My favorite recipe for canning salsa! Made from fresh ingredients this homemade salsa recipe is the best, using fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions, and Mexican spices. Canning salsa is so easy and this salsa recipe for canning is perfect for the beginner!
Homemade Salsa is perfect over this Breakfast Casserole or in this Dorito Taco Salad. There are so many ways to serve salsas like topping it over enchiladas, or fiesta potatoes, and adding it into chili for a quick meal. Add this sauce over chipotle-style burrito bowls with rice or dip it into plain corn tortilla chips for a snack–it’s a staple condiment to have on hand!
Salsa is a Mexican sauce ideally served as a dip for tortilla chips and other Mexican foods. However, don’t only think it’s good for tacos, chips, or burritos. You can easily stir salsa into soups, pack it into burritos, or cook it in meat dishes like salsa chicken. A sweet tomato-based fruit salsa like our Peach Mango Salsa is amazing in fish recipes like this Fish with Mango Salsa. Use salsa as the condiment to taco pizza, scrambled eggs, and marinades, it’s a must!
Canning Homemade Salsa:
This is the best salsa recipe for canning salsa! It’s so flavorful and the best part is that you could, can salsa fresh, and it can stay on the shelf all winter long! That means you can open a jar of salsa any time of the year thanks to this boiling water canning method.
Canning salsa is a smart method for food preservation and only requires a water bath thanks to the vinegar and acidic levels making it safe for water bath canning. This way it can stay on the shelf much longer without the need for refrigeration or pressure canning. This is ideal for preserving large amounts of salsa and is processed like the ball canning salsa recipe of 20 minutes.
I fell in love with this salsa recipe after my friend brought this jar of salsa to a church potluck paired with a breakfast casserole. Turns out she has been making this recipe for over 15 years and I get to share it with you! It’s my favorite of all the salsa recipes I have tried (and there were many from a Tostitos-style salsa to an easy Picante salsa) but this one is a keeper, 100%!
Best Tomatoes For Salsa:
The best “sauce tomato” is a plum tomato (like Roma, Amish Paste, or San Marzano) for its low seed status. However, any large homegrown tomato is good for making salsa. A high-yielding tomato from a single vine is ideal like an “early girl” variety or off-the-vine tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes are good for the home gardener as you can save the seeds from year to year as they are non-hybrid tomatoes. After all, nobody wants to deal with small cherry tomatoes for processing or canning so size up. Unripe green tomatoes are best for making salsa verde (a green salsa or tomatillo salsa.) Any average-sized red tomato is good for this red salsa when canning.
Types of Salsa:
What’s the difference between Pico de gallo vs salsa? Or maybe you’re wondering what Salsa Fresca is? Pico de gallo is a fresh sauce (meaning salsa Fresca) made from raw tomatoes. Whereas salsa is more of a canned condiment sauce. Restaurant-style salsa is generally made from pureed canned tomatoes and chiles whereas salsa ranchera is roasted tomato salsa. Each has its special umami flavor, but my favorite is salsa with fresh tomatoes like this canned salsa that you can store long!
The ingredients of salsa are pretty basic, you will need fresh tomatoes as your tomato base and lots of fresh green peppers and jalapenos. The type of chili pepper you use can vary in the spiciness as well as the stage it has ripened too. Generally, jalapeno peppers are milder than the Serrano pepper which is hot.
- Tomato base- start with plain tomatoes they can be fresh, canned or tomato juice in a bottle! Then towards the end, I like to add tomato paste as a thickener.
- Onions- use about 4-5 medium-large onions to make a quart of chopped onions. Use this pungent plant to flavor your sauce!
- Green Bell peppers- have no heat and are a “sweet pepper”. I like to use the green variety for making salsa it’s unripe and isn’t as sweet as the colored red or orange peppers.
- Hot peppers- have heat and can be very spicy depending on the chili pepper. I used homegrown jalapeno peppers (some red and others mostly green), however, for mild salsa use poblano peppers.
- Garlic- I like to use fresh garlic cloves as well as dried garlic in this recipe.
- Spices- I seasoned this Mexican salsa with garlic powder, salt, paprika, cumin, dried parsley, oregano, ground mustard, and chili powder. I will typically add fresh or frozen cilantro if I have any.
- Vinegar- white distilled vinegar is 5% acidic and great for making this sauce.
Note: for hot salsa use habanero or your favorite hot peppers.
How To Make Salsa:
You don’t need salsa classes to make a homemade salsa recipe for canning! This is how to make salsa at home easy! Begin by using quality fresh tomatoes and invest in a heavy-duty bottom stockpot. I like to use a 24-quart Stockpot that’s large enough to fit a bushel of tomatoes. Most average pots will only fit so many tomatoes so invest in a large stockpot for large quantities.
- Prepare fresh tomatoes- wash and trim any rough skins then quarter and place into a large stockpot.
- Blend the tomatoes with a stick blender once they are cooked down and get mushy. You can also use a blender to blend salsa in batches if you don’t have a hand blender.
- Add the onions, peppers, and spices until the salsa cooks down (about 1 hour.)
- Stir in the tomato paste to thicken the salsa.
- Pack and process in a water bath for 20 minutes.
Tip: you can cook salsa in a roaster overnight over low heat if you don’t wish to babysit the pot. Another tip is to pre-chop all the onions and peppers the night before for easy prep.
How Long is Salsa Good For?
After opening canned salsa it’s good for several months in the fridge. A canning salsa recipe with fresh tomatoes can be preserved if processed and sealed through a water bath. This canning process provides a shelf life of 1-5 years without refrigeration. To check if your salsa went bad in the fridge after opening, smell it and see if any mold grew on the surface. Typically, spoiled canned condiments smell sharp and strong in a bad way (kind of like a wild plant with a very sharp smell.) Discard if you see any white dots or mold on the surface.
Can You Freeze Salsa?
Homemade salsa is good for only a time if not processed in a water bath for canning. However, you can certainly freeze cooked and cooled salsa in freezer bags if you wish not to can. Freeze salsa in 2 cup increments for easy use. Generally, a bottle of store-bought Pace salsa is 16 oz, which is a good size for portioning out the salsa. Freezer salsa can keep up to 6 months in a deep freezer.
How To Can Salsa with Handy Equipment:
Salsa recipes are much easier to make with handy equipment. The two most important tools in this recipe for salsa are a heavy-duty pot and a blender. Here is everything you need:
- 24-quart Stockpot- is the same exact one I used for cooking the salsa.
- 42-quart Stockpot- is so handy when processing over a dozen jars at a time! It even comes with a heavy-duty wire rack!
- Hand Blender- works amazing for blending the tomato sauce in one pot!
- Pint Mason Jars are the perfect size to store salsa portions
- Jar lifter tongs and funnel-are super helpful and make canning safer.
Ways To Use Salsa:
This salsa canning recipe can be pulled off the shelf any time of the day for delicious snacks or side to a cooked meal! Here are delicious ways to serve salsa;
- Wrapped inside a homemade flour tortilla with black beans and rice.
- Chips and salsa
- Salsa chicken (basically salsa and chicken cooked slowly in a crockpot)
- Add corn, pineapple, or peaches for a sweet fruit-flavored salsa
- Over a Chipotle bowl or burrito
- Mix with sour cream for a Mexican dip.
- Top over chicken quesadillas or grilled meat.
A water bath in canning is when you heat a pot with water and jars to boiling point. Simply fill glass jars to the headspace and loosely cover with lids (don’t seal shut or else lids can bulge). Then place into a boiling water canner or large pot. Pour enough warm water to cover at least up to half, quart-sized jars. Bring this to a boil and time the water bath process from the time it boils. Once the jars are removed from the water, tightly seal each jar shut and allow to cool at least 24 hours before checking if they are sealed. I do not sterilize jars before canning if I am processing in a boiling water bath of 10 minutes or more. Anything under 10 minutes of processing should be sterilized, to do this you’d need to place empty jars and lids in boiling water for 10 minutes, then pack. Tomato is the fruit of a flowering plant from the Solanaceae plant family. It is rich in Vitamin C and high in lycopene which is a plant compound with many benefits. Along with the Capsicum species (bell peppers or chili peppers), they contain 94% water and are rich in Vitamin C and A.
What is a Water Bath?
Is it Necessary to Sterilize jars before Canning?
Is Salsa Healthy?
A water bath in canning is when you heat a pot with water and jars to boiling point. Simply fill glass jars to the headspace and loosely cover with lids (don’t seal shut or else lids can bulge). Then place into a boiling water canner or large pot. Pour enough warm water to cover at least up to half, quart-sized jars. Bring this to a boil and time the water bath process from the time it boils. Once the jars are removed from the water, tightly seal each jar shut and allow to cool at least 24 hours before checking if they are sealed.
I do not sterilize jars before canning if I am processing in a boiling water bath of 10 minutes or more. Anything under 10 minutes of processing should be sterilized, to do this you’d need to place empty jars and lids in boiling water for 10 minutes, then pack.
Tomato is the fruit of a flowering plant from the Solanaceae plant family. It is rich in Vitamin C and high in lycopene which is a plant compound with many benefits. Along with the Capsicum species (bell peppers or chili peppers), they contain 94% water and are rich in Vitamin C and A.
- Process in half pint jars for gifts.
- Freeze any salsa that did not seal properly.
- To make chunky salsa, don’t blend it smooth. You can also reserve 1/3 of the tomatoes and add them diced to the puree.
- Use a food processor to chop all the peppers and onions.
- Don’t make the mistake I did and please wear gloves when de-seeding jalapeno peppers. My hands were burning after I handled jalapeno peppers with my bare hands.
- If your hands do sting from chopping the jalapenos here are some jalapeno relief tips; rub your hands in oil, aloe vera, or dairy products to cool down the burning sensation. I’ve also found that placing your hands under cold running water helped too.
- Use a hand blender to puree fresh tomatoes and skip the blanching or the need for expensive equipment like a food mill.
- Our easy salsa recipe is one of the best because you do not need to de-seed the tomatoes. The pulpy flesh and seeds all stay in the sauce and create optimum flavor. Using a blender makes a thicker pulp.
- To test if your canning seal has formed, you will want to push down on the center of the lid after 24 hours. If the lid pops up and down it has not been sealed. Any kind of clicking sound is a sign the air was not vacuumed shut by the water bath process. In this case, you will need to refrigerate it or freeze it.
- Salsa is safe to can in a boiling water bath if the pH acidic level is high. Tomatoes are generally considered a high acid food item with a pH below 4.6. Safely canning ripe or underripe tomato varieties requires additional acid for water bath processing which is included in this recipe for homemade salsa.
- Use pickling salt, pure sea salt, or salt with no additives for successful canning.
How To Can Salsa:
Recipe for Canning Salsa
- 1 24-quart stockpot
- 1 42-quart stockpot (for water bath)
- 1 hand blender (to make tomato pulp)
- 14 pint jars
- 12.5 pounds fresh tomatoes (or 5 quarts of thick tomato juice blended from fresh or canned tomatoes)
- 1 quart chopped onions (about 4 large white onions)
- 1 quart chopped green bell peppers (about 4-5)
- 1 quart chopped hot peppers (jalapeño peppers)
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 21/2 cups white distilled vinegar
- 24 oz tomato paste
- 4 tsp garlic powder
- 4 Tbsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp paprika
- 1/2 cup dried parsley
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- To make tomato juice wash, trim, and quarter tomatoes. Transfer to a large stockpot and bring to a boil. When the tomatoes are mushy blend with a hand blender until smooth.
- Add the chopped onions, green peppers, hot peppers, fresh garlic, and spices. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce the heat and simmer for an hour.
- Stir in the vinegar and tomato paste. Add the fresh cilantro and bring to a boil. Stirring occasionally.
- Pour into jars and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
- I chopped all my peppers and onions in a food processor.
- Use gloves to handle hot peppers, it will prevent your hands from a burning sensation afterward.
- For Hot Salsa use spicy chili peppers like jalapenos or serrano peppers.
- For Milder Salsa use poblano peppers.