Keay’s 3 Beer Salsa

Keay's 3 Beer Salsa

My kids and I have a tradition of making salsa each Fall and I'm proud to say we grow all the produce in our own garden. I often get asked for my salsa recipe so here it is. I was given this recipe from a farmer at a farmers' market in Calgary about 16 years ago - not only does it make great salsa, whoever authored it had a great sense of humour. It made me laugh then and it still does today so I look forward every year to pulling out my tattered recipe sheet.
Prep Time5 hrs
Cook Time2 hrs
Author: unknown


  • 15 lbs slightly under-ripe tomatoes ~35 medium
  • 20 assorted large hot peppers
  • 4 - 8 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 large green peppers
  • 2 or 3 large onions
  • 13 oz tomato paste
  • 3 12 oz beer
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar


Phase 1

  • You're going to skin the tomatoes by blanching. Get 2 or 3 litres of water boiling in a wide pot and fill a clean sink with 4-5 litres cold water. Select about 30 barely ripe and 5 definitely under-ripe tomatoes. Drop tomatoes in boiling water for 40-60 seconds (NO MORE) in batches of 6 or less. Quickly fish them out and drop in the cold water. Theoretically the skins should peel off with minimal effort. Cut out big stem ends and cut into 1/8ths or whatever to make 1 to 2 cubic inch volume pieces. Slightly larger is OK, smaller is no good. Throw pieces in plastic bowl or pail and mix in 1/2 cup pickling salt. You should have at least 8 litres. cover and let sit for 3 to 12 hours. the salt will suck most of the water out of the tomatoes and if you don't screw around and shake things up, you'll be pouring off 2-3 litres of clear, salt water.

Phase 2

  • Carefully drain tomatoes. the more salt water you lose the better. throw tomatoes, vinegar and sugar in the soup pot and start heating at medium. Place saucer or small bowl in freezer. Meanwhile, your assistant has been chopping all the hot peppers and 4 of the jalapenos in the processor. Use everything except stems, chop very fine and throw in with the tomatoes as soon as possible. Time to crack beer #1 because now your pinned there gently stirring for the next hour as the salsa starts to simmer. Assistant should enjoy beverage of preference in moderation as dangerous utensils are in use. The salsa will burn if you don't stir it. Keep it at a gentle simmer. check the time and remember when simmering started. Do not taste. Meanwhile your assistant is manually chopping the onions and green peppers in 1/2 to 1 inch pieces. Remove green pepper seeds. At precisely 30 minutes past start of simmer throw in the onions, green peppers and the tomato paste. Fill canner with hot water, jars and lids and get it boiling. At precisely 45 minutes past start of simmer, spoon 3-6 tablespoons of salsa into bowl from freezer and return to freezer. Avoid tasting the hot salsa. At 50 mpsos (figure it out) cleanse palate with ice cold beer #2 and ready nacho chips. At 55 mpsos remove cooled salsa from freezer. It must be at room temperature or lower. Taste. If mild, quickly add 3 or 4 more jalapenos and cook for 10 more minutes. If too hot, too bad girlie-man.

Phase 3

  • Remove salsa from heat and stir often as you deftly fill your sterilized jars to precisely 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe rims, install lids and screw on rings snug but not tight. Place jars in the canner and ensure there is 1 inch of water covering tops of jars. Process at full rolling boil 20 minutes (plus 10 minutes to adjust for altitude of Calgary). Enjoy beer #3 while monitoring processing and supervising Phase 4.


You need about 1 hour, 3 to 12 hours ahead of time to prepare the tomatoes (Phase 1). The salsa (Phase 2) and canning (Phase 3) take about 2 hours total. Add 1/2 hour for cleanup (Phase 4).
Over the years I have tried several additional flavourings such as fresh coriander, minced garlic and even added a couple of peaches for a bit of sweetness. All have been delicious. Have fun and experiment with your own ideas.