Garden Fresh Salsa for Canning

DSC_9669 2

My family loves Salsa.  I make two types of salsa, a fresh pico de gallo that I can chop up and have on the table in just a few minutes, and this recipe for canning.  The addition of the fresh cherry tomatoes, lime juice, and cilantro help keep that fresh from the garden taste, even after cooking and canning.  Canning salsa gives me access to my organic garden all year long.  If you are new to canning I would suggest you do a little review on the in’s and out’s of boiling water canning.  (See tips below)

My mom was here and spent the week with me.  I love it when she comes during canning season.  Thanks for all the chopping help and the fresh cherry tomatoes from your garden.

Garden Fresh Salsa for Canning

  • Servings: 6-7 (500ml jars)
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


  • Jalapeño peppers – For mild salsa (use 2-3) medium (use 4-5) hot (use 6-7+) finely chopped
  • 8 cups (3.5 lbs) tomatoes coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups (1-1/3 lbs, 600 gr) chopped onion
  • 1-1/2 cups (12 oz, 345 grams) finely chopped green pepper (2 large)
  • 1-1/2 cups (12 oz, 345 grams) finely chopped red pepper (2 large)
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • Tomato paste (156 ml, 5.27 oz can)
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar (can use white)
  • *1/4 cup honey, maple syrup, or organic cane sugar – this is optional.  If your tomatoes are really sweet, cut this amount to 1 tbsp or leave out all together.
  • 1 tsp cumin or cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Prepare in advance, and add when directed
  • 1-1/2 cups finely chopped yellow, and red cherry tomatoes ( you can use roma or any other tomato variety you like however, remove the juice and seeds)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (fresh) 2 limes
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (don’t pack down)

DSC_9566Blanche the tomatoes to remove the skins.  On the bottom of each tomato score an X with a sharp knife.  Fill a medium-large sized pot 3/4 full of water and turn on high to bring to a boil.  Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and water.  Set this beside the stove, close to the pot of boiling water.DSC_9564Bring a pot of water to boiling and add the tomatoes and let blanch for 40-60 seconds.  DSC_9569You should see the skin lifting at the X or splitting away from the tomatoes.   Using a slotted spoon remove the tomatoes and place in the bowl of ice water to cool.
DSC_9570Now pull the skin away from the tomato. If it’s not pulling away, it needed to be blanched a little longer.
DSC_9574 Set aside for chopping once all the tomatoes are peeled.DSC_9578Coarsely chop the tomatoes and add to a large stainless steel or enamel pot.DSC_9576Because I dislike chopping large amounts of onions by hand, I use my food processor to chop them.  This batch can be doubled or tripled.  You will need to increase the cooking time by 5-6 minutes per added batch.DSC_9577 Add to the pot
DSC_9585 Again I use the food processor to chop the red and green peppers.
DSC_9589 Wear rubber gloves when removing the seeds, white fleshy pulp and finely chopping peppers.  I have paid the price of not doing so…and I wouldn’t wish those burning hours on anybody.DSC_9590I use my food processor and toss the garlic in at the same time.
DSC_9591 Ready to add to the large pot with the other ingredients
DSC_9592 Add the tomato paste.  It’s an important part of this recipe.  It helps thicken the sauce so that it doesn’t need to be cooked down too far that we lose all the freshness of the vegetables.  It adds color and a richer taste to the salsa.
DSC_9600_2 Add the cider vinegarDSC_9601 The salt DSC_9602 The cumin
DSC_9603 The pepperDSC_9604 And the honeyDSC_9605 Stir to combine and bring to a boil and keep boiling gently for 20 minutes (Add the extra 5-6 minutes of boiling time if batch is doubled)DSC_9616Finely chop the cilantro and set aside.  

Fill the boiling water canner with water and place the 7- 500ml jars in canner and bring to a boil over high heat.  Place the snap lids in a small bowl or pot and pour boil water over them and set aside until ready to use.

DSC_9608Once the salsa has boiled for 20 minutes add the lime juice, and chopped cherry tomatoes
DSC_9614 Boil for 10 minutes longer
DSC_9617Add the fresh cilantro turn off the heat.  Cover while you remove the jars from the canner.  I like to place them on a clean tea towel beside the stove.  Place a sterilized wide mouth funnel on top of the hot  jars and ladle the salsa into the jars filling within 1 inch from to top jar rim.  Remove any excess salsa that may have spilled on the rim of the jar with a clean cloth.   Place the pre-softened lid on the jars and add the screw band closing to fingertip tight.  Place the filled jars back in the canner.

Cover the canner and bring the water back to a boil for 20 minutes.  Remove the jars and place back on a clean tea towel on the counter.  You may hear a loud popping sound as the jars seal.  The lid pops inward towards the salsa.  This can happen immediately or within the hour as they cool.  Store the jars of salsa in a cool, dark place until ready to use.  (removing the screw band and wiping with a clean cloth is recommended)



The canning guidelines I have outlined here have proven successful canning results for me.  If this is your first time canning you should check out these guidelines for boiling water canning or the guidelines in your area.

2 thoughts on “Garden Fresh Salsa for Canning

  1. Craig Bobbitt says:

    Hi Mina……my name is Craig Bobbitt…we have met, I live in Glen Arbour, Stacey knows me .

    I planted a garden this year and want to try this recipe…..i am curious about the quantity of jalapenos….please clarify….is it mild , medium AND hot peppers or just one of those types… jalapenos were mildly hot at best last i checked….any other tips would be greatly appreciated …

    really like your website, say hi to Stacey


  2. The Handy Homemaker says:

    Hi Craig. Thanks for the message. Yes, we have met 🙂 Stacy says Hello to you. The (quantity means for a mild salsa use (2-3 jalapeños) medium heat salsa use (4-5) and for a nice hot salsa use (6-7+) meaning use as many as you like lol. I can’t handle tons of spicy heat but everyone else in our family loves HOT! So I make a batch of medium and a couple batches of hot. If I have an extra jalapeño or two, I use them all, no one has ever complained. I have used habanero and ghost peppers.. I used 6 as I was going for a (medium/hot) It was very spicy, I guess.. I never tried it.. But the spice lovers devoured it. Another tip… Taste your tomatoes. Tomato pastes can be sweet, so if your tomatoes are on the sweeter side you may want to reduce the type of sweetener or leave it out all together. We have a garden again this year. Lots of Tomatoes!! Labour of love… Stacy was the caretaker this year and did a great job. Let me know how you make out. Thanks for following 🙂


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