Super Simple Salsa for Canning

When grandma ordered 40 lbs of tomatoes for me I knew one of the items I had to make was salsa, but I didn’t want to spend forever fine chopping ingredients. For this recipe you only need to do a big chop on the veggies and pulse them in a food processor. So easy! Cider vinegar gives the salsa sweetness, but white vinegar would be fine, too. 5 jalapeños made a relatively mild batch of salsa, so if you like it spicy I would double it.

Update 7/2016- I’ve gotten a few comments about how vinegary this salsa is. It is! I enjoy this flavor but I can see how some would not. Last week when I made my usual batch, I made an additional batch with some modifications that I think many of you would prefer, so that is the recipe you will find below. 🙂 There is less vinegar and the addition of sugar.

13 cups of peeled, pulsed tomatoes (about 8 pounds)
5 bell peppers (I used red and green)
5 large white onions, quartered
5 large jalapenos (more if you like it very spicy), halved and deseeded
2 bunches of cilantro leaves, torn up.
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 cup of cider vinegar (cider vinegar is what I prefer because I think it has a sweeter taste, but you can absolutely use white! Original recipe called for 2 cups of cider vinegar)
1/2 cup brown sugar (Original recipe called for no sugar. To make the original recipe, do not add sugar.)
3 tsp salt

Yields about 9 pints

1. Blanch the tomatoes by cutting a little x on the bottom, dropping them into boiling water for about 20 seconds, and placing them in ice water. The skins should peel off easily. Quarter them, removing any stems or pithy cores, and pulse them in a food processor until chunky. Transfer to a large stock pot.

Here is my blanching station and my finished tomatoes.

2. Quarter and deseed the bell peppers. Pulse them in the food processor until chunky. Transfer to the pot.

3. Place half of the onions in the food processor. Add the cilantro. Pulse until the onions are relatively small chopped and there aren’t huge chunks of cilantro left. Transfer to the pot. Put the remaining onions, garlic, and jalapenos in the food processor and pulse until they reach the same chop as the previous batch of onions. Add to pot.

4. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, and salt to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for an hour until the mixture has thickened. Stir every 6 minutes. Do not let it burn! Taste to check for seasoning.

5. Ladle into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace, wipe the rims for any spillage, and process in boiling water for 15 minutes. Leave on counter untouched for one day, check for proper sealing.

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66 Responses to Super Simple Salsa for Canning

  1. Pingback: Summer Canning; get started! | egg yolk days

  2. Tracy says:

    I’ve never made salsa before or canned anything for that matter. Can you refer me to a website about canning without a canner? Or do you just boil the closed jars in water for 15 minutes and then let them cool over night?

    • itselliewellie says:

      A canner is actually just a big, thin metal pot with a rack in the bottom so the jars don’t touch the pan itself. You could probably make your own with a big pot and a circular cake cooling rack. I don’t use pressure cookers, which people also call “canners” sometimes.

      I do exactly what you said; boil the sterilized, filled jars for about 15 minutes then let them rest, untouched, on the counter overnight.

  3. Pingback: Restaurant Style Roasted Salsa for Canning | egg yolk days

  4. Terry McClean says:

    Well, yesterday canned 7 1/2 pints and 2 quarts of this recipe, SUCESS! Tasty and will be great all winter, thank you for the pictures and easy reading recipe!

  5. Kren says:

    Tastes waaaay to vinegary!!!!!!!!

  6. Kren says:

    Not even edible, this recipe doesn’t even call for sugar as most tomato sauces, salsas do. I tried to doctor it with more sugar, even added black bean and corn to mellow out vinegar taste this can not be salvaged.

    • itselliewellie says:

      Sorry to hear you disliked it– please remember, water bathed tomato products do need to have a decent amount of vinegar in them to safely be canned and preserved unless they are processed in a pressure cooker. Hope you find a recipe that works for you. Best wishes!

    • JerriLynn says:

      you can substitute lemon juice for the vinegar. I NEVER use vinegar in salsa. BLECH!! I made some with lemon juice & EVERYONE loves it.

  7. Tricia Raney says:

    Could lemon juice be substituted for the vinegar?

    • itselliewellie says:

      I’ve never done that, but I know you can substitute an equal amount of lemon juice for vinegar in tomato canning recipes, and that it should be commercial grade bottled lemon juice.

      • Norma says:

        I think that in Salsa substituting lemon juice for the vinegar would change the taste. The lemon juice or the vinegar is to give the tomatoes acidity when canning in order to store well.

    • JerriLynn says:

      YES!! The taste is actually BETTER.

  8. Paula Gazette says:

    First time salsa maker here. I like this recipe for its simplicity and taste. It idoes have a strong vinegar taste when eaten straight up with a spoon but when eaten with chips, tacos, nachos or even a burger it has a nice balance between tart and heat. It also may mellow once it sets for a few months. after canning of course.

  9. Sarah says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I made it this morning and we just opened a jar to give it try and everyone loved it including my kids and the neighbours! Love the simplicity of it!

  10. Hajera says:

    Oh-ho ho I’m just loving it! Certainly will try to venture this.

  11. Lorie says:

    Use tomato juice instead of the paste; it will give a better taste. I make something like this all the time, and it is very good.

  12. Missy says:

    How many and what size jars do u need for this recipe?

  13. Sherry Wasdin says:

    I love this recipe! It was so simple to follow and the ingredients were just right! I did tweak it just a little and added 1/4 cup of brown sugar to the ingredients! I also chopped up some pineapple and added to it! I love the fruit in my salsa! I just cooked and tasted just like was recommended! Thank you so much for such a simple salsa recipe! I am replacing my old faithful recipe with this one!

  14. Carrie says:

    I am currently trying to salvage this recipe….waaaay too much vinegar. My father-in-law has been making salsa for years and said he uses this much vinegar for 35 pounds of tomatoes!!! He has now switched to fresh lime juice. My first round…but will probably mix this with a fresh salsa just so I don’t lose the money I spent on ingredients (frugal McDoogal here) . Pinterest, you got me on this one!!!!! 😒

    • itselliewellie says:

      Hi Carrie! I’m sorry to hear you don’t like it and it didn’t work out. Our tomatoes here in Washington aren’t acidic enough anymore to be safely water bath canned without a decent amount of vinegar. I prefer knowing it is safe and I also like the flavor, but understand why some might not like it.

      Best of luck on your future canning endeavors and again, I’m so sorry you didn’t like this recipe!

  15. Courtney says:

    I’m new to this process. Your recipe seems very easy and tasty. When placing the cans in the boiling water how far above the tops of the cans should the water be?

    And after they are boiled you said leave them on the counter for 1 day, after that do they need to go in the fridge or can we store them in the cupboard?


  16. Hi just thought i’d let you know great recipe , i have one alot like this one but I use white vinegar not quite as strong.

  17. Lindsay says:

    Hi! We made your recipe last year and just loved it! I was just getting ready to make a batch for this year and read that you modified the recipe because some
    People didn’t like the vinegar ( we thought it was fine! )
    Can you tell me exactly how much vinegar the old recipie was? And then I guess I’ll skip the brown sugar also to make it like last year. Thanks in advance!!

  18. Vicki says:

    What were the amounts of vinegar in your original recipe without the brown sugar and cider vinegar ? I made this brown sugar batch and I don’t care for the sugar taste

    • itselliewellie says:

      Hi Vicki, as mentioned in the notes above the original recipe called for 2 cups of cider vinegar. The original recipe always called for cider vinegar, but you can use white if you prefer. Thanks!

  19. Paula says:

    I just made a batch of this salsa & I love it! I used white wine vinegar instead of cider vinegar, and a tad more brown sugar, it’s very tasty 🙂

  20. Robin Dykema says:

    Hi! I’m trying your recipe this year, as the one I had from last year has mysteriously vanished. I’m going to try subbing some of the white onion with red onion (yummy). When I’m adjusting to taste after boiling down, do I need to let it simmer longer if I add? I’m thinking of starting with 3/4 c of cider vinegar and tasting, and adding if needed. (I’m using a mix of homegrown heirloom tomatoes–not quite enough ready at the same time–and roadside stand, so acidity shouldn’t be a problem).
    Looking forward to all those delightful “Thup” noises next week!

    • itselliewellie says:

      Hi Robin! Red onion sounds like a tasty substitution!

      I’m not sure what you mean on letting it simmer longer. Do you mean after seasoning, do you need to let it simmer longer? Or after adding vinegar? Let me know!

      • Robin Dykema says:

        As it is, I added the full amount of vinegar and sugar, and am very happy with the taste. I meant if a taste test indicated a need for more seasonings or vinegar, would I need to let it simmer longer.
        My heirloom tomatoes are starting to fill up with color, so I might have enough of my own to make another batch soon. 🙂

  21. Tammy says:

    I added a little cumin to mine. And hubby loves it. I made this batch mild next batch will be hotter for his taste.

  22. Julie says:

    It’s good, but it is still way too vinegar-y and too sweet. 😢 I was excited to try a new recipe though. I will just stick to my old one and use a few new hints I learned from this experience. Thank you for the recipe. Maybe I can add ground beef and make sloppy Joe’s with this?

  23. RNeilson says:

    Revisions were spot on and the brown sugar added a richness to the salsa. Absolutely delicious!

  24. Vicki says:

    Just made my 2nd batch and we adjusted recipe some- omitted brown sugar-used 1/2 c cider vinegar 1/2 c vinegar- 6 jalapeños (2 had seeds) 1 haberno pepper- 2 6oz cans of tomato paste–I also used 7tsp of salt instead of 3. Made 11 perfect pints!

  25. Patricia says:

    I have made this recipe twice now. Once with brown sugar and the other with less and they both was a big hit with the family and friends. Now if you could give us a recipe and canning instructions on how to make the white dipping sauce that would be wonderful. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us,

  26. Nikki moline says:

    Best ever! I personally like dramatic flavor so I added 25 hot pepper, and 3 cups of brown sugar, and 4 green tomatoes in replace of 2 green bell peppers. It was raved on an craved for by everyone who tried it. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  27. Kathy says:

    I have a pressure canner do you know how many pounds I would have to use?

    • itselliewellie says:

      Hi Kathy, I don’t have experience pressure canning so I’m not sure. Maybe someone else will spot this comment and be able to give some insight!

  28. Tracey says:

    I was in the process of making this particular recipe the other night when my boyfriend came home with some perfectly ripe and juicy peaches!! I blitzed them up in the food processor and added them to the salsa!! It was a winner!! Tasted great! Just added another 1/2 cup of brown sugar to sweeten it up a bit more!! I’ve never commented on any recipes I’ve done from Pinterest, but I wanted to show how well it worked out!! =)

    • itselliewellie says:

      That is awesome!! I did the same thing before with peaches and it is indeed incredible. I also like to add a bit of cumin with it. So happy you enjoyed the recipe 😀

  29. Chey says:

    Can you tell me how the salsa preserved/shelved after cutting the vinegar and adding the sugar? And how long after the salsa was canned was the longest shelved jar when you ate it? I’ve never canned salsa and really, really want to try this recipe with the lower vinegar amount. I am always a little scared that it will spoil without me knowing and I’ll make someone ill. 😦 Just need the courage and confidence to just do it, but want to be as safe as possible. ….. make sense…. 🙂

    • itselliewellie says:

      I only started using the modified version this summer, so the cans are three months old now. But I had one recently and it’s great. I don’t have any worries about long term shelving. I always consume my canned products within 2 years of making them. I understand your worries! I would read the tomato section on the FDA canning regulation website here: I find it very helpful.

  30. Connie LL Munroe says:

    Thanks for the info!! New at this stuff!

  31. Dorene says:

    After water bath canning do you store the salsa on shelf or must it be stored in the refrigerator?

  32. Gail Mitchell says:

    Made this today using the modified recipe. Turned out great. Loved the taste..

  33. Lou says:

    I really like the simplicity of this salsa so good , I added pepper also and 8 large jalapeños I will let you know how it is when I finish it

  34. Jeffrey Birchard says:

    Could you add black beans and corn to the recipe?

    • itselliewellie says:

      Hi Jeffrey! I know for certain you cannot water-bath can black beans and corn. I would not add those to this recipe if you are going to can it. From what I understand, things like black beans and corn must be canned in a pressure cooker. Hope that helps!

  35. Brenda says:

    So can I use the pressure canner to can these?

    • itselliewellie says:

      I don’t do pressure canning, but from what I understand you could but you would need to adjust the canning times accordingly. I believe the USDA has information on how to do this.

  36. Barbara Debrick says:

    This is the second year that I’ve followed this recipe. It is so simple and delicious. My grown children all fight over how many jars of salsa they can take home. I follow the recipe exactly, except I leave out the brown sugar. Thanks for this recipe. We love it!

  37. Jessica says:

    If you change vinegar content may not be safe to can in a water bath.

  38. Olya says:

    I just made this “new” version and my family is in love with it, thank you!
    Question: could I somehow add peaches and keep the integrity of the salsa?

  39. trish sobry says:

    i made this salsa…amazing salsa will not buy store bought again.

  40. K C says:

    This recipe is not safe to water bath can, your tomato to pepper/onion ratio is way off. Please follow the proper ratio from the USDA food preservation web site.

  41. Elaine Laskowski says:

    Just made this salsa, and it is a wonderful recipe. I omitted the sugar and it taste really good. I also added some lime zest and the juice of the one lime I tested. It made.3 quarts and 4 pints. They are “pinging” as I’m writing this. My two neighbors gave me loads of tomatoes so it was a tossup between salsa or homemade chili sauce…salsa won !!! If they give me anymore I’m making more salsa !!!

  42. Lisa says:

    Hi I am just wondering how long can this salsa be preserved for eg…weeks, months or years

  43. karen MARIE MCGINNIS says:

    Best recipe I’ve found. I smoked the peppers for a bit of added smokey flavor. So far I have canned 15 pints and hope to get another batch in before tomato season is over. Thanks for sharing this fantastic recipe.

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