We have made this recipe several times, with different types of tomatoes and never tasted too sour. It has become our favorite salsa, it is perfect.
Can I use any type of pepper instead of Anaheim as long as the quantity remains the same?
Sure! Poblanos would work well too, any chile pepper or even bell pepper, as long as the quantities are the same.
Why do you need to cook the salsa before canning it?
Hi Lori, great question! You need to cook the salsa to kill any and all bacteria that are on the raw vegetables. This is what canning does. Otherwise you have to use preservatives or keep in the fridge, and even then it won’t last as long.
Can you use citric acid instead of vinegar?
Hi Jon, good question! I don’t know.
Love this recipe! Thank you for sharing!!! Hoping to make the salsa a little bit thicker this year. Can I add tomato paste to thicken? Or would I need to increase the ACV in it? If so, how much more ACV should I put in?
Hi Jesse, I think you can thicken it a bit with tomato paste without having to increase the vinegar.
We smoke our tomatoes first. The smoke adds a great flavor to the salsa.
What a great idea Heather!
I do not care for this recipe at all. It is too watery and all I can taste is the apple cider vinegar.
Brilliant! On my second batch. Made some without chills forgrandkids
I made these this afternoon, but half the amount as I only had 2.5 lbs of tomatoes. I used a mixture of roma and heirloom tomatoes from my local farmer’s market. I cannot get Hatch long green chilis where I live in Canada so I substitutes a long sweet red chile which I did roast over the gas stove flame – never again – what a mess to clean up the sweet dripping juices cooking onto the burner! I also added a small can of chopped green chilis as suggested. I won’t use those again as they were pretty tasteless, but I wanted to have enough peppers so I put them in. I also used half lime juice and half cider vinegar and omitted the oregano (by accident!). I cooked the sauce for 10 minutes and despite it being still pretty watery, I want ahead and put it in the jars. I had a little left over that I sampled (after the fact) and then I wished I had adjusted the seasoning a bit, but no problem to add a bit of salt or sugar later. My main concern is the consistency. . I chose this recipe because it did not use tomato paste or sauce to thicken, like every other recipe I saw, and that is my complaint of the commercial bottled salsas available in Canada – they taste too tomato saucy – however, I am thinking that the only way to get it thick and not watery IS to add t-paste or sauce, or cook it to death. Any thoughts on this matter. I like PACE salsa, only one I can buy here that I like – and it does not use any thickener. I could strain off some juice before cooking I guess. OR maybe blend some of it? Thanks for your recipe and all the useful comments!
I strain some of watery sauce off and can it . it’s great to make chili with in winter months. Of course we love spicy.
I used my immersion blender and that thickened it up to the perfect consistency!!! This is by far the best salsa recipe I’ve ever made!!!!
I’m going on my third batch this summer, great receipe! Entering some into the fair, everybody loves it. Thanks!
Hi! Can I make this with my steam canner or does it have to be water bath?
Hi Lindsey, these instructions are for water bath canning. At the moment I do not have a pressure canner, so don’t know what to tell you about how to go about doing that with this recipe. I can tell you that if you pressure can, you do not need nearly as much vinegar.
Can you half this recipe? How do you determine the vinegar ratio to use if you have made a salsa you want to can?
Also I know that my dad used to make salsa and I don’t think he waterbathed it. Also I’ve made jams (or jellies) that I did not water bath. Am I jeopardizing my product?
Hi Leah, yes you can cut the recipe in half. The vinegar ratio question is a little more complicated. I used a Ball canning book to research the correct amount of vinegar to use for this recipe. A water bath helps kill mold spores and bacteria and helps ensure a better seal in the canning process. In other words, a water bath will help prevent spoilage. I always water bath salsa when I can it. I rarely water-bath jellies or jams, mostly because the high sugar content in jellies and jams prevents growth of bacteria, I always sterilize the jars and lids, and I eat up the jams or jellies within a year.
Hi, just wondering when you open the canned salsa to eat do you have to reheat it first?
Hi Nic, no, you can just eat it straight. We never reheat it.
1st time I’ve made salsa and this was an easy recipe to follow.
I made it exactly like the recipe and it turned out great. The kids love it!
Originally I thought the apple cider vinegar would wreck the taste of it, but it didnt. I’m getting ready to make another batch because we are on the last jar, and I just made it last week. This recipe is a keeper for me!
when in doubt about long term keeping (then again i do not make dozens of jars -) i keep in fridge – no spoilage then – and we eat them quickly –
i use fresh lime juice – white sugar to taste – just keep adding until you get it right – but more than few tablespoons – and lots of fresh cilantro and flat leaf parsley – green onions too – to taste – if not hot enough – red pepper flakes if you run out of jalepano’peppers – few tiny tins of tomato paste will work if you did not simmer enough to thicken – but use this towards the end – i have also added basil instead of oregano – i love basil.l
i have and just now am using canned tomatoes in addition to mine from my garden – low sodium ones – drain some juice out if your mixture is too thin to start with and simmer bit longer – i do not use salt – never – but that is a personal preference
thank you all for your comments
Red or yellow onion?
Makes no difference.
Have you ever so the canning process in the oven?
I am only going to use jalapeño peppers how much should I use
I don’t know Trish. The recipe calls for a cup of mild green chiles in addition to 3 jalapenos. A whole cup of jalapenos would be really really hot.
The quantities given here are way off!! I tried to double the recipe and it was a complete disaster. Two cups of apple cider vinegar made it more of a vinegary soup than anything else
Hi Simon, it’s probably not the best idea to try out a new recipe by doubling it. You are going to get more relative evaporation in cooking when you make a single batch. Also you need to balance the vinegar with sugar. If you have to double it, make the recipe in two separate pots.
is it okay to use brown sugar instead of white?
Hi Lisa, I don’t think it makes much difference if you are only using a small amount. Brown sugar is just white sugar with some molasses in it.
Love this salsa. Just made my second batch and my last jar was slightly over an inch from the top. I processed it and the top popped. Is it going to be a problem!
Hello – I canned this great salsa and the lids popped. However, I realized afterwards that the water was actually only about 3/4 of the way up the jars (and it took longer for them in the hot water bath, but they all did pop). Should I be worried about the safety of the canned salsa? Have been checking everywhere and it says about 1 inch over top, but then some bath in the oven (although not recommended). Thanks!
Hi Christina, good question! The acidity in the salsa is going to help protect it. The fact that the lids popped is good. Did you cover the pot while you were water-bathing the jars? If so, I think you’re fine. If not, you might want to do it again, this time with an inch of water over the jars. A second water bath is not going to hurt the salsa.
Can you substitute honey for the sugar?
Hi Heidi, I have no idea what that would do to the flavor. You might try adding just a little bit of honey to a sample of the unsweetened salsa to see how you like the taste. As for affecting its storability, I don’t know.
first timer…and so freaked out by poisoning – can i be sure there is enough vinegar in there? I substituted a orange pepper for the chilis, – and only subscribed to the amount 1 cup vinegar – do I need to add more?
Hi Nancy, no need to add more vinegar. Bell pepper and chili peppers are comparable.
Just wanted to stop in and say that this is the second year I’ve made the recipe, and it’s my favorite for when my garden tomatoes come in. I gave your basic recipe a whirl and then used it as a platform for my own variety in future batches, but it’s really my favorite. In my version I broil the tomatoes, onions and peppers, omit the sugar and oregano, sub in some lime as part of the acid, and often use habaneros as part of the chiles. Thanks for the great recipe!
Thanks so much Nick, I’m so glad you like it!
Can I substitute lime juice for the vinegar or just add citric acid?
Lime juice is more acidic than vinegar, so yes, you could, but it might just be too acidic if you added the same amount. No idea on the citric acid.
My husband can’t eat onions and has to pick out the onions whenever he eats salsa. It’s impossible to find a salsa recipe without them. Can I substitute the onions with more tomatoes or peppers? Thank you for your help.
Hi Carmen, you might try grating the onion instead of chopping it. That way you get the benefit of the onion, but it melts into the rest of the salsa. Or you could just try leaving it out.
Onions are a rare legitimate food allergy, and so I would imagine that your husband probably CAN eat onions, he just is freaked out by them for some reason. As suggested above, you could grate or mince the onion, or use granulated onion (dry spice at most groceries). Hope this helps!
What if you leave the onions in “Super chunks”? My parents used to do this when we were kids in spaghetti or goulash so we had the flavor but we were able to easily see them and pull them out. My dad used to eat them for us when we found them and it didn’t leave us kids wasting time picking out small pieces
Hi Ellse thanks for getting back to me, Hatch chile season is in full bloom and I’d like to can as much as possible,
If using canned tomatoes how much apple cider vinegar is needed for canning? I don’t care for store tomatoes and I didn’t plant any this year….
Hi Stella, if you want to make salsa using canned tomatoes, I recommend this recipe: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/simple_salsa/. If you want to make canned salsa using canned tomatoes, I don’t really know what to tell you. Why not just buy prepared salsa?
The best salsa recipe. I used a variety of hot peppers and roasted the tomatoes, peppers and onion. Will save a make every year.
question? I just made this and used 20 cups of tomatoes so I used 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar plus about 3 tbsp white vinegar because it was a bit sweet. I did not use the Anaheim peppers and I am water bathing is this plenty of vinegar. Tastes great so far!
Hi Angela, those ratios sound fine!
How long does this salsa last when boiled and canned?
Up to a year. After that the flavor starts to degrade.
I made this last night. It turned out amazing the second time around. 1 cup of vinegar is not a good idea. It ruined my entire batch. I had to throw it away and air out my entire house. I did use a splash of vinegar though and it turned out perfect. I only yielded 3 pint size jars but my family truly enjoyed the one jar I left out for them to eat.
Hi Sharon, as mentioned in the recipe and throughout the comments, vinegar is needed to prevent botulism given that the salsa uses low acid green chiles. You can balance the acidity in the flavor by adding more sugar. If you are water-canning your salsa, you MUST have enough acid in the salsa or you are courting danger. If you are pressure canning the salsa, you can use as much or as little vinegar as you want. But these instructions are for water-canning. If you are only planning to keep the salsa in the refrigerator, you can reduce the vinegar as well. But if you want shelf-stable salsa, you must add vinegar.
Question: if the salsa is properly water bath canned and the lids seal, why is botulism a concern?
The only thing protecting you from botulism when you water bath can is the acid and sugar. It takes 240°F to kill botulism bacteria, and if you water can, the temperature never gets above 212°F. Unlike a jam recipe, that has the necessary 60% sugar to kill bacteria, this salsa recipe is only relying on the acidity to kill botulism bacteria. That’s why getting the acidity right is so important.
My sisters, mom and I made your salsa this weekend. It was so delish before cooking and processing. I have not tried it yet after, but I am hopeful it is just as good. Thanks so much for this recipe. We have been trying year after year different recipes. I think this one is our keeper:)
I’ve made this twice. Awesome recipe. I make it pretty much to spec except I add some smoked paprika and some ground chipotle and ommitt the cilantro because I hate it. I also add one teaspoon of lime juice per 250ml jar just for extra canning protection. Thank you and great recipe.
Elise, this recipe is awesome. I’ve used it three years in a row and have been very pleased. One strange thing happened this time, though: although I followed the recipe exactly, this batch tastes overwhelmingly like the apple cider vinegar. I even double-checked the recipe to make sure I hadn’t accidentally tripled the amount or something. The end result is almost inedible!! :-(
Do you have any ideas on what may have happened? Thanks so much.
Hi Melanie, it’s all about the balance of acidity and sweetness. Perhaps this year your tomatoes are more acidic than prior years, or not as sweet. So then the vinegar flavor is going to come through more. Just add more sugar. Plain white sugar. Until the salsa is more in balance.
Hi, Elise! Thank you so much for your response. I only just noticed it, I’m ashamed to say.
Well, it’s a year later, and I’m going to make this again. I have more tomatoes this time (we use San Marzanos), so it should be good. I’ll pay close attention to the flavor balance and adjust as necessary. Thanks! Happy canning!
Why save the juice? I didn’t see in the recipe to add it in so what do you do with it?
Hi Bre, use any of the juices that come out of the tomatoes in the salsa. Don’t discard. Add them to the pot with the tomatoes.
My sister and I made this salsa last weekend, and the recipe is a keeper! We won’t be using any other one from now on. We used two poblano peppers, since the milder green chiles aren’t readily available in our area, and made up the pound with bell peppers, which we also charred. It made a medium-intensity salsa that is very, very good, and very fresh tasting. Our last jar wasn’t quite full, and we decided just to eat it, and it was gone by noon of the next day. We will be making more, and soon, as tomatoes are just reaching their peak here. We also used slicing tomatoes and the consistency was a little more watery, but we just cooked it for about two minutes more to reduce it. Loved the sweetness of the cider vinegar in this, too: it really complemented the heat of the chiles!
I Have hesitated to make salsa because I didn’t want to use vinegar in it, but this year my bumper crop of tomatoes made me decide to try it. After putting all ingredients in but the vinegar I tasted it and loved it. I dumped in the vinegar and wondered if I’d ruined it…but continued to cook it then process it. It is delicious and I was so pleased!! Like another comment said, 1 cup of vinegar to the other 10 cups of ingredients was not too much and I only used 1 tsp of sugar. I do prefer fresh salsa/pico de gallo so will have that in the summer, but will be so excited to have this on my shelves during the rest of the year. Can’t wait to make a few more batches, as I still have plenty of tomatoes!
Thank you for your recipe and your awesome, detailed instructions! I do agree with Stephen….it took me 3 hours from washing and coring the tomatoes to taking the jars out of the canner. I’m sure it will be quicker next time, now that I know the routine!! Ohhhh, and thank you for the info on broiling the tomatoes!! Loved that step and the taste!!
Hi! I am just trying this recipe for the first time and I was wondering how l might be able to add in some Green Bell Pepper for more variety of veggies in this salsa. Do I need to adjust anything? Thank you!
Hi Kali, if you read through the comments you’ll see the issue with adding more low acid vegetables like peppers. Bell peppers are just like green chiles when it comes to acid levels. If you add them, then you have to add more vinegar. That’s why you have to follow canning recipes precisely. I don’t know how much vinegar you would have to add if you added other vegetables. I suggest that you consult a canning book. Or, you can pressure can the salsa, in which case you don’t have to worry about the acid levels, as the higher temperature that is achieved in pressure canning will kill any deadly botulism bacteria.
I’ve made this salsa three times now. It’s the best I’ve ever tasted, which isn’t surprising since it’s the only homemade salsa I’ve ever had and homemade food usually tastes better than store-bought. I didn’t have an oven the first time I made this, so I had to blanch the tomatoes to remove the skins. Broiling the tomatoes results in a much more flavorful salsa. Also, I like a lot of heat, so I used mostly jalapeño peppers for the chiles. The vinegar and the sugar worked out just fine for my taste. And as said in my first comment, I don’t can it. I just keep it in the fridge. I think this is a great, simple, tasty recipe.
I do have one bit of criticism. The prep time is said to be 20 minutes. It takes me at least two hours to get the tomatoes and peppers ready to throw in the pot, and that’s with another person helping out. I’m curious as to how long it takes everyone else to prep this. Any suggestions to speed things up?
It took a long time for me to prep also. The biggest time consumer was seeding the chiles and peppers. Not sure how to speed up the process.
WOW! This is possibly the second best salsa I’ve ever had! It was a bit sweet to me, I should have skipped the tiny bit of sugar that I did add. I do not taste the vinegar at all, but now I am worried that I may not have added enough since I added a can of corn and some extra onions. I did about 1 1/4 c. Is there a way to know if the salsa is compromised when I open it? I also added chipotle powder, which made it close to perfect for my taste. I do not have enough garden tomatoes coming, but I will get more at the store and make another big batch or two. Thankyou for all the info on the canning and acidity–my husband told me it was easy, but I didn’t believe him. Your recipes are ALWAYS trustworthy for me, thankyou so much Elise!
I’m so glad you like the salsa!
The risk when you can low acid foods without enough added acid is botulism, which is deadly, and practically undetectable. I would refrigerate the cans that you’ve made, or eat them up quickly. Or you can try pressure canning them (requires a pressure cooker or canner). Pressure canning increases the temperature of the salsa high enough to kill any bacteria.
Has anyone tried using Ball citric acid in place of the vinegar? I like the Mrs Wages salsa that adds vinegar but I also like the restaurant style salsa recipe that uses canned tomatoes, rotel and the rest of the ingredients that you are using in this recipe. I am looking forward to trying this recipe – one batch with the vinegar and another smaller batch with the citric acid. I will post my results. Thanks for sharing this!
Thanks so much for this recipe! This is my third summer making it and I love it! I made 2 batches the first year and we ran out so last year we made a huge amount and gave out this along with salsa verde for Christmas. I can’t understand people complaining about the vinegar. Maybe because I add the jalapeño seeds and replace 1/2 the Anaheim peppers with hot peppers, but suggesting to lower the acidity in a canning recipe is crazy. Btw, I make the recipe faster by roasting it all on baking sheets in the oven and throwing it into a big pot (skins and all) and then puréed it all together for restaurant style salsa. No chunks. Thanks again!!
Hi Elizabeth, great idea to blend the peppers for restaurant style. Love it! The trick with dealing with the vinegar is to add sugar if the salsa tastes too acidic. If you are willing to do that, there’s no problem. If not, then for some people the salsa will be way too acidic tasting. For me it’s just the way I like it, but to each her own, right?
I just finished making my first salsa recipe using your advice! I have been canning veggies this summer but didn’t know how to handle the sudden amount of tomatoes that exploded this last week from my garden! I kept the jalapeno seeds just for kicks and WOW! Love the salsa!!! Verrrrrry spicy but delicious!! Thank you for a forever recipe! Also your measurements were spot on! I was able to scrape the bottom of the pot and top off the last pint with a 1/2 inch from the top! Thank you again!
Can I substitute the jalepeno chilies with Poblano peppers?
Hi Sara, poblanos are much bigger (and less hot) than jalapeno chiles. I would substitute one poblano for the 3 jalapenos. Also you need to blacken and peel them the same way you do the anaheim green chiles. They have a thicker peel than the jalapenos.
Thank you! The salsa came out great! I doubled the recipe using 10 lbs of tomatoes and a little over 2 lbs of peppers. For the peppers I used a combination of Anaheim and Poblano, charring and peeling them as recommended. I left in some seeds to compensate for the lack of jalapenos. I also used a cherry tomato called Bumble Bee. It’s a big cherry type, but roasting and peeling was not feasible so I just cooked them with the other ingredients and then used an immersion blender for a smooth texture. I did not add sugar. I ended up with 9 pints for canning and about 2 more for immediate consumption. At first, I did taste the vinegar, though I didn’t think it was unusual or unpleasant. But the next day- wow! The salsa was super-delicious, sweet and pleasantly hot! I will definitely be making this a summer canning tradition! Thank you for the excellent recipe, and for keeping up with the questions and comments after all this time!
How long should this keep in the fridge in a sterilized glass jar? I don’t have materials for canning.
Hi Stephen, I would compare it to buying a jar of salsa at the store, opening the jar, closing it, and putting it in the refrigerator. It should last that long. How long is that? A month? 2 months? Depends. When you see mold, throw it out.
Could I substitute bells for chile peppers? Thanks!
Yes, but then you won’t get any heat in your salsa.
I’m allergic to onions, so I wanted to make my own salsa,because I love salsa, can I just leave out the onions, or is there something I can replace onion with?
Hi Jodi, are you allergic to all alliums or just onions? If it’s just onions you could sub shallots or chives. If you are allergic to all plants in that family then I would just skip them.
I am new to canning and relatively new to homemade salsa. I make a corn and black bean salsa that my family including my 5 kids just love, however it cant be canned so I looked around for a recipe that had things we like in it and that could be canned. I just made it and honestly I agree with the vinegar thing. I just added 1/4 cup of lemon juice and added some more sugar and spices it was perfect. A little bit tangy spicy and sweet. I think it will be a hit. I looked into adding more spices to canning recipes and it is ok and wont change that acidity of your salsa if you use dried spices. I added 1 1/2 t cayenne pepper 1 1/2 t garlic salt (reduced salt to 1 1/2t) an extra 1t cumin and an extra 5T sugar to give a little extra sweetness that my kiddos like (So 7T sugar total). I always taste test as I’m going and adjust everything to my own taste. I would recommend doing that before you can everything only to find you don’t like it.
This was the first time I’ve ever canned and I think it turned out pretty well. It’s a little sweeter than I prefer, and not quite as spicy as I want, so next time I will probably add some jalapeño seeds. I did a half recipe since my stockpot isn’t really big enough for 5 pints.
My only advice to people is definitely make sure you save all the excess liquid and whatnot. My headspace was off by about a quarter inch in each jar by thinking it would be okay if I didn’t keep *all* the juice. I’m not dead from botulism yet though, so I think my 1/4 inch discrepancy wasn’t too terrible.
UPDATE: On my third batch and my husband loves the flavor!!! Elise, thanks again!!!
I just made my second batch today. It is wonderful! I went ahead and got some apple cider vinegar, though. I think the flavor of it is better for salsa. My first batch was rather spicy (and delicious!) since I added the seeds from two of the jalapeños. The batch I made today was mild, and without the seeds. I’m going to be making a few more batches before tomato season is over, I love it!
I seriously cannot believe the comments on this about it being too vinegary. This is my second year using this recipe, and we absolutely love it. It is the best home-canned salsa I’ve ever tasted, and all those I share it with agree. I guess if you hate vinegar… don’t use this recipe? It has never even crossed my mind that it has a vinegary taste. You are only adding 1 cup to about 10+ cups of other stuff!
Love love love it and am hoping 10 batches will be enough this year, last year we ran out and I almost cried! :)
How will it affect the taste if distilled white vinegar is used, rather than Acv? Is it pretty important, you think?
You can easily use distilled white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.
Welp… I have nothing to say about Vinegar so there’s that. ;-)
I am wondering if I can use 1.5 pint jars instead of 1 pint jars? I plan to double your recipe. Any reason you can think of why I can’t do that or maybe even quart size?
You can use whatever size canning jars you want. I find pint sized to be the most practical for the amount of salsa that we use at a time.
Thank you! :)
Can I make this salsa the night before and can it the next day if I bring it to a boil before I can it?
Yes, as long as you water bath it for the recommended time.
Great, yummy recipe – thanks, Elise! Starting my second batch after a successful first batch….but now I see I’m low on apple cider vinegar. I’m wondering if white vinegar can be substituted?
Sure, you can use white vinegar instead of cider vinegar.
I just made a batch of this absolutely WONDERFUL salsa!!! I’m not one to follow recipes to the letter but I came pretty close on this one with GREAT results. Your tips about ingredient amounts and timing were perfect.
I did change the amount of onions and cilantro: 1/2 cup shallots and 1 and 1/2 cup of cilantro. This still equaled 2 cups for those ingredients. I’m allergic to onions and shallots in small amounts are not offensive to me.
For the peppers I used 3 Anaheims and 2 poblanos. That resulted is a richer, smokier pepper taste.
Bottled lime juice was perfect. Added a little more sugar at the final tasting.
In closing, I HIGHLY recommend broiling the tomatoes. The flavor is enhanced and “peeling” involved picking the skin up with my fingers.
Thanks so much.
I’m going to try this salsa and was just wondering if I could add extra onion like a 1/4 cup to a 1/2 cup also could I add some lime juice along with the vinegar?
Hi Katie, if I were adding more onion, I would also increase the acid by a bit, and yes, you could add some lime juice with the vinegar.
Just made this, barely got 5 pint jars out of it, but if my taste test before canning is any forecast, this will be the best salsa ever. I used a couple more jalapenos, a couple more cloves of garlic (they’re so small!), and a few of the tiny extra hot peppers from this one plant in our garden.
Had a bit of a problem getting the Anaheim peppers to scorch and then peel, but they added body to the sauce. Needed to add the juice from the 5 pounds of raw tomatoes to make 7-1/2 cups total. Looking forward to eating this, although I doubt it will last 3 months much less 6. Thanks for the recipe!!
I used your recipe last night. It is the best (and hottest) salsa I have ever made. I love it! I’ll be making two more batches tonight. Thanks for sharing!
I made your salsa today and it’s great. I used 5 lbs of tomatoes but ended up with 4.5 cups of chopped tomatoes because I missed the part that said to reserve the juices therefore ended up with only 3.5 pints. Will that have an effect on the acidity level? Should I have added more ACV? I’m thinking I may freeze this batch!
If you added the amount of vinegar the recipe calls for you should be fine on the acidity.
You may have already addressed this, but am I understanding that if I pressure can the salsa I can greatly reduce the vinegar?
Yes, though though these directions do not address pressure canning procedures.
If you like vinegar straight up then this recipe is for you. I don’t know what I was thinking when I read this recipe. The last time I used vinegar in a salsa recipe I swore I would never do it again. So I am going to add more tomatoes and juice to cut the vinegar taste and then freeze the salsa. Then carefully read recipes before I invest time and tomatoes in a recipe.
Hi Judy, this is a canning recipe and requires the vinegar to offset the lack of acidity in the chiles to keep the salsa shelf stable. If you make salsa that you intend to freeze instead of keeping in a cupboard, then anything goes. No vinegar necessary.
Could I substitute roasted jalapeños instead of the anaheims? I’ve got oodles from the garden and love hot salsa.
Yes, and that will make your salsa very hot!
Can I substitute the Anaheim peppers with green peppers? I was unable to find Anaheim peppers. If so, should I still roast them first?
You mean green bell peppers? I suppose so. And yes, you should roast and peel them first.
I am curious how this salsa turned out with green peppers? Also, is it necessary to peel them, or could I leave the skins on? I’ve never roasted peppers before, and I have an assortment of bell peppers I had planned on using in my salsa this year. Would that taste OK, do you think? Or should I try to hunt down some Anaheim peppers?
I didn’t have five pounds of tomatoes I halved the recipe, but I ended up getting 4.5 pints. I used 1/2 the vinegar. Should I start over?
Did you measure how much chopped tomatoes you had before cooking? 5 pounds should have yielded 7 to 8 cups, 2 1/2 pounds should have yielded 3 1/2 to 4 cups. I don’t know what to tell you about what to do here, as I don’t know how you ended up with 4 1/2 pints if you started with 2 1/2 pounds of tomatoes, and halved everything else. I certainly wouldn’t throw it out though, just refrigerate it.
This was my first go at from-scratch salsa and just my second salsa, period. (Used the Mrs. Wages’ mix a couple weeks back.) Not only is the recipe very easy to do, it’s fabulously delicious! My tomatoes must have been very sweet, because I couldn’t even taste the vinegar and really didn’t need to add the sugar at all. Can’t wait to make this again! As an added bonus, I froze the roasted tomato and chile skins and will grind them up for addtional flavoring in chili or pasta sauce this winter.
Would I be able to eliminate the Anaheim chilies and just use the 3 jalapenos without affecting the recipe? I personally don’t care for too many peppers in my salsa.
You can eliminate the Anaheim chiles, though of course it will affect the taste of the salsa. If you eliminate the chiles you will probably want to cut back the vinegar. I would use 2/3 of a cup of vinegar instead of a whole cup if I did not add the Anaheim chiles. I would also add an additional cup of chopped tomatoes. Please note that I have not made this salsa without the Anaheims and jalapenos. I recommend looking for a published recipe somewhere else, that has the ingredients in the proportions you want.
Alright, thank you!
Can I add roasted corn to this?
Not without more vinegar. If you want to add corn, I would swap out an equal amount of the onions and/or chiles. If the total combined amount of low acids foods (onion, chiles, corn) stays the same in proportion to the tomatoes, then you don’t have to change the amount of vinegar.
What would I change the vinegar to if I wanted the same amount of chiles & onion? Not to be difficult- but wondering…
I don’t know. That’s why I suggest cutting back on the chiles and onions. If I were to take the time to figure it out, I would weigh the chiles and onions in the recipe and make a ratio with the vinegar, then weigh the amount of corn I wanted to add and add a proportional amount of vinegar. Good luck!
I ended up with 4 quarts and didn’t use any peppers other than the jalapeños. I added 1 c. Of vinegar per instructions. Will this be ok?
Hi Sara, the instructions call for 1 cup of vinegar to go with 5 pounds of tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups onions, 1 to 1 1/2 cups of green chiles, and 3 jalapenos. This recipe produces about 5 to 6 PINTS of salsa. If you have 4 quarts (12 pints), that tells me that you started with a heck of a lot more tomatoes than 5 pounds. Canning recipes for low acid foods, if you are going to water bath can them, need to be followed precisely, otherwise, pressure can them, or store them in the refrigerator.
I shied away from canning salsa, after making a small batch with the Ball mix. What a huge disappointment! But after our tomatoes starting coming in like a flood, I started to look for a home made recipe and chose this one. WOW! This recipe is great! I can’t wait till it sits for a while, like a fine wine. Of course, I never can leave anything alone. I like my salsa mild, so I dropped the jalapeno to 1 for a double batch. Puts just a little bite to it. I also added 1 – 6OZ can of tomato paste / patch to thicken it up a bit. Then, in the last half of the batch, I added a half bag of Market Day frozen corn (the stuff you get from the schools). Should be outstanding. A double recipe made 7 quarts for me.
I have a steam canner I have used for years instead of a hot water bath. Does the time change for processing?
I don’t know. I don’t have a pressure canner. I think there are other variables at play here, the weight level that produces the pressure, and the altitude. I would consult a canning book that details what you need to do for pressure canning.
Amazing! Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe. Easy to follow and it’s now my go-to. I was able to get all the ingredients from my garden except cilantro. My tomatoes are super sweet this year so I didn’t even add sugar. I’ve made 2 batches so far and I hope to harvest more tomatoes for a 3rd!
Lemons and limes are more acidic than vinegar, but a cup is too much. Its insanity.
Tomatoes vary in their levels of acidity and sweetness, depending on the time of year, the type of tomato, and the specific growing conditions. If your salsa is too acidic in taste, add more sugar. If it is too sweet, add more vinegar. If you do not like the taste of vinegar, you can use lemon juice, but the proportions are probably different because of the different levels of acidity. You’ll have to consult a canning book, such as one put out by Ball, for the exact amounts. Again, this is a safety issue, mostly because the salsa includes roasted chiles which are not at all acidic! That’s where you will get your botulism if you don’t add enough acid to the salsa. If this were just a tomato canning recipe, all you would need is a tablespoon of lemon juice or so, because tomatoes are naturally acidic as well as sweet.
Gina, for perspective, some similarly sized salsa recipes call for 1 1/4 cups of vinegar! Avoiding and preventing botulinum toxin is vital to one’s health, errr and potentially one’s life as exposure to this bacteria can kill, hence use of vinegar. . . . Elise, thanks for your great blog and this recipe. I’m canning salsa for the first time with a pressure canner (I’ve used a water bath in the past), so I realize I could have put in less vinegar but hey, I like the flavor. ;-) Thanks again!
Ruined all of my gorgeous vegetables with amount of vinegar in this recipe. It just has a vinegar taste. It is super disappointing and waistful. Cut the vinegar in half or use lime juice as others have suggested…or another recipe. Terrible!
This is a canning recipe and requires vinegar, unless you pressure can. Most people don’t have a pressure canner and rely on water bath boiling to finish the canning process. The 212°F temperature of a water bath is not high enough to kill dangerous bacteria in low acid foods. There isn’t enough acid in tomatoes to can them safely without vinegar if you are using the water bath method.
I cannot emphasize this enough, do NOT reduce the vinegar amounts in this recipe! Add some sugar to offset the vinegar taste, but do not reduce the amount of vinegar if you are planning to can using a water bath method.
If you cannot stand the vinegar taste, and adding sugar doesn’t help, then I recommend purchasing a pressure canner and using that to can tomato salsa.
Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that 212 F (boiling) for a sufficient period of time DOES kill the dangerous bacteria, but you can’t be certain not to reintroduce them in the absence of a sterile environment?
No, the 212F boiling temperature is insufficient to kill botulism bacteria, for that the temperature you need is 240F which you can only get through pressure canning. That is, if you don’t have enough vinegar or acid. If the mixture is acidic enough, the botulism bacteria cannot survive. In jam recipes, the fruit is naturally acidic and the sugar in the recipe will also kill bacteria (sugar sucks the H2O out of the bacteria cells, if there is enough sugar), but this isn’t a sweet recipe, so we have to rely on acid, which we are getting from the vinegar. See http://foodpreservation.about.com/od/Canning/a/Removing-The-Risk-Of-Botulism-From-Canning-What-You-Need-To-Know.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botulism for more details.
We have canned regular old tomatoes for storage with a tsp of salt per qt and have never had a problem… is it because of the salt that it is safe, or is this method not recommended any more as well??
Hi Julie, it’s the acidity in the tomatoes that keeps them safe when you can them. Usually it’s recommended that you add a little bit of lemon juice or vinegar to the tomatoes just to make sure that the acid level is high enough. 1 teaspoon of salt for a quart isn’t enough to help preserve the tomatoes.
I’m with Gina… We just doubled this recipe and ALL came from our garden except for cilantro. So basically we just watched our garden grow these beautiful vegetables for the last few months (best year ever for our garden) so that we could turn them into vinegar soup! I hope to god the canning process has eliminated some of that vinegar flavor because I am embarrassed to even give some away to friends and family. WHY didn’t I listen to the warnings on this thread!? VERY Disappointing, something is wrong with this recipe… WAY to much vinegar.
I would like to say I appreciate your timely responses to your readers Elise… Just can’t get over what we have just done to our beautiful harvest that took months to grow. Besides the HOURS of labor making the salsa. I would suggest anyone using this recipe to try a half batch with store bought veggies BEFORE you sacrifice your harvest. Thanks
I’m confused about the too vinegary comment, while you can”t do less vinegar, add more sugar or tomatoes. I just made a double batch with 16 cups of tomatoes and doubled the sugar and am getting rave reviews. I roasted the tomatoes which gives them a lot of depth and added to the flavor.
Agreed, doubled the batch and added NO sugar… FABULOUS!!!
However… I do have rather sweet tasting tomato’s
I would cut the vinegar portion in half next time. Way too acidic!
If you cut the vinegar, then do not can it for shelf storage. The vinegar is needed to provide enough acid to prevent botulism. I balance the acidity by adding a bit of sugar, without the sugar I find the salsa to be too acidic for my taste. ~Elise
For those who’ve asked about subs. lime juice for vinegar, according to this: http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/PNW0395/PNW0395.pdf and http://pepin.uwex.edu/files/2010/10/CanningSalsaSafely.pdf one can subs. lime or lemon juice for vinegar but not the other way around. Bottled lemon or lime juice is more acidic than vinegar. So, substituting a cup of bottled lemon or lime juice in this recipe should be fine.
It may be too acidic, taste-wise, if you sub all the vinegar with lemon or lime juice. ~Elise
When I was canning this salsa I had a little bit that wouldn’t fit into the jars that I had, so I ate the salsa right away with chips. It was the best salsa I had ever tasted. That was back in September. I have been hoarding the jars for very special occasions because I like it so much. Last night my daughter, whom is moving 9 hours away, asked me if she could try some. I reluctantly took out a jar and when we tasted it we both agreed that it was too sweet for our tastes. I was very surprised at this because it was heavenly back when I made the batch. I would like to try making this again, but I don’t want it to be sweet like that. In your opinion, can I leave out the sugar? Or should I use regular vinegar? If I use regular vinegar, should I put less in the recipe? Or simply add more peppers? Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.
Hi Kathleen, you can reduce or leave out the sugar, but don’t cut back on the vinegar, if you are planning for shelf storage. ~Elise
Can I use fresh oregano instead of dried one?
Yes, use twice as much. ~Elise
OMG OMG OMG I made this last night and I don’t recall having salsa that tasted this good!! Thank you so much for this recipe. I am bummed that I didn’t find it earlier when I had been canning stewed tomatoes. I might just have to head back to the farmers market on Tuesday and get more.
Made this last night. I doubled the recipe and it made 11 pints. I also added a touch extra sugar, salt and cumin, and I minced up a habanero to add. Tasty!
I have been making salsa for years and bring the salsa to a boil,the jars in a boiling bath as are the lids. After I can the jars I do not do the hot bath just let them cool. This has worked for me and I have recently opened and consumed a jar from 2004 am I lucky or good?
I have canned tomatoes like that for years because that’s the way my mother taught me. And I’ve always had great success. But it is not recommended by most experts. The secret to canning that way is that EVERYTHING has to be hot, hot, hot. The salsa needs to boil for quiet a long time. Not just brought to a boil. Therefore the tomatoes will be mushier than if you just boil them and process in the boiling water bath. The jars and lids need to be extremely hot, too. You, obviously, know what you are doing. I wouldn’t recommend this method unless you are a very experienced canner.
I do the same thing with tomato juice. My grandmother taught me. We stew the tomatoes, run them through the mill, and bring the juice to a rolling boil 10 minutes or so, fill in hot jars from the oven, and let rest on the counter. They all pop (I’ve never had one not seal). I’ve used them a good number of years afterward, and they are just fine. :) Glad to hear I’m not the only one that does it the “old” way!
I used organic apple cider vinegar that is unfiltered. Does that affect the acidity?
Should be fine. But to be sure, look at the label. It should be at least 5% acidity. If it is lower, then you shouldn’t use it. ~Elise
I just made this – doubled it because of my abundance of ‘maters in my garden! It’s wonderful! I love taste the apple cider vinegar adds! Thanks for the wonderful step by step directions to make it and can it.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Hi there! I’ve just discovered your blog today (thanks to a recommendation from Liana Krissoff in Canning for a New Generation)! I am wanting to try this salsa but can’t find Anaheim chiles. Would using poblanos adversely alter the acidity or would that be an OK substitution?
I think you would be fine with poblanos. You would just use fewer of them. ~Elise
I made your salsa today and it is the best salsa I have ever had! Thanks for posting the recipe :)
I use a variety of peppers (mild to super hot) to get a depth of heat. I make mild, medium and hot. I do taste the salsa throughout the process, and add more peppers as needed. I find that my salsa is too runny. I do drain the tomatoes before I start the salsa, but I still need to cook it at a slow temperature for about 2 hours. I am going to squeeze the juice out of it today to see if that helps. Thanks for the great recipe.
Made the salsa this weekend, first time canning. The directions were outstanding and the whole process was successful taking about two hours start to finish. Would like to tweak for taste by adding lime juice and more heat – I used some jalepeno seeds. Any recommendations on how much lime juice and by addiing do I need to adjust amounts of other ingredients? How about more heat?
You can add more lime juice, as much as you want, as it is very acidic, and it’s the acidity that keeps the canned salsa safe. As for the heat, I would just taste the salsa and keep adding seeds until you get to the point of heat you like. Do note that jalapenos are notoriously un-uniform. In other words sometimes you get some peppers that are crazy hot, sometimes you get peppers with no heat. You really should taste them first, to check, before you put them in anything. ~Elise
I made this salsa over the weekend and was really happy with the result! However, I could not find a steamer rack at my local store, but a woman working there recommend that I just set a small towel on the bottom of the stock pot. That method worked really well for us and is a great substitute in lack of a steamer rack! Thanks for the great recipe!
I also have a ton of tomatoes this year. I have been making spaghetti sauce, stewed tomatoes and salsa for the freezer. I used to can my salsa but I’m too lazy to do it now. I find freezing it is simple and the salsa is great when thawed.
Just finished making it with Hatch Chiles. Turned out fabulous. Problem is my DH probably won’t eat store bought anymore.
Thanks for the quick respond. One other question – I wasn’t in the kitchen while the salsa was cooling, so I never heard a pop. Is there a way to tell now whether or not the jars sealed correctly?
Yes. If you gently press your finger on the top of the lid, it should feel firm. If it moves up and down, it isn’t sealed. You can try this on an empty, unsealed jar with a lid for comparison. ~Elise
I’m canning my salsa now and it tastes VERY sweet. Will this disappear overtime?
No, you may want to add more vinegar. ~Elise
Do you think this recipe would work just as well in a pressure canner instead of a water bath canner?
Yes, and if you used a pressure canner you wouldn’t need to use as much vinegar. I don’t have pressure canning instructions though. ~Elise
I made this yesterday with some of my homegrown tomatoes and it came out incredibly tasty! I did, however, use a tad more more cilantro and garlic than the recipe called for.
Unfortunately, one jar didn’t seal properly but guess what I’ve been snacking on all afternoon!
I am going to make your salsa this weekend. I made your tomato pie last weekend it was awesome! What type of salt do you use for the salsa; kosher, sea salt, table salt etc. Thanks for your help!
I use Kosher salt for just about everything. ~Elise
Sounds like a very easy recipe even for someone like me who has never canned before. How do you store them? Do they have to be kept in an area with a specific temperature?
You can store them in a cupboard or pantry with your other canned goods. Away from light. Keep them relatively cool. ~Elise
When the tomatoes over run our ability to consume them I’ll can, freeze, sauce, juice, and salsa them also. One other thing I do is to slice, dehydrate, then smoke them. Once they are nicely smoked I put them through the spice grinder to make smoked tomato powder for various uses. Adds a nice smoky flavor to soups, stews, dips, sauces or even chili.
That sounds amazing! I’ll have to give it a go!
Is it possible to substitute lime juice for the cider vinegar? I really do not like the tang of vinegar in salsa!
Not if you plan to can it for shelf storage. But, if you just want to make some to refrigerate and use fresh, then sure. It’s probably not a one to one substitution. I would add it to taste. ~Elise
Was there a certain breed of tomatoes you used specifically for canning?
I think plum tomatoes work best, that said, for this batch I used a mix of plum tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes and just plain ole tomatoes. ~Elise
Looks great! In response to Courtney’s question about vinegar – I wouldn’t reduce the amount because the acidity may not be high enough for canning safely, but it would be perfectly OK to increase it a little.
Is it possible to adjust the peppers (and also the vinegar amounts) to increase the spice level? Or should you add cayenne or red chili flakes to accomplish that?
The recipe calls for de-seeding the jalapenos. If you want more heat, just add in some of the jalapeno seeds. Do not reduce the vinegar amount. ~Elise
You may substitute lime juice if bottled and not fresh.
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