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Homemade Picante Sauce Recipe – A Thin Salsa Recipe For Canning

If you love the taste of chips and salsa that is served at your favorite local Mexican restaurant, you are going to love this Homemade Picante Sauce recipe.

It has all of the essential ingredients that are in a standard, chunky salsa. However, instead of having large pieces of tomatoes, pepper and onions visible throughout, this sauce is much smoother and thinner.

This is the type of red salsa that is found at most Mexican restaurants. Although the word picante translates to mean ‘spicy’, most restaurants have both a mild and hot version that they serve with tortilla chips.

jar of homemade picante sauce
Homemade picante sauce has both the taste and texture of the red salsa that you get at most Mexican restaurants.

You can now find this red sauce at most large grocery stores, in the same aisle as salsa. However, every year when the garden is in full production, I prefer to make and can my own.

This way I can enjoy it all year long at a fraction of the cost. Not to mention that because I make it myself, I know that the ingredients inside each jar are much healthier than what I could purchase at the store.

No artificial flavors and no preservatives. Only all natural ingredients, most of which will come out of my garden.

What Ingredients Are In Picante Sauce?

The actual sauce is made from a blend of fresh paste tomatoes, onions, cilantro and serrano peppers. Shockingly there is no lime juice in authentic homemade picante sauce.

However, knowing that I wanted to preserve the sauce through the home canning process, I knew that we would have to add some acid in the recipe.

Yes, most tomatoes have a pH level that is considered acidic. However, depending on the variety of tomato, some are borderline acidic. Therefore, we must add a little more acid so that the sauce is safe to can.

For instance, San Marzano paste tomatoes are known to have a pH of somewhere between 4.2 and 4.5. Add in onions, peppers and cilantro and you can change the pH enough that you must add in more acid.

paste tomatoes
The best tomatoes to use for making picante sauce are paste style tomatoes.

In order for them to be safely be canned, lemon juice, lime juice or citric acid must be added to each jar. As a guideline, add 1 tablespoon per pint or 2 tablespoons per quart jar.

Just like when making Homemade Canned Salsa, you must keep the ratio of tomatoes to onions and peppers at a level that they are safe to can. You can’t just add more peppers to make it spicer.

Instead, if you want your sauce to be hotter, you must use a spicier variety of pepper. And if you want it to be less spicy, you can substitute green bell peppers for the hot peppers, without reducing the actual measured amount to peppers to the sauce.

How To Get The Sauce To Be Thin

In order to achieve the thin consistency of traditional homemade picante sauce, it is best to use a three-fold process.

1. Use a Tomato Strainer

A tomato strainer will peel the skins, remove the seeds, and pulp the tomatoes for you. This is an easy way to eliminate a ton of work if you had to do each step yourself.

However, if you don’t have a tomato strainer you could peel and remove the seeds after placing the tomatoes in boiling water for one minute. Then immediately transfer the tomatoes to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.

Once you are able to peel the tomatoes remove the seeds as well. Now place the tomatoes in a food processor or food mill to puree.

roma strainer
Using a food strainer makes it easy to remove both the skin and seeds from the tomatoes.

2. Use a Food Processor

I use my Hamilton Beach Food Processor to dice the peppers and onion into tiny bits. This will be a huge time saver when compared to how long it would take you to dice the vegetables with a knife.

I literally can have all of my peppers and onions finely diced in under 2 minutes! This time saver alone is worth the purchase of a food processor if you don’t already have one.

3. Use an Immersion Blender To Puree The Sauce

And finally, I use my Immersion blender to puree the sauce as it is heating up. This hand held blender gets submerged in the actual pot as the sauce cooks, which allows me to achieve the desired consistency of the picante sauce.

You could also transfer the mixture to a high speed blender to puree. However, you must be sure not to fill the blender more than half full, otherwise the sauce may end up on your walls and ceiling.

Therefore, in order to prevent that from happening, I highly suggest you use an immersion blender.

Homemade Picante Sauce Recipe

*Complete recipe instructions including specific measurements, cook temperatures and times are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to keep reading for helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe.

*makes approximately 10-12 pints

INGREDIENTS:

  • 40 to 50 Paste Tomatoes, (San Marzano, Roma or Amish Paste)
  • 4 Green Bell Peppers
  • 3 Sweet Red Peppers
  • 4-5 Jalapeno Peppers
  • 4 Medium Yellow Onions
  • 8 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/4 cup of chopped Cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Black Pepper
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of Salt
  • 2 Limes
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
food processor with peppers and garlic
Using a food processor that chop up your vegetables into fine pieces will save you a ton of time.

INSTRUCTIONS:

*If you have a Tomato Strainer proceed to step 2.

1. Peel tomatoes and remove the seeds. Dice the tomatoes and put them in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and mash down the tomatoes as they become soft.

You could also pulse the tomatoes in a food processor before adding them to the stockpot.

2. If you have a tomato strainer, wash, core and roughly chop the tomatoes and place them in a large stockpot. Heat the tomatoes over medium-high heat until they begin to boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Place heated tomatoes into a tomato strainer with the salsa screen. Discard the skin/seeds and place the remaining tomato pulp back into the large stockpot.

3. Dice your green, red, jalapeno peppers and onions. Using a food processor will save you a lot of time and effort. Add the diced mixture to the pot.

4. Mince 8 cloves of garlic and add them to the tomato mixture.

5. To finish off the homemade picante sauce, add the remaining ingredients and stir well.

6. Bring the mixture to a simmer and maintain a simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Then use an immersion blender to get the mixture to the desired consistency.

picante sauce on stove
While the picante sauce is simmering on the stove, sterilize the mason jars.

Canning Instructions

Sterilize pint jars. *Be sure to read the instructions on your canning lids. Most newly purchased canning lids no longer need to be heated prior to placing them on the jars.

Pour the hot picante mixture in hot jars, then wipe the rim clean with a washcloth. Apply the lid, hand tighten the band, and place the jars in a water bath or pressure canner using jar lifters.

Repeat with the remaining jars. Pressure can for 15 minutes with 10 pounds of pressure. Be sure to follow your pressure canner guide on how much water needs to be added to the canner.

You could also use a hot water bath canner to can your picante sauce. Be sure that the jars are covered with 1-2 inches of water.

Then when the water begins to boil, process pint jars for for 35 minutes or 40 minutes for quart jars. *Adjust for altitude accordingly.

When the processing time is up turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the canner. For water bath canners, let the jars sit for 10 minutes before removing them.

For pressure canning, follow your manufacturer’s guideline on how to depressurize and remove the jars.

Using jar lifters remove the jars from the canner and place on a thick towel. Let them sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours or until completely cool.

water bath canner
Picante sauce can be processed in either a water bath or pressure canner.

Check to make sure the jars have sealed appropriately by pressing on the lid. If the lid can’t be pressed in the jars have sealed properly. Store the homemade picante sauce in a cool dark place.

If the jars did not seal, place the jars in the refrigerator and use within 3 weeks.

Enjoy!

Mary and Jim

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Yield: 9-10 pints

Picante Sauce Recipe

picante salsa

A thin consistency salsa recipe that is similar to what is served at Mexican restaurants.

Ingredients

  • 40 to 50 Roma Tomatoes
  • 4 Green Bell Peppers
  • 3 Sweet Red Peppers
  • 4-5 Jalapeno Peppers
  • 4 Medium Yellow Onions
  • 8 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Black Pepper
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of Salt
  • 2 Limes
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. *If you have a Tomato Strainer, proceed to step 2.
  2. Peel tomatoes and remove the seeds. Dice the tomatoes and put them in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and mash down the tomatoes as they become soft.
  3. If you have a tomato strainer, wash, core and dice tomatoes and place them in a large stockpot. Heat the tomatoes over medium-high heat until they begin to boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Place heated tomatoes into a tomato strainer with the salsa screen. Discard the skin/seeds and place the remaining tomato pulp back into the large stockpot.
  4. Dice your green, red, jalapeno peppers and onions. Using a food processor will save you a lot of time and effort. Add the diced mixture to the pot.
  5. Mince 8 cloves of garlic and add to the tomato mixture.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.
  7. Bring to a simmer and heat for approximately 30 minutes. Use an immersion blender to get the mixture to your desired consistency.
  8. Sterilize pint jars and heat lids.
  9. Pour picante mixture in hot jars, wipe the rim, apply the lid and band and place in canner.
  10. Pressure can for 15 minutes with 10 pounds of pressure or Hot water bath for 35 minutes. *Adjust for altitude accordingly.
  11. Remove from canner and let sit for 12-24 hours until completely cool. Check to make sure the jars have sealed appropriately. Store in a cool dark place.

Notes

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1 grams

Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
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