You Can Make and Can Salsa!

SALSA! I had to can salsa! My children were born and spent the better part of their childhood in New Mexico. Tortilla chips and a good salsa along with some home-cooked pinto beans and Mexican rice were a regular occurrence at our house. Therefore, they did not leave their love of Mexican food behind when we moved to Tennessee. We had to bring it with us! At the peak of garden production, salsa is one of the things I make from the abundance of tomatoes. So, following is a canning salsa recipe.

Making salsa is not difficult. Salsa can be water bathed making it simple and easy to do for even the beginning home canner. Here’s a step-by-step of the last batch of salsa I made. I used the USDA canning recipe and just sized it to the amount I had. Also, if you are like me and like a visual, below the recipe are images of some of the steps in making the salsa.

The yield on this recipe is 4 pints. You can double it to make enough to fill almost fill a canner if you’d like. Important note: use only Ball canning jars and lids. In the past, I have tried the cheaper brands and only regretted it. They are not made with the same quality and a lot of times the seals won’t seal and you will have wasted time and resources trying to save a dollar or two. Take it from me, a cheapskate, don’t skimp on the lids!

Almost ready for the canner. Tomato Salsa.

Tomato Salsa (using slicing tomatoes)

*Recipe from the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning

Equipment Needed:

  • Large water bathing pot or a large pot with a lid
  • A second large pot to boil pint jars in and
  • A third large pot to cook the salsa
  • A large bowl with water and ice in it
  • A canning rack or a dish towel
  • Tongs or large spoon
  • Ball pint jars, lids, and rims
  • A jar lifter
  • A tool to take out bubbles and measure headspace
  • A paper towel
  • Dish towels


4 Pints


  • 4 cups peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes (directions on peeling below)
  • 2 cups seeded, chopped long green chiles
  • 1/2 cup seeded, chopped jalapenos peppers
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups vinegar (5%)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (optional)
  • 1 Tbs oregano leaves (optional)
  • 1 Tbs fresh cilantro (optional)


  1. Fill a large pot (not the canning pot) with hot water and bring it to boil.
  2. As you are waiting for the pot to boil, fill the bowl with water and ice.
  3. Wash your tomatoes.
  4. Once your water is boiling drop a few tomatoes into it and wait about 30 seconds, but no longer than 60 seconds.
  5. After 30 to 60 seconds, scoop the tomatoes out of the boiling water and place them into the bowl of ice water. You should see the skins crack.
  6. Take the tomatoes out of the ice water and peel the skins off.
  7. Take the peeled tomatoes and cut them into quarters, scooping out the seeds and the hard center (which has no flavor).
  8. Take the tomatoes and chop them up into smaller pieces suitable for salsa.
  9. Dump the water out of the pot that you used to boil the tomatoes and place the chopped tomatoes into it.
  10. Next, seed and chop the long green chiles and jalapenos. Make sure to wear plastic gloves during this part. Add them to the pot.
  11. Chop the onion and garlic. Add these and two cups of vinegar, along with the cumin, oregano, and cilantro. (The spices are optional.)
  12. Bring it all to a boil, stirring frequently.
  13. Turn the heat down and simmer for another 20 minutes.
  14. Prepare your canning jars by taking the third pot, placing enough hot water in it to submerge your jars, then putting your jars into it. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
  15. Let the jars stay in that rolling boil water for 10 minutes.
  16. After 10 minutes, remove the jars and place them on a dishtowel.
  17. Fill the hot pint jars with hot salsa and get all the bubbles out of the jar using the tool. Make sure to leave 1/2″ headspace (the space between the top of the jar and the top of the salsa).
  18. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp, clean paper towel to ensure nothing will get in the way of the seal.
  19. Place the lids on the jars.
  20. Place the rims on them and finger-tighten them.
  21. With either a canning rack or a dishtowel at the bottom of the canning pot, fill the pot with enough water to have an inch of water over the top of the jars.
  22. Use the jar lifter to place the jars into the water carefully. (When all jars are in, make sure you have an inch of water above the top). If you won’t have enough jars to fill the pot, you can put empty jars into the pot to keep spacing as shown.
  23. Turn the heat to its highest position and cover the canner. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
  24. Once it reaches a rolling boil, set your timer as follows: FOR PINTS: Elevations 0-1,000 ft, 15 min; elevations 1,001 – 6,000 ft, 20 min; elevations above 6,000 ft, 25 minutes. If at any time, the pot isn’t boiling, you need to bring it back to boil and start the timer again.
  25. Once they have boiled for the allotted time, you can turn off the heat and remove the lid.
  26. After 5 minutes, you can use the jar grabber to carefully remove the hot jars and put them on a folded towel on your counter. Do not touch them for 12 to 24 hours. You should hear them ping as they cool.
  27. After 12 hours, you can remove the rims and check your seals. Any that did not seal, either recan or use immediately.
  28. Mark the date on the top of the jars along with what it is.
  29. Congratulate yourself on making salsa!

Place tomatoes into boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds.

Take out of boiling water and place in an ice bath.

Slip skins off all tomatoes.

Cut and remove seeds and cores of tomatoes.  chop up into salsa size pieces.

After chopping up tomatoes and putting into the pot, do the same with the remaining ingredients.

 Next, bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 20 minutes.

Take out hot jars and get ready for hot salsa.

Fill hot jars with hot salsa. Wipe the rims with a damp, clean paper towel.

The final product! After 12 to 24 hours, remove rims, check seals, label with content and date. Store for a year or two!

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and ask for help!  I am here to assist you in your journey to self-sufficiency!

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