how do you store them?
how long they will last?
The jars of salsa? Store the salsa in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight. I have a canning pantry that I use for storage. Light and heat exposure will reduce shelf life.
The salsa will easily keep for a year or more under proper storage conditions, if it lasts that long.
Just finished our 3rd year of canning your wonderful salsa. Thanks for the recipe – it was our first try canning salsa 3 years ago and we’re so glad you pointed us in the right direction.
You’re very welcome. We did 103 pints this season (and I’m still not sure how long they’ll last).
Hi I have made salsa before and it turned out mushy. Can you tell me what I was doing wrong?
Not completely sure what you mean by “mushy”, but I’m guessing the tomatoes were more like puree than chunks? There could be several different reasons:
Overripe tomatoes – if tomatoes are too ripe, they simply don’t hold up to canning
Waterlogged tomatoes – really wet weather near harvest will also make them squishy and mushy for canning
Chunks were cut too small – tomatoes will break down some during processing, so keeping chunks roughly 1/2 inch square will help some of them stay intact
Overmixing and overcooking – Mix and cook the salsa only as much as need to blend ingredients and heat through. The more you mix and cook, the more the tomatoes will fall apart.
Tried making this salsa this tear.best ever.Your right my husband even said it was better than the leading store bought brand.thanks loads for sharing…God bless you
Quick question – about how many cups of copped tomatoes do you end up with after processing the 22 pounds of fresh ones?
My 8 quart stockpot is within a few inches of the top, so probably around 6 quarts?
Hi Laurie! Thank you for posting your canning experiences and recipes. I have NEVER attempted canned and have always found it freaking scary! Lol! However, I would like to try your salsa recipe. I have a question though. ..what’s the difference between a hot water bath and actually using the pressure cooker? How do you know which method to use? Is either safe for salsa? Thanks again for your help! ????
Water bath canning involves submerging the jars in boiling water for a set period of processing time. It is suitable for high acid foods. Pressure canning (not pressure cooking) involves processing the jars in a sealed pressure canner at elevated temperature and pressure. You must can all low acid foods. You can can high acid foods, but most people just water bath can them. Some folks prefer dealing with the steam over dealing with a big pot of boiling water, which is why I give both options for this recipe. It is heavy on tomatoes and also has added vinegar, which should keep the pH below 4.6.
I highly recommend you check out the Ball Blue Book for a basic canning overview. I also answer many common canning questions here – http://commonsensehome.com/canning-questions-answered/
The Natural Canning Resource Book – http://commonsensehome.com/the-natural-canning-resource-book-book-review/ – explains in detail the chemistry behind safe canning and food preservation in general.
What if the lids on the jars don’t pop, seal, after a water bath?
Then you need to refrigerate and use sooner rather than later, or reprocess.
Could I substitute fresh tomatoes that I have frozen in the freezer. I was overrun with tomatoes this year??
It would be more difficult to work with mushy tomatoes, but you could give it a try.
Hi Laurie I have tons of Roma tomatoes I don’t have anyway to weigh them. Do you know how many cups instead?
I’ve never measured specifically by cups, but I do end up filling my 26 cup vintage Tupperware bowl, slightly heaped, twice over – so around 58 cups?
Do you have a recipe for carrot salsa. Thanks
That’s not one I’ve tried, although there are a number of them on the internet. I think the pH would make canning unsafe.
When everything is prepped and hot, how many jars do you end up with from this recipe? I want to make sure I have enough Mason jars before I start.
Usually I end up with 10-12 pints.
I haven’t yet tried your salsa recipes. I have been looking for information to can some killer cherry salsa I came up with a few years ago. Have only eaten it fresh, but wanted to can it and have some last throughout the year. So I think from some of the things I have been reading is that I need to use lemon juice, (bottled for strength consistency) to make it acidic so it will not spoil. Or perhaps vinegar. I do already use lime in my salsa, but think it must need the lemon or vinegar too. Basically I just replace tomatoes with cherries and use several different chilies and make it pretty hot.
Cherries are safe to can on their own, it’s the addition of other ingredients that bumps up the pH. If you test your final product, that should give you an idea whether or not it’s safe for canning. A pH lower than 4.6 is considered safe for water bath canning.
Used this for my first time canning salsa. So far so good. I did change the spices just a bit because I do not like cumin and I left out the celery (didn’t see that on the ingredient list when I made my shopping list) but added more onion to make up the difference. added 1/4 cup dried red pepper flakes because we like things SPICY!!!! I didn’t have enough for the last pint so I put it in a bowl in the fridge to cool and once it cooled Oh my! The best salsa ever!!!!! I used lime juice instead of vinegar because that is what my mom always did. the spicy with the lime juice and cilantro is just such a good combo! I also generously doubled the cilantro as we can’t get enough of it. How long do you let your jars sit before you open them to eat the salsa?
You can eat the salsa at any time, as you’ve found from the bowl in the fridge. Do watch for signs of spoilage. You added extra ingredients, which could affect the pH.
Thanks for this great recipe! Every jar is gone! I was worried about how long it would be good for. It didn’t last even 1 month! I think I have found the perfect Christmas gift for all my people! Thankfully the climate I live in supports fresh produce all year round!
Lucky you! We ran out over a month ago, and are probably still several weeks to a month from getting enough ripe tomatoes for salsa. Glad you like it!
our jars didnt seal can we do them over
Jars may be reprocessed, but you should check the headspace, wipe the rims clean and probably use new lids if the original ones appear malformed. I wouldn’t put them right back in again, because whatever caused the failure the first time will probably cause a failure again.
I Canned this salsa summer of 2014 and again summer of 2015. The best homemade salsa I have ever had. Wasn’t watery like some. Best ever!!! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!
Glad you like it. We’re looking forward to restocking soon.
Hi Laurie, I am going to give your salsa a try – never canned it before. Quick question, have you canned kimchi before? I made it last summer but had to keep in refrigerator because of fermentation. Haven’t been able to find a safe recipe for canning. Thank you!
If you can kimchi, you’ll lose the probiotics, but I would think you could can it in a similar manner to sauerkraut.
I tried makin b salsa for the first time last year. I used the Ball recipe and it tasted so vinegary that it was thrown out. I want to try again as we eat a lot of salsa. My question is why the vinegar? Why apple cider vs. White or other types? Can that be substituted or a reduced quantity and still keep the pH level safe?
The first time I made salsa I tried the Ball recipes – and we hated them, too.
The vinegar is used in home canned salsa recipes to lower the pH of the salsa, making it safe for canning. (This recipe is also tomato heavy compared to most fresh salsas, which also helps with the pH.)
I like using apple cider vinegar in canning because I like the flavor, and it comes from apples. Most white vinegar comes from a variety of sources, including wood pulp. I use it white vinegar for cleaning, but it can be substituted in canning recipes if you like. The pH is the same. Lemon or lime juice can also be substituted for the vinegar in this recipe – but they give a more pronounced flavor.
I made this recipe today. The salsas are still in the hot water canner at this moment. Somehow, I came out with 20 pints from your recipe once I started ladling it all out. Not half pints, pints. I used 20 pounds of tomatoes. No I did not make a mistake weighing them. I did forego peeling them, but I cannot imagine how that would have doubled the recipe. Do you think it could have been the reason? I strained probably half of them. The rest I just poured the excess juice off my cutting board before adding the tomatoes to the pot. I sure hope it turns out okay…I figured since the bulk of the excess was undoubtedly tomatoes it would still be acidic enough. I hope it doesn’t taste like chopped tomatoes instead of salsa!
If you didn’t drain them at all, that would account for the difference. Draining thoroughly significantly improves the taste and thickness of the salsa.
Oh goodness! Well I hope I didn’t mess it up too much. I did drain the half I chopped in the food processor. The half I cut by hand I just poured off the juice from the cutting board prior to adding the tomatoes to the pot. The sample I had prior to processing them was yummy! We will find out when they cool.
Do you happen to know how runny or soupy the salsa is if you don’t use the ultra gel?
It depends on the water content of your tomatoes, and how much you drain them. Paste tomato varieties will give a less runny salsa. If you’ve had a lot of rain,odds are your salsa will be more watery, no matter how much you try and drain the tomatoes. The excess liquid will come out during processing.
Made your salsa with my daughter and we love it! Would it be okay if I shared a link to your recipe on my blog?
A link would be just fine. Glad you enjoyed the recipe.
just a quick question, with your recipe can canned whole or diced tomatoes be substituted for fresh tomatoes and still be safe to can?
I’ll be using a pressure canner but I can also use it like a water bath canner, does one process make it safer than the other?
Thank you for your time
You should be able to substitute canned diced tomatoes, but I would increase the weight because they are packed in liquid that should be strained off. Either water bath canning or pressure canning should work just fine.
ok, so I’m a little slow, drain the toms and increase the weight to match what the recipe calls for correct? I have a 6 lb can so im going to assume i’ll need more once drained …
sorry to bug you,…
I’ve never attempted to use canned tomatoes in the recipe, and can’t remember the last time I purchased store tomatoes, so I’m not sure how much liquid is in there in proportion to the fruit. My best guess to make this work would be to drain the tomatoes and then weigh them – but this would be a little high since the starting weight with raw tomatoes includes skins, seeds and excess juice that’s removed/drained off. Maybe around 16-80 pounds drained tomatoes? When I’ve drained my tomatoes after chopping, I end up with around 7 quarts in volume. There is no simple answer, unfortunately. If you give it a go, you may way to get pH strips to test the finished salsa and make sure the pH is below 4.6 for safe canning. If not, you could freeze, or add more vinegar.
I made some salsa using fresh tomatoes, followed a ‘tested’ recipe just like it said, filled the jars and left the same amount of head space as recommended .
I used the pressure canner and after the timer went off and the canner cooled (decompressed too) I pulled out the jars and noticed the head space was way bigger . I let them cool over night and now I see like moisture on the inside of the jars where the extra head space is. Is the salsa still safe to eat?
If the seal is still intact, the salsa should be safe. Sometimes during the canning process extra liquid is forced out of the jars. It happens. This is why I prefer flexible metal lids over the Tattler lids.
During processing, a vacuum is pulled in the headspace of the jar. This vacuum naturally pulls down the lid. (Giving us that distinctive “popping” noise when the jars seal.) On Tattler lids, you manually screw down the lids at the end of processing. This may create a false seal where the air in the headspace has not been properly evacuated, leading to food spoilage. More on that here – http://commonsensehome.com/comparison-of-jarden-and-tattler-lids/
Anyway, as long as you have a seal that you didn’t need to screw into place, you should be good.
Thank you for your response…. I used the kerr lids with rings, to be honest I don’t know what the other ones are… the lid is super tight, im storing them now and removed the rings..
I had some salsa left over and before it went into the pot I tasted it and it was really hot, after I simmered it and got it hot for jarring it got mild… bummer… still good but I was hoping it would keep the heat, especially since I used X hot Hatch peppers..
Thank you so much for your awesome advice…
If you make another batch, you can safely add a spoonful or two of dry spices (like cayenne powder) without affecting safe canning. Just something to keep in mind if you want more “oomph”.
Can this recipe safely be cut in half? I only have about 10 pounds of tomatoes and would like to attempt this recipe today. Thank you.
Sure, just mind your proportions.
You specify “sea salt”. Is this because you want the coarse grain salt, or could I easily substitute table salt? Thanks!
I prefer the flavor and trace minerals of sea salt, but you could use non-iodized table salt.
….or pickling salt. Table salt has anti-caking additives. Read the ingredients on your table salt, mine also says sugar. I Use pickling salt for everything I preserve.
Also, an added trick to speed up peeling tomatoes (and make it sooooo much easier) score an “X” on the bottom side of your tomato before blanching. After you cool it, you can peel it like a banana from the bottom.
Can I add fresh corn off the cob to this? I have it in the freezer.
Not if you want to can the finished salsa. If you add corn, you should freeze the salsa instead.
I am new to canning and am wondering if I can salsa, when I go to open it to eat do I have to heat it up for safety reasons or can I eat cold straight from the jar?
The acidity levels should keep it safe straight out of the jar. My youngest eats dozens of jars every year.
When I made salsa, I forgot to add the vinegar. Can I open all the jars, add the vinegar and then can again?
I would dump all the salsa back into a single pot, add the vinegar, and then can, to ensure it’s evenly mixed.
This home canned salsa recipe rates an “Awesome!” from friends and family alike. To keep the salsa “canning friendly”, it contains a higher proportion of tomatoes than most fresh salsa recipes, plus added vinegar to lower the pH. (More on Safe Salsas for Canning at the end of the post.)
The taste and texture of this salsa recipe is similar to a popular commercial brand we used to use, but canning with your fresh local produce at the peak of ripeness really makes the flavors sing.
Organic spices are great if you can get them. To me, the flavors and aromas seem more intense than their conventional counterparts. More grocery stores are starting to stock bulk organic spices, allowing you to stock up on a quality product at a great price, or you can buy them online.
Cilantro will give you a more authentic flavor, but my parsley grows much better than my cilantro, and I’m one of the people who think cilantro tastes like soap, so I usually use parsley.
You may use whatever sweet peppers you have on hand – red, yellow, green, orange, banana – just don’t exceed one cup chopped per batch. We used to use only one hot pepper when the kids were younger, now we use four. Meaty paste tomatoes are best, but slicing tomatoes will do in a pinch.
Home Canned Salsa Recipe
20-22 Pounds of Tomatoes
3 cups onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup celery, finely diced
1 cup assorted mild peppers, finely chopped
1 – 4 hot peppers, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon dried oregano leaf Buy oregano online.
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional) Buy cumin online.
1 cup 5% apple cider vinegar
3 6-ounce cans tomato paste (optional)
Blanch and skin the tomatoes. To blanch tomatoes, place them in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, until the skins start to split. As soon as the skins start splitting, remove the tomatoes and place them in a cold water/ice water bath. This stops the cooking so they don’t get mushy, and makes them cool enough to handle for peeling. Slip off skins.
A photo from several years ago, with my boys skinning tomatoes.
If you are working alone, you can squeeze the tomatoes and put them to drain in a colander while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. In our kitchen, the boys chop tomatoes while I prep the rest of the ingredients.
The boys, chopping tomatoes then and now.
I just ordered a new Victorio food strainer with the four piece accessory set (my older strainer is on it’s last leg), so I’m looking forward to trying out the salsa screen to see how well it works. (The kit also includes a grape spiral that I’m hoping will work for autumberries.) We made four batches of salsa this week, and if we get enough tomatoes I’d like to make four more this season, so that would be a real time saver.
To finish the tomato prep, dice the tomatoes into small chunks and place in colander to drain off excess juice. We prefer to scrape out most of the seeds and squeeze out excess juice for a thicker salsa. If desired, juice can be strained and drunk, or canned separately for later use.
Fresh garden produce, waiting to be processed into salsa.
Finely chop onions, garlic, cilantro (parsley), sweet and hot peppers.
Caution: Use gloves when handling and chopping hot peppers. I leave the hot peppers until last to minimize risk of spreading the hot pepper juice around my work area.
Prepare canning jars, two piece canning lids and water bath canner or pressure canner. Your canner will need time to heat up for processing.
Place all salsa ingredients except vinegar and Ultra Gel in a large stockpot. Dissolve Ultra Gel (if desired) in vinegar, add vinegar mix to stockpot. Mix salsa thoroughly.
The salsa mix with about half the tomatoes in.
Heat the salsa to a gentle simmer. There is no need to cook it; you just want to get hot enough for canning.
Ready for the canner!
Fill the jars with salsa, allowing 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims for any spills. Seat the lids and hand-tighten the rings around them.
To water bath can the salsa: Put the jars in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of water. Keep the water boiling. Process the jars in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes for 8 oz and pints and 20 minutes for quarts.
To pressure can the salsa: Fill canner with water according to manufacturer’s directions. Process the salsa at a pressure of 10 to 11 pounds, 10 minutes for pint jars and 15 minutes for quarts.
Makes around 12-13 pints.
Note: I usually run my jars through the dishwasher and try to time it so they are done and warm when I’m ready to fill jars. Never fill cold jars with hot salsa! The difference in temperatures may cause the glass to break.
What is Ultra Gel?
Ultra Gel is ultrafine cornstarch, which is used to thicken the salsa. It is now the preferred product for thickening when canning. I recently purchased Ultra Gel, which is GMO free. Clear Jel is a similar product. When I first made this recipe, it called for cornstarch, but Ultra Gel and Clear Jel are now recommended over corn starch for canning.
What Makes a Salsa Safe for Canning?
Want to learn about how to all the parts of a good salsa work together? The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service has put together a great explanation of all the ingredients that are typically used in a salsa, some sample recipes and what makes a recipe safe (or not safe) to can. Check it out at Safe Salsas for Canning.
You may also enjoy:
P.S. – My History With Canning Salsa
This post has been updated from a post originally published in 2009, which included more of my salsa canning fiascoes. For the curious, I’ve included part of that original post below.
The first time I canned homemade salsa (around 13 years ago, I think), I used recipes from the Ball Blue Book (one batch of each) and some “mild” Tam jalapeno peppers. Those “mild” peppers ate through two pairs of rubber gloves and filled the house with fumes so strong that I could hardly breathe and my husband started tearing immediately as he soon as he entered the house when he came from work. The salsa was thin and watery, strong on vinegar, and not too tasty. I gave up on salsa for quite a few years – I just couldn’t put myself through that again.
Enter older and wiser me, several years ago (2006?), now with close to an acre of garden after moving out to to the country, over 20 heavily producing tomato plants, and the awesome power of the internet. It was time to try again.
I started hunting around for recipes, and came up with several that looked promising, but the one I settled on was from PickYourOwn.org. I just checked the link, and they’ve changed the recipe that’s posted, but I’ll be sticking with the one I have. I’m so glad I saved it to my home computer. This makes a mild salsa, thick with tomatoes. In 2013, we made seven batches. The boys love salsa. They are much bigger now than when this post was first written.
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