May 28, 2024

Homemade Salsa and Canning Tips

It’s canning time again! A good friend from church passed along two big bags of tomatoes, so this morning I lugged my canning supplies down from attic storage and like a kid on Christmas morning, I dug into it. Exciting to find extra boxes of canning flats (lids) which means I can swing that many more pints or quarts than I originally thought!

The only disappointment I experience is slight regret that we haven’t been able to replace the dishwasher that quit on me…however long ago that was (last summer?). Dishwashers are so good for disinfecting jars and rings and keeping your jars on the hot side, which is a requirement when filling with hot salsa. But then, I’m always bragging about how much I love the simple, old-fashioned life, so here’s my chance to put my words into practice!

Nothing like canning to heat up a kitchen! Every burner is busy on my stove…one canner full of cold water and clean jars that can heat up together (ta-da: hot jars ready to fill)…one saucepan with lids and rings keeping hot…one kettle with boiling water to dip tomatoes in before their plunge into chilled water (skin just slips off)…and another kettle handy into which I’ll pour the hot water from the canning jars once I’m ready to exchange their H2O for salsa!

I’d be remiss here if I didn’t recommend the Ball Blue Book Guide to Home Canning, Freezing and Dehydration. Ever want to make Kiwi Jam? Pickled Okra? Peach Butter? This book is a homemaker’s dream. I’d think every woman should have a copy, not knowing what the future holds for our country. I’m not going Y2K on you, just advocating preparedness.

Never canned before? Find a Farm and Ranch Supply store and browse that aisle. You’ll see many tools of the trade. Besides canners, there are jar lifters (a must), wide-mouthed funnels (another must) and magnetic lid/ring lifters (not so necessary, I use a fork and quick fingers to lift mine from the hot saucepan). If you’d rather, just browse canning tools and supplies online…you’ll get hooked, I promise!

The following salsa recipe was one of my top hits last year, though it doesn’t have the hundreds of comments that the Amish Friendship Bread has to show for its popularity. I thought I’d repost it here today. My dh and I think it tastes a lot like the salsa at Carlos O’ Kelly’s, a popular Mexican restaurant here in the midwest.

Mary’s Mild Salsa–makes 10 pints

22 tomatoes (I put in twice as many if they’re on the small-to-medium side)
4 bell peppers, chopped fine
3 onions, chopped fine
1 cup vinegar
3/4-1 cup jalepeno peppers, chopped fine
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
1 cup (12 oz) tomato paste (I omit this)
Cilantro to taste
3 cloves garlic minced

After getting skin off tomatoes (dip in boiling water 20 seconds, then into cold–skin falls off), put 2/3 of them in blender and blend. Chop the rest of them (if you have a good blender you can blend all veggies together, we like it chunky) and put all ingredients into pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes. Use a ladle and funnel to fill hot jars with salsa, leaving 1 inch headspace. Slip a plastic knife or other non-metal straight object along sides of jar to release any bubbles. Wipe jar rim with clean washcloth for a good seal. Apply lid and ring and put jar into canner. It will be fine as you continue filling pints/quarts till canner is full. Water bathe pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 20.

Some people like to buy salsa “mix” at Wal Mart. I did this one year, and though the label said “mild” it wasn’t! That was a huge waste of my time and tomatoes, not nearly as good as homemade with all the fresh veggie additions and I was the only one who could handle the “heat”. So be warned.

If you want pictures and another recipe, this site has great pictures.

Well, I’m off…

Just two things:

Don’t forget that the Carnival of Modesty deadline is this Friday, August 3rd! Follow this link to submit and join the fun!

Be on the look-out this week, I have a wonderful author interview to post from friend and fellow homeschooler, Amy Wallace. She graciously shared how she schedules everything in, and her favorite curriculums, all in all it’s a very encouraging and uplifting read! As is her book Ransomed Dreams. If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?

100 thoughts on “Homemade Salsa and Canning Tips

  1. Mary, if I could I would send you so many veggies! We have two patients in our office who have huge gardens and they bring us bags of tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, black-eyed peas, okra, squash etc!

    Where do you find the energy kiddo?

  2. Well, honey, its mid afternoon now and I’d LOVE to step into your kitchen and get a whiff of your salsa. Do I get to have a jar? Yum. I’ve got my egg rolls underway for Saturday. Love, Mom

  3. yep our dishwasher quit a few months ago too and I think I’ve gotten use to hand washing again now, it’s not so bad, I just make the water extra hot to make sure everything is properly washed and clean. btw that recipe sounds delish! 🙂

  4. Leticia, I’d love that, wow. Nice of your patients to share their bounty! As for energy…I’m wishing for a back rub this very minute! 😉

    Mom, sure you can have a jar! Mmm…it turned out good! Can’t wait to try your eggrolls, and I forgot to tell you I have a huge mini-muffin pan in addition to the one I mentioned. Do you want both? Let me know.

    Ya know, Amy, at least you’re heading into winter there in NZ. I didn’t mind hand-washing at all during the cold months. But during summertime…I’ve even broken down and bought paper plates a time or two! Shocked? I seem to remember a post I wrote about that a long time ago…lol.

  5. Mary, you amaze me! I canned a few times when I was a kid and I seem to remember it being difficult. Nowadays I’m afraid I’ll induce botchulism or something! I’d love to learn how properly. And I’m with you on the preparedness thing.

  6. Georgiana, I watched my mom and sisters can once in a while, and as a newlywed my oldest sis and I navigated canning our first salsa with fear and trepidation. I’ve since realized it’s not that tricky of a process. It helped immensely that one of my best homeschooling friends is a pro and has shared her tips, plus several canning sessions, with me. I’d recommend finding someone who is good at it, and getting your feet wet with them first, then going for it. It is a lot of work, but so rewarding, especially if you share the job with another canning friend.

    It’s an initial expense but you can reuse your jars and rings each year, the only expense being canning flats, which aren’t that much money.

    I find it far more amazing the gardening women out there that have such green thumbs! I’m very envious… 🙂 I’m still working on becoming a successful gardener!

  7. Mary, my mom was big on canning. She always got excited when she heard the jars “ping” when they sealed. I enjoy gardening, but have to admit, I’m scared of the canner! I may work up the nerve one of these days and try it. It sure is worth it when you get a taste of summertime in the dead of winter.

  8. Susie, your last 8 words said it so well! As with anything, it only takes a few tries to feel much more at ease when canning. I’d like to learn how to use a pressure canner next.

  9. what am I doing wrong? when I do tomatoes in the hot water bath, the tomatoes seeme to float up and liquid one the bottom. I don’t know what I am doing wrong.
    thanks in advance

  10. Hi Barbara, you probably aren’t doing anything wrong, I’ve had that happen before with stewed tomatoes. It’s more obvious with the “chunky” stuff. Did your jars seal with a ping, you can’t push down on the lid and dent it in, can you?

    They are probably just fine. I know when I’ve packed a jar with pears, and haven’t filled it completely full, the liquid “space” at the bottom is really noticeable.

    Hope this helps!

  11. Mary – That salsa recipe sounds AWESOME! I am just wondering, how did you come by the time for processing quarts of salsa? All my recipes are for pints only, and I’m hesitant to do salsa quarts without a for-sure safe time! I’m doing green enchilada sauce tonight, and had to do them all in pints!

    Thanks so much!!

    Tracey Roberts

  12. Hi Tracey, your green enchilada sauce sounds yummy! As for your question, I’ve processed my salsa in quarts successfully for several years now, but in deference to your question, I “googled” it and most sources said the same thing, to process pints for 15 and quarts for 20 minutes.

    HTHs, and good luck!

  13. Here is a canning tip that i have used for years that may help- i set my oven on 250, put my jars on a cookie sheet and place in the oven until the jars are warm, then i pour the salsa into the jars and place lids and rings on, i then place them back on the cookie sheet and place them in the oven for around 10 minute. I have never had a jar that did not seal and it is sooo much easier than the old way.

  14. Pressure canner for use in the home were extensively. Pressure canner is needed if you want to can low-acid foods such as red meats, sea food, poultry, milk, and all fresh vegetables with the exception of most tomatoes and you definitely need a pressure canner for anything containing any meat. Home canning of meats is even recommended, even with a pressure canner. Find out more about pressure canner, pressure canning, pressure canner cooker and anything about pressure canner. You also can find product about pressure canner at my blog.. Thanks again and have a good day.. (‘,’)

    Pressure Canner

    Pressure Canner’s last blog post..How to Pressure Canner Cook and Can Salmon to Get Soft Edible Bones (Pressure Canner)

  15. Pressure Canner is a great way to lower your food bill and feed your family, because of that pressure canner is use in the home were extensively. Pressure canner is needed if you want to can low-acid foods such as red meats, sea food, poultry, milk, and all fresh vegetables with the exception of most tomatoes and you definitely need a pressure canner for anything containing any meat. Home canning of meats is even recommended, even with a pressure canner. So, i have some info and products about pressure canner, pressure canning, pressure canner cooker and more that i could be able to share with you if you have it 😀

    Pressure Canner

    Pressure Canner’s last blog post..How to Pressure Canner Cook and Can Salmon to Get Soft Edible Bones (Pressure Canner)

  16. If the jars don’t seal in a water bath, can you do it a second time? May sound like a stupid question but this is my first time to try canning.

  17. Welcome to canning, first timer! It’s so rewarding, and good for you for taking the plunge!

    I’ve never had a jar not seal, so I did some internet sleuthing to find the answer to your question. Everywhere I checked said it was fine if your lids didn’t seal, to remove them, put a fresh lid on and do the water bath procedure over again. OR, if it’s just one jar, you could stick it in your refrigerator and use it up soon. One reason lids don’t seal is if you haven’t wiped the jar rim down with a clean wet washcloth prior to putting the flat lid on top. This needs to be done AFTER filling the jar with your salsa. Another reason could be if you are using recycled jars, and the rims are chipped…they need to be smooth and like new. And don’t forget to stick a plastic knife or something non-metal down in the jar to release the air bubbles after you’ve filled your jars! Wikipedia has a good article, you might want to read it.

    Happy Canning, and feel free to ask away if you have any more Q’s! I probably won’t be on again today until tonight though…


  18. Sure, Jill, I’m glad to share the link…having posted it here before…it’s actually a Taste of Home recipe for Strawberry Lemonade that my friend tweaked into a peach treat! We MUCH prefer the peach lemonade version, it’s amazing! Follow this link and you’ll find it. Also, I have a search feature on the sidebar if you want to find anything else in particular, or you can check out my recipes in the “Cooking and Food” category. I only post our family favorites here…


  19. Do you have a recipe for salsa that doesn’t use hot peppers, I’m looking for something that is a little more mild. I know your not suppose to change recipes when your canning. Is it ok to leave the peppers out or do you need them for the acid.


  20. Hi Brenda! You can use this recipe and eliminate the hot peppers…the tomatoes provide adequate acidity. In fact, I’ve done similar tweaks to the recipe when I wanted more of a “stewed tomato” result. Good luck!


  21. re Jennifer suggestion.


    I took a Master Home Preserver course from the local extension office. One thing people don’t seem to understand is the difference between a “sealed” jar and a “canned” jar.

    ANY jar of hot food with a sound, dry, chip-free lip and a new lid put on it will normally SEAL. The heat will cause the compound to soften and when the pressure in the jar drops as the food cools, the lid will “ping” and the jar is SEALED. That does NOT mean the food is “safe”. All it means is that the mechanical part of “sealing” has been done. This does NOT mean that there is no bacteria in the food, only that the jar lid is “glued” to the jar itself. Which means that any bacteria that is anaerobic (doesn’t need oxygen)can multiply and poison you. Can we all spell botulism? These types of instructions are what give canning its bad name. People think the jar is “canned” after all, the lid “pinged” and then eat food that makes them sick.

    CANNING is where you prepare food, put it in a jar, put a hot lid on a hot, sterilized jar and then HEAT THE FOOD IN THE JAR in a canner or pressure canner for a specific amount of time and in a specific way so that any bacteria that was in the food is killed. Acidic food can be “water bathed”, any other foods need to be pressure canned with a pressure CANNER, not a pressure COOKER. (a big difference having to do with size of pot and amount of time not being correct for “caning” in a cooker.)

    Water boils at 212 degrees, but it takes either an acid environment OR 240-260 degrees to kill some types of common bacteria, bacteria that are found in the normal environment that doesn’t hurt us as long as the bacteria has to deal with oxygen. However, when we seal a jar, then the oxygen is gone and the bacteria multiplies and when it does, it excretes toxins. It’s not the bacteria that kills or sickens you, it’s the toxins that the bacteria releases. The only way to get water above 212 deg. is to put it under pressure – hence pressure canning.

    Remember that we put meat in a 350 degree oven for several hours and only have meat that gets to about 190 degrees. Stuff put in a 250 degree oven for 10 mins doesn’t get even CLOSE to 212 degrees, unless it was put in boiling first. But that STILL doesn’t do the trick. Remember that in a water bath, 212 deg water is under, around and over the jars for 20-30 MINUTES FOR ACID foods ONLY. You should not even think about water bathing non-acid foods. Here again, yes, you CAN make the lids “ping”, but it’s STILL NOT safe!

  22. Mary you sound like a good canner. Today I made my first ever canned salsa. I came up with my own salsa recipe and it is very similar to yours. I noticed that you talked about a 1″ head space all the other recipe’s have a 1/2″ head space. I may have confused that with the 1″ of water over jars in the hot bath.
    My big canning is bread & butter pickles and refrigerator garlic dills.
    Also I love to make about 3-1/2 gallons of marinara sauce to use in the winter. I try to use my garden tomatos and peppers and fresh spices.

    1. Congrats on the success of your first salsa! I haven’t made my first batch this season yet, as our garden tomatoes are just now redding up in droves! Yum! I have some cukes in the fridge awaiting bread and butter canning tomorrow, hopefully! ;O) Would love to have your marinara sauce recipe! Sounds fabulous, as anything made with fresh garden produce does! Here’s to plenty more canning this fall!

  23. I have a question about canning salsa. I have a really good but simple recipe to make fresh salsa but I don’t cook anything. It’s all just chopped up and mixed together with a little bit of oil and vinegar. It’s normally gone in a few days. I would like to can this salsa. Do I have to cook the ingredients when I can salsa or can I put it in the can fresh?


    1. Barb, wish I knew…with canning, I always try to go with “tried and true” resources, like the Ball’s Book of Canning. You could google it on the net, you might get some answers. If this helps, you can’t taste the vinegar at all. My guess…is that you could sub lemon juice for it, but you need to verify it. Don’t want you getting botulism on my watch! Good luck!

  24. I have found and used this recipe to make 4-5 batches of salsa. My husband loves it! I hope I have made enough to last through the winter. This site is on my favorites list so I can go back and reference it. Thanks!!

  25. Mary you have a GREAT recipe and I LOVE IT i also have a great veggi soup recipe……its great on cold winter nights.

  26. Hi Mary! I just started canning last year and my 11 yr old grandaughter came to stay with us for 2 weeks and she ‘helped’ me. haha But we had fun! And it turned out pretty well…my husband actually took some orders from (he builds new homes) work clients and we sold lots! This recipe sounds really good and I have been trying a few new recipes this year and planting lots of Romas and peppers for this summer. I tried that Walmart kind first last year and it was awful(I agree).Thanks!

    1. I love this recipe, and have had several friends taste it and beg the recipe. The only thing I should add to this post, is that you want to check your hot peppers for spiciness. Sometimes I add way less than this recipe calls for, b/c some peppers are HOT-diggities!!! And then my family can’t handle/enjoy the salsa! Also, if you don’t have “paste” tomatoes (like Romas) on hand, you’ve got to use the can of tomato paste or your salsa will be runny…like you, I’m going to plant more Romas next summer. They thicken up so nicely in salsa and tomato sauces.

      That is so funny about the Walmart salsa. Let everyone be WARNED! ;O) Thanks for commenting, Texsara! Happy canning to you!

    1. Hi Kendra,
      The name of your site intrigues me, I’m going to have to hop over for a visit! Hope you enjoy the salsa as much as we do. We enjoyed our last quart of it a few days ago… :O( I’ll have to make even MORE this harvest! ;O) This year I even planted paste tomatoes (for thicker salsa) and cilantro–but the bunnies are eating my cilantro. Grr.

      Thanks for commenting!

  27. Hi Mary,

    Do you use canning salt with this receipe?
    This is my attempt at canning!

    1. I’m thinking I used normal salt in this recipe, but canning salt would be fine!

      Hope it turns out great for you, Tiffanny!

  28. Hi Mary, I am fairly new at canning like did my first canning last week. It has been very addicting. I have canned pickled okra(southern thing) and some candied jelapenos. I have been looking for a great salsa recipe and I think your sounds AWESOME. What kind of tomatoes did you use? My father in-law as a great garden but i dont think he grew any romas. can I use another kind of tomatoe? You mentioned in your recipe that you used 22 tomatoes but double if they were small to medium. Approximately how many pounds do you think you used for your pints. Victoria from down south

  29. another question our family tends to enjoy a spicer salsa. What is your advise on making your recipe a bit spicer. Thanks…victoria

    1. Hi Victoria!
      Guess what? We love pickled okra here in the midwest, too! In fact, I still have a dozen jars in my pantry from last year’s garden! Mmm! And I agree, canning is very addicting, and so rewarding in the middle of winter. Tomato sauces especially taste summer garden fresh even months later. We’ve run out of salsa, and my garden tomatoes aren’t ready to go yet. :O( Can’t wait!

      Okay, to answer your questions…in the past, I’ve used every kind of tomato and the salsa tastes great! However, the recipe calls for tomato paste to use as a thickening agent, otherwise, your salsa will be too runny. A way to get around that this year (I’m hoping!) is by using paste tomatoes, not exclusively, but along with the other tomatoes called for in the recipe. Otherwise, if you don’t have access to paste tomatoes, and you want thicker salsa, just use a can of Contadina tomato paste from the grocery store. It will do the trick. :O)

      As far as making it spicier, just keep adding more chopped jalapenos and taste test as you go. On the pounds of tomatoes needed…I have no idea. I always guesstimate by counting them out and haven’t weighed them. 22 tomatoes the size of a large orange (not large as in a grapefruit, but not small). If you don’t have tomatoes that size, then just use 44 half that size. How’s that for scientific? Maybe this year I’ll weigh mine before processing, if I can remember!

      Have fun, and I hope it turns out great!


  30. Sounds like a great recipe! I’m going to be making my first attempt at salsa, but was wondering what type of vinegar. White or apple cider? Thanks so much! Wish me luck . . .

  31. Hi Mary! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! My husband LOVES Carlos O’Kelly’s salsa, and so I was quite pleased to find a canning version! I just made 7 pints and I am finishing up one last pint and a quart as we speak. Like so many who have posted, I am also new at canning (made 4 pints of pickled banana peppers this week and that was my first time). All my cans of peppers sealed, so I am hoping for the same luck with the salsa! My salsa was a bit runny. I used the 22 tomatoes you called for, but only 6 were Roma (paste). It’s okay, though…we don’t mind runny and it was a learning experience. Wondering if you have any other canning recipes for tomatoes? I do not have a pressure canner yet only a water bath. I was hoping to try to my hand at a pizza/spaghetti sauce. Have you any experience or advice? Thank you for your blog!!


    1. Hey there, fellow midwesterner!

      I will try to post a pizza sauce recipe tomorrow! Running late on time tonight, but wanted to answer this. So glad you are venturing forth into canning! Another great recipe I love, is in the Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving, it’s “Tomatoes and Okra”. We aren’t really huge okra fans here, so I made this last year just to use some of it up in something besides pickled okra…and it became a huge favorite. It’s wonderfully thick (due to the okra) and has a delicious flavor…it’s hard for me to even detect that there is okra in it. Loved it added to stove-top skillet dishes. HTHs! Off to feed my ravenous dh!

  32. Mary…if salsa is still a little to runny, try adding a tablespoon of cornstarch…works everytime…also if folks don’t care for the jalapenos, try using tablespn of chili powder…gives a zingy flavor….thanx..& regards!

    1. Wonderful, Kristi! I’m glad to hear it was such a hit! I’ll mosey on over and take a peek! Thanks for the hat tip! ;O)

      Thanks for the great tips, Sue!

  33. I canned some salsa today and I used half vinegar and half lemon juice both in the same recipe without knowing if is okay… is that safe to do?

  34. I was hoping to can salsa this year but am having trouble finding the kind of recipe I want that includes black beans & corn. Do you think I could add some fresh frozen corn kernels and a rinsed can of black beans and other wise ‘tweak’ this great recipe and it would still can ok..?
    Thanks for your help!

    1. Tami…I do know that you need the vinegar…oops! Your salsa would not be safe to consume according to what I’ve heard. :O( I’m so sorry!!

      Maria…that might be safe, but I’m not going out on a limb to say it is. You better ask an expert on that one. I know this recipe that I have posted on my blog is safe…when followed exactly, but beyond that, I have no help!

      DeRonda, I’ve never done that but it sounds delicious. Try looking in a Ball’s Blue Book of Canning and Preserving for a recipe like that. They are safety tested and reliable and have a ton of great canning recipes!

  35. i have your recipe down to a science but along with your set up i added a lrg. bowl with a strainer on top- i sqeeze all the tomatoes until most of the seeds come out and add a 6 oz can of paste. there is still plenty of juice still in the tomatoes as evidenced when processed. All that juice is saved and frozen and used later for soups, stews and sauce. As for heat i use 2 jalapeno and 2 anaheim and this is mild, 1 more of each is medium. When i make this its more like 8 quarts for me–its been a very good year for tomatoes.
    thank you so much for sharing such a good recipe, i’ve made 5 batches so far.

    1. Wow! Love this info, Elise! Thanks bunches for taking the time to share it here. Alas, this was not a great year for tomato plants in my neck of the country…I planted 40 tomato plants, and though my cherry and grape toms did well, my larger tomatoes did not. So we had a lot of little tomatoes to munch on and have in salads and a few for slicing. I am glad to have this info here b/c next year’s garden will be better…hopefully…and I’m definitely trying the strainer idea!


  36. Made your salsa last night… Wow what fun to hear the jars ping… It was my first time canning and my boyfriend and I had a blast.
    I added 2 Tablespoon Cumin and 3 Bunches of Cilantro to the recipe along with 6-8 banana peppers… and used all 3 colors of bell peppers. My salsa is a hit at work today and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your tips and receipe. Looking forward to making some pumpkin bread next! Dawn

  37. Salsa is soo good the only problem is it can cost quite a bit if you buy it regularly at your local grocery store. Thanks for providing this recipe for salsa, making your own is a great thing to do!

    1. You are so welcome! I keep checking my tomato plants, got some large green tomatoes…no color yet! Come on July! Love this time of year!!! :O)

  38. Just wanted to let you know this is the third year we are using your recipe for salsa! We absolutley LOVE it! I had one person tell me it was *so good makes my tounge stand up and slap my brain!* It is a wonderful addition to make for the canning season. Thank you so much for sharing your delightful recipe!

    1. Thank YOU so much for coming back to tell me! I love that line…brain-slapping good! ;O) My tomatoes are beginning to kick into gear here, so out comes my salsa recipe either today or tomorrow!

    1. Ooh, sorry! Next time, just add your jalapenos a couple at a time to the rest of the ingredients and taste test to see how spicy you want to go. It won’t ruin the recipe to cut way back on jalapenos. In fact, I only had two jalapenos when I was ready to can salsa this summer…and I got a very mild but delicious salsa. So my advice is just to play around with the right amount for your family. HTHs!

  39. made the salsa tonite left out the jalapenos ( can’t have anything spicy!) added cilantro and extra bell and banana peppers. It is wonderful, not spicy, more like pico

  40. I think a few you the above folks might want to read these canning safety guidelines before doing much canning of salsa, there are some acidity issues that keep it safe. For instance, you don’t want to change the amount of vinegar or lime juice, or reduce the number of peppers – substitute milder peppers instead. Check out this link:

    Can’t wait to try your mild recipe! Salsa is usually always too hot for me!

    1. Thanks Melissa! Always want to promote safety in canning here, so this link is really helpful. Thankfully I’ve never had a problem, healthwise or spoilage wise, with our salsa and I play with it quite a bit. But God might have been graciously protecting me too! ;O) We absolutely love this salsa recipe! So glad it’s a good tomato year, in our area anyway!

  41. Mary!
    Thanks a lot ftom Russia!
    I made 9 galons (!!! :D) of your salsa for our family for the winter time. We have the organic vedgetabls’ time right now in July, and at this time we usualy canning and preserve some of them. Thank you for the reciepe.

    1. Hi there, Anna-from-Russia! Wow, so neat to hear from someone halfway around the world. 9 whopping gallons?!?! I’m impressed beyond measure. Way to go. That is a lot of work…seems like it takes heaps of tomatoes just to get a canner full. I’m canning tomatoes right now too…usually they aren’t ready till August here, but we’ve had such extremely hot temps, and a very early mild spring, so that all the veggies are really needing harvested about a month earlier than normal.

      Thanks for taking the time to let me know someone in Russia is getting some good out of the blog! ;O) Have a happy week!


  42. Quick question – can you distilled vinegar or should it be cider vinegar or does
    it matter? Thanks in advance for your advice!! Can’t wait to make my salsa!!!

    1. Hi DeAnn,
      Okay, I’m probably not qualified to answer this as far as “canning safety” goes, so you might want to research it more on the net…but I have used white distilled vinegar before in a pinch, and we’ve yet to get sick from ANY batches of salsa or anything else that I’ve canned in all the years we’ve been canning. I prefer to use the cider vinegar tho.

      HTHs, and good luck!

  43. You may sub lemon juice for vinegar but not the other way around, as lemon juice has a higher acidity than vinegar. 🙂

    1. Thanks Jennifer and Sarah for the great answers on the lemon juice question! I am glad to know this as well. :O)

      April, enjoy it as soon as you want to after it’s canned…you can even enjoy it fresh before canning it. By the way, one of my favorite fresh “salsa” recipes is, I guess, more of a relish, but we love it with chips…cut up one onion, one bell pepper, and one tomato and mix together with one tablespoon sugar. Yum! Of course we do it larger scale, more like 5 onions, 5 bell peppers, and 5 tomatoes…but it’s the ratio that matters. Hope you enjoy your homemade salsa!

  44. Hello!! Thank you for the recipe it is wonderful right out of the pan… do we need to let the jars sit for a while before we eat it?

  45. Hello! I made your salsa recipe a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I looked it up so I could make it again this year, and thought I would answer the question of replacing vinegar for lemon juice. From the book, “Putting Food By”(Greene, Hertzberg and Vaughan): “…add any one of three acid substances: powdered citric acid, OR bottled lemon juice OR distilled white vinegar (which you use TWICE AS MUCH of as lemon juice, because vinegar is much more volatile).”

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  46. Used your recipe for the first time canning salsa but substituted lemon juice and twice the amount of hot peppers. WOW! was absolutely fantastic!

  47. DeRhonda – Maybe you could just can the salsa as the recipe is written since it would probably be unsafe to add the corn and beans. However, when you to to serve it, maybe you could add the corn and beans at that time. Just a thought.

  48. I used your recipe (also omitting tomato paste) and I’m getting rave reviews! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe online. It’s fantastic!

  49. This recipe has way too much vinegar for my taste. Maybe there is a vinegar that is not so strong that would be better? It drowned out the natural flavor of the tomatoes.

    1. Hi Lindsey,
      I’m not sure about that…but I’d think most vinegars would be similar in strength. I know vinegar is integral to the safeness of canning tomatoes. I love this salsa recipe, haven’t noticed the vinegary-ness but I will admit that fresh salsa is my absolute favorite (no vinegar!!)–my biggest weakness in summer is to get equal parts tomatoes/onions/bell peppers from the garden and chop them up, add 1 TB sugar for every tomato, and boy, it’s so delicious!


  50. I just have a question about the onions. I assume you mean White onions, rather than green or red. I have grown about 12 Walla Walla Onions this summer, but they vary tremendously in size. Some are larger than a soft ball, and some are about the size of a Roma Tomato. Which brings me to a second thought… you use 22 Roma tomatoes, or the larger sized tomatoes?
    I’m about to try your recipe for the first time, so any help would be appreciated!
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Elisabeth,
      I’m sorry this is a late response…I’m just now catching up on the blog correspondence! I’ve used white or yellow onions in this, but not red or green. I’d think your Walla Walla onions would work great. :O) Typically, I use larger tomatoes and add the can of tomato paste in for thickener…I LOVE to use a combo of Romas and normal tomatoes, it helps to thicken it naturally. I don’t always have a good crop of Romas in the garden tho. If I were to use only Roma’s, I’d put in more of them to equal in size the amount of normal tomatoes I’d use. I used to omit the tomato paste, but the salsa was pretty runny. It’s perfect with tomato paste added. Not too thick, just right. Hope it turns out well for you!!


  51. If you want your salsa thicker, cook it longer for the water to boil off. Since scorching is an issue, I cook mine in the slow cooker with the lid off. i usually just do the veggies for a couple of hours, and then add the salt and vinegar. I only put sugar in less than an hour before I can it…I’ve left if for over night on low sometimes when I had really juicy tomatoes and super runny salsa This works good if you don’t have all day to work on this, so you can prep the veggies in the evening, and let it cook overnight, and then you can just do the processing in the morning. DO NOT put the sugar or vinegar in overnight, and process as short a time as is safe for your jar size.
    Myhouse REALLY smells like salsa from this, but that’s OK

    1. Wow, I am SO glad for this feedback, Sonya! I knew the longer you cooked it down, the thicker it would get, but it takes SO long. What a great idea to use the crockpot! I am definitely going to try this next summer with my tomatoes! Thank you for all the tips!

  52. I have to say, I am glad I found this recipe. I made 8 pints a couple weeks ago. It has been a hit around the house. I give it 5 stars. I’m starting on more this evening.

  53. Hi there,
    Just wondering how many cups aprox. 22 large tomatoes make? I harvested my tomatoes and have a wide variety of sizes and I have them mostly chopped already. I blanch my tomatoes as they ripen and store them in the freezer (I use about half frozen and half fresh, makes for 2 different textures). Thanks.

    1. Kayla, hope this isn’t too late to help you out. I’m guessing it’s right around 20 cups or thereabouts. What a blessing to have a good tomato harvest! Enjoy this salsa!

  54. Would it be safe to grill the vegetables over charcoal for a nice smoke flavored salsa or would cooking them like that do anything to change the acidity?

  55. Not too sure why this recipe doesn’t have the raves as your bread as you mentioned. It should!!! This salsa is amazing and I am on my second or third year making several batches!!! I just love it and so do my friends. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  56. Mary, would it change the acidity in this recipe if I left out the garlic and sugar? I don’t want to do anything to cause it to spoil.

    1. DeeBee, I’m sorry…you asked this in March and now it is June. Hopefully this answer will help in time for summer tomato projects! I’m not an expert, but the one thing I do know is that you must not alter the acids in the salsa recipe (lemon juice or vinegar, etc.) but I’m pretty sure leaving out the sugar and garlic will not affect the acidity/safety. However, to be safe, you could take a look at this article I found online about canning salsa safely! Hope this helps!

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