how to make salsa


The first time I ever had this salsa, I was in the North Woods on vacation and Mi-uss Vicki (as my Southern self calls her) brought this to the cabin for our snacking pleasures.  I was smitten and determined to never let a summer go by without canning salsa up a storm.   This year, I had some stellar help in the sweat shop.  It was a virtual tomato fest all day long and we passed the time with Ralph Stanley the Clinch Mountain Boys and their banjos and fiddles.  It was a toe-tapping good time.    You can’t have my lovely help but I will share the recipe!

Don’t be scared off by the ‘canning’ part.  You don’t need a big pressure cooker or canner for this recipe.  Almost every jar seals just by the heat of the salsa and the one that doesn’t will be perfect for eating (soon) or sharing.  Or putting in the fridge if you possibly have that much will power.

Put whole tomatoes in boiling H20 a few min; then peel off skin.

16c.chopped tomatoes

2c. green peppers

2c. onions

3 jalapeno peppers

6 garlic cloves/chopped

11/2 T. salt

1T. pepper

3T. chili powder

3T. sugar

1/2c. lemon juice

1/2c. vinegar

Simmer:30-40 min.

To thicken I put in 1 sm. Cans of tomato paste.

You can adjust the jalapeños for your own heat level.  We made a hot version and used 5 peppers per batch!

Simmer 30-40 minutes.

Makes approx: 5 1/2 qts.


I can’t exactly remember how many tomatoes it takes to make a batch of this but it’s probably close to 16 med/large tomatoes.

If your jars are clean and warm/hot, the jars will seal without doing a water bath.  My jars weren’t even warm and all sealed minus one, which was perfect for eating the fruits of our well-earned labor!  If you’re a little more precise and OCD than me, than by all means you can boil them in jars to ensure sealing.  They sometimes won’t seal until 12-24 hours later but if they don’t seal, make sure and eat or refrigerate!

Happy canning and hope your week is full of lots of homemade joy!

To find other recipes, visit my recipes page!

If you’re interested in joining our new classical book club, check out the new forum!  We are reading The Odyssey for September!

79 comments on “How to Make Salsa (for canning)”

  1. Is it safe without the water bath? can it get contaminated? looks wonderful but the acid in tomotoe’s can make one very sick if it doesn’t seal correctly.

  2. This makes my mouth water just reading it. I’m a salsa-addict 🙂 Here’s hoping my mother-in-law will make salsa again for us this year! (Because that would be easier than doing it myself. . .)

    • You just made my day, Emily! Thanks for the tips about BHG! They’re coming in September so at least we have a firm date. Plenty of time to be nervous:))))

  3. Oh yummy! I’m like Emily…my mouth is watering reading the recipe. I’ve never tried to make homemade salsa…I’ll have to give it a try. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. So how long can you store them? Looks like you made a million cans. Great Christmas gift idea with a green bow attached. Lori

  5. Sounds so yummy!! Can’t wait to pick up tomatoes at the farmer’s market and try some of this.
    How was your trip?? You must have had a fabulous time. I looked at the links and everything looked beautiful!!

  6. Oh how I love homemade salsa. Nothing store bought can compare. I will definitely try your recipe. The recipe I use ( I suppose you could can this as well ) is 1 can of whole tomatoes, 1 can of Rotel, 1 onion chopped, 1 bunch of cilantro chopped. Place all in a blender and blend. Add salt as needed. It’s so yummy.

  7. Can’t wait to make salsa this week! Thanks for the recipe. I think this is very close to the one I have and it IS delicious! I freeze mine since I’ve never canned before, but might look up how to do the water bath!

  8. Instead of boiling the tomatoes before peeling the skins, try roasting them under the broiler until the skins brown. Just core them and cut them in half, then lay skin side up on a baking sheet. Include some of the brown bits in the salsa for a yummy roasted tomato taste!

  9. I’ve canned salsa for a while and all of my research says that it must be boiled in a water bath. I wanted to pass along this information to you and your readers. While you may have never gotten sick by not putting your salsa in a water bath – it’s still possible and to be on the safe side it’s just a 15 minute quick boiling process in any big pot (you do not need to purchase a fancy canning pot).

    I also found this: “The USDA says the only change you can safely make in this salsa recipe is to change the amount of spices and herbs. Do not alter the proportions of vegetables to acid and tomatoes because it might make the salsa unsafe.”

    I love canning…in fact I’ve found a new favorite recipe – it’s pear and vanilla jam. AMAZING. If you are looking for something else to can you should google that recipe.

    • I just found this blog post and I’m so relieved that someone corrected the misconception that one can seal jars with just a hot product. The salsa MUST be canned in a water bath canner. Please see the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

  10. Edie, I hope to make salsa very soon, so I’m so glad to have caught this post! I also wanted you to know that when I made pickles and pickled carrots (dilled) a while back, I also did it without boiling. I put on the lids, put them all on the counter upside down on a bath towel, and then put another thick folded towel on top and tucked it all in. I heard it helped with the sealing process by keeping it hot longer. That’s really great for pickles that aren’t cooked (as they stay extra crunchy!).

    Best to you!! (Wish I lived closer so I could swing by your place for that java, but alas, Nova Scotia is just a tad too far!)

  11. This recipe looks great! I just wanted to add to the comment made by Bethany. The purpose of canning in a water bath is not just to seal the jars but to kill off any botulism spores that may exist and therefore grow in your salsa (or whatever you may be canning). Therefore, you do indeed need to water bath can this. But yes – you don’t need a fancy canner (though they’re only $20) but you can do it in a large pot with something to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot so they don’t crack. I know someone who just used an upside down pie tin on the bottom. Again, thanks for the recipe!

  12. I’m making my second batch of your salsa thanks to a bumper crop of jalapeño peppers and tomatoes from my lovely neighbor! I’m loving all the phenomenal Southern hospitality of our current duty station here in Tennessee-one of the fabulous perks of being a Navy wife! I did however add a handful of fresh cilantro. After being stationed in Sunny Southern California for 6 years, I can’t imagine salsa without cilantro 🙂

  13. I always make homemade salsa almost every day for my husband who is mexican and so am I, I have always wanted to can my salsa, but I do not add sugar, vinegar or lemon juice to mine, my question is it necessary to add this to the salsa when you can, I have noticed in store bought salsas they have these ingredients too and truly authentic Mexican salsa doesn’t have this and that is why I have avoided canning it. I also make homemade enchilada sauce too but I usually freeze it because I don’t want to add those ingredients also.

    Please advise anyone

    • Noelia,

      I’ve been doing some research, and it seems like the vinegar and/or lemon juice is to help preserve. If you’re going to eat the salsa quickly, it probably wouldn’t hurt to leave it out. If you want your salsa to store properly (and healthily), you’ll want to leave in the vinegar/lemon juice.

      Good luck!

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