions, chopped small
  • 4 jalapeño peppers, diced small
  • 3 cayenne peppers, diced small
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 ¼ cups cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Hot pepper sauce, to taste


Prepare the canner by bringing the water to a simmer to sterilize your jars (see my blog post “Yes, You Can” for detailed directions.)

Bring a large pot of water to boil. In the meantime, score the tomatoes.

Score tomatoes

Add the tomatoes to the boiling water for 1 minute in small batches.

Parboil tomatoes

Immediately place in an ice bath. Repeat until all tomatoes have been blanched.


Now you can easily remove the skins from the tomatoes. Place them in a large colander that is positioned over a bowl or pot, and chop into small pieces (I love my Pampered Chef salad chopper for this step.)

Chop tomatoes in a colander

You will have lots of leftover tomato juice — don’t let this marvelous stuff go to waste! It will keep in the fridge for a day or so and makes some of the best Bloody Marys ever!

Bloody Mary time!

But I digress. Place the green peppers, onions, hot peppers, garlic, cilantro in a colander, cover with a paper towel and press down to remove any excess juice.

Strain green peppers, onions, peppers, etc.

In a large pot, mix all of the ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. You should stir the salsa often during this step.

Mix together all salsa ingredients

Now you are ready to can this amazing stuff! Using your canning tongs, remove a jar from the canner, shake off any excess water, place a funnel in the jar’s mouth, and ladle in the salsa, leaving 1/2 “ headspace. Wipe off the rim with a clean paper towel, position the lid on the jar, and apply the band until it is tight (but not too tight.) Repeat for all of the jars.

Bring the water in the canner to a rolling boil. Add the jars of salsa and process for 15 minutes.

Process Salsa in water canner

Remove the jars and let cool, checking the lids after 24 hours to make sure they sealed. Store in a cool, dry, dark place. I usually wait several weeks before trying it, as hard as that is! But I just want to ensure that all of the flavors meld together for the best results.

Next up, Kel’s Homemade Tortilla Chips – so tasty!

Kel's spicy salsa with homemade chips

Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

Kel's homade tortilla chips ingredients

  • 6 corn tortillas, stacked
  • 1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a pizza cutter, cut the stack of tortillas in half, then in quarters, then eighths (if you want larger chips, just cut into quarters.)

Cut tortillas with pizza cutter

Brush each cut tortilla with the oil and sprinkle with the salt.

Brush tortillas with oil

Place face down in a single layer on a baking sheet. Depending on the size of the baking sheet, you may have to repeat this step and the ones that follow. Brush the tops of the chips with a little more oil and add more salt if desired.

Place chips on baking sheet

Cook the chips for 5-6 minutes, remove from oven, and flip them over using tongs or a spatula.

Flip over chips halfway through baking

Return to oven and cook for another 5-6 minutes. You want these crispy but not too brown. Drain on paper towels.

Place chips on paper towel

That’s it! Enjoy with Kel’s Spicy Salsa and a cool margarita.

Kel's salsa, chips aand margarita

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!

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