Once the tomatoes in the garden begin to ripen we receive many requests to share our best canned salsa recipe.
Although salsa is one of the most popular canning recipes because it is so easy to make, there are a few important steps to follow to make sure it turns out perfect every time.
In fact, this recipe is our standard, tried and true salsa recipe that we make and can every year.
The Best Canned Salsa Recipe
*Complete recipe instructions are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article.
- Paste tomatoes
- Green peppers
- Hot peppers
- Garlic cloves peeled
- Ground black pepper
- Distilled white vinegar
The important thing about making the best canned salsa to to use fresh ingredients. Over ripe tomatoes will result in mushy salsa.
It is best to use ripe tomatoes that have been picked within a day or two. However, if you pick tomatoes that are slightly underripe, you can wait a few extra days before making your salsa.
If you are wondering when is the best time to harvest your garden tomatoes, be sure to read our article: How To Know When To Pick Tomatoes – And How To Best Let Them Ripen!
And the same holds true for the peppers and onions in this recipe. If you want that classic crunch of peppers and onions when you take a bite of canned salsa, be sure to use only vegetables that are nice and firm.
What Type of Tomatoes To Use
Second, you must decide what type of tomatoes that you are going to use to make your salsa.
We highly recommend using paste tomatoes. These tomatoes are often called Roma, San Marzano or Amish Paste tomatoes at the store or Farmer’s Market.
They are traditionally oblong and are smaller in diameter than standard slicing tomatoes.
However, they have thicker walls and less juice in them which makes them hold up well during the canning process.
But if you don’t have enough paste tomatoes to make salsa, you can certainly add in a few slicing or cherry tomatoes as well.
The first step in making the best canned salsa is to peel the skin off of the tomatoes
If left on the skins will shred off during the cooking and preserving process. As a result, you will have strips of skin floating in your salsa making the texture unpleasing to many.
However, peeling tomatoes is a relatively easy process.
Start by filling a large stockpot with water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Then submerge the whole tomatoes in the water for approximately 1 minute.
Using a slotted spoon or ladle, immediately remove the tomatoes and place them in an ice water bath. This will stop the cooking process.
Then once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle make a tiny cut in the skin and peel the tomatoes. The peel should come off easily. Discard or use in other recipes as desired.
Remove The Pulp And Seeds
Next you will want to remove the pulp and seeds of your tomatoes and discard.
Simply cut your tomatoes in half, or in quarters for large tomatoes, and squeeze the tomato until the pulp and seeds squirt out.
However, there is no need to make sure every seed has been removed. A few seeds in canned salsa is just fine.
Dicing The Vegetables
Next comes the task of cutting your vegetables into small pieces.
For the tomatoes, be sure to dice them a little larger than what you want the size to be in your canned salsa.
The tomatoes hold a lot of water and will break down during the cooking and canning process.
However, the same is not true for the peppers and onions. You will want to cut them to the desired size.
Yes, they will soften and break down a bit, but definitely not as much as the tomatoes.
We use our Hamilton Beach Food Processor to make cutting the peppers, onions, and garlic a breeze. This saves us a considerable amount of time when we are making salsa.
The Canning Process
Now that you have your vegetables prepared, it is time to make the best canned salsa that you have ever had.
Start by adding all of the ingredients to a large stockpot and place over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil.
While you are waiting for the salsa to heat up prepare the canning jars and equipment.
Fill clean, pint size mason jars with water and place upright in a hot water bath canning pot. Then pour enough water in the pot that it comes right to the top rim of the mason jars.
Place the pot with the jars inside on the stove over medium-high heat.
This will allow the mason jars to heat up and sterilize while the salsa comes to a boil. We also add the bands to the hot water as well.
However, you will most likely not have to heat the canning lids themselves. Several years ago a new technology emerged with canning lids called Sure-Tight lids.
It is recommended that these lids are no longer heated before topping the filled canning jars.
Hot Water Bath Canning
Once your salsa has boiled for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to a simmer. Now it is time to start canning!
Using a jar lifter, remove one mason jar and dump the hot water back into the pot. Then place the jar on a thick kitchen towel next to your pot of salsa.
Place a wide mouth funnel on top of the jar and fill it with boiling salsa. However, be sure to leave a 1/2 inch space at the top of the jar to allow for expansion during the canning process.
Next, wipe the rim of the jar with a clean washcloth. Then place the lid on the mason jar and secure with the band.
Then using the jar lifter place the filled jar back into the pot and repeat the process until all the jars have been filled.
At this point, the water should be 1-2 inches above the tops of the jars. If not, be sure to add additional water so that the canned salsa can be safely processed.
Turn the pot to HIGH heat, cover and bring the water to a boil. Once it begins to boil start the timer and let it continue at a rolling boil for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude as required.
Once the time is up, turn off the burner and let the jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes. Then use the jar lifter to carefully lift the jars out of the hot water and place on a thick towel.
Let the jars cool for 24 hours.
Checking For Sealed Jars
Before storing your canned salsa, you must check to make sure that each jar has properly sealed.
Push down on the center of the lid and if there is any movement, the jars are not safe for storing at room temperature.
Place the non-sealed jars in the refrigerator and eat within 1-2 weeks.
The remaining sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year.
However, our salsa typically doesn’t last that long!
Serving Canned Salsa
When you are ready to use a jar of homemade canned salsa we recommend adding in a few fresh ingredients to make it even better!
Dice up a little fresh onion and bell pepper and add it to your salsa along with some cilantro and garlic salt.
The hint of fresh ingredients makes the flavor of your salsa outstanding!
Mary and Jim
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Classic Canned Salsa Recipe
- 10 cups peeled cored diced paste tomatoes (about 30-35)
- 6 cups diced peppers mixture of mild and hot about 5 large green peppers and 6-8 hot peppers
- 4 cups chopped onions about 6 medium onions
- 3 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
In a large pot fill ¾ full of water and bring to a boil. Place whole tomatoes in the pot for 1 minute and then immediately remove and place them into an ice water bath for the same amount of time.
Remove from the water, and once safe enough to handle, the skins will peel off without difficulty.
Over a large bowl, squeeze the majority of the pulp and juice out of each tomato and discard, Dice tomatoes in sections slightly larger than the tomatoes you would typically find in your salsa. Add to a large stock pot.
Remove seeds and ribs of the peppers – roughly chop them and place them in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, or finely hand chop the peppers. Add the peppers to the tomatoes in the stock pot.
Roughly chop onions and place them in your food processor. Add the peeled garlic to the onions and pulse until they are finely chopped.
Add chopped onions, garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper, and vinegar to the pot.
Heat on Medium-High heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add to sterilized and heated pint jars leaving 1/2” headspace. Wipe the rim, and add a warm lid and hand tighten the ring. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes, adjusting time for altitude variances.
Remove jars by using a jar lifter and place on a thick towel and let cool for 24 hours.
Before storing, check to make sure all jars are sealed by pushing on the lid -if it doesn’t move it is sealed properly. If it didn’t seal, immediately add to your refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.
If you prefer hot salsa do not remove the ribs or seeds of the hot peppers.
Store sealed jars on cool dark shelf for up to 12 months.
Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms