Recipes for Canning Hot and Mild Salsa

Recipes for Canning Hot and Mild Salsa

Most all salsa canning recipes are a mixture of low acid (peppers, onions, garlic) and high acid foods (tomatoes, vinegar, lime juice). It is important to have an overall high acid salsa mixture when using the water bath canning method. Otherwise the salsa could be susceptible to Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which can result in a deadly salsa.

Selecting Tomatoes

The ripeness and type of tomato affects the quality of the salsa. Starting with tomato paste made from Roma tomatoes will result in a thicker salsa. If your salsa is

Overly ripe tomatoes do not make for good canning and salsa. Using poor quality tomatoes can result in premature spoilage of the canned salsa. The salsa will not taste as well.

Selecting Peppers

Only use high quality peppers or chilies in your salsa. Don’t use over ripe or near spoiled peppers. The resulting salsa will be bad and may spoil in the canning jar.

Substituting of peppers is perfectly ok. You can replace hot peppers such as jalapeno with mild peppers like the Anaheim, Ancho, College, Colorado or Hungarian Yellow Wax peppers or any other mild peppers for a mild salsa. The hotter the pepper the hotter the salsa will be.

Do not increase or decrease the amount of peppers in the recipe. This will adversely affect the overall pH of the salsa and could allow the bad clostridium botulinum bacteria to grow in the canning jar.

Salsa Canning Recipe


  • 8 Finely chopped jalapenos, remove the seeds and inner membrane for a mild salsa
  • 1 Finely chopped habanero that has been de-seeded and the membrane removed
  • 4 1/2 pounds, by weight, of tomatoes
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped bell pepper (green or any other color)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1-2 5 ounce cans of tomato paste (depending on how thick you want your salsa to be)
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp pickling salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (for mild flavor, leave this out)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice

Finely chop the jalapenos. For mild salsa, slice the jalapeno length wise and scoop out the seeds and the inner membrane using a spoon.

Prepare the fresh tomatoes by removing the skin. Remove the skin by dipping the tomato into boiling water and waiting until the skin splits. This usually takes between 30 and 60 seconds. Move the tomato into cold water and remove the skin.

In a large sauce pan combine all of the ingredients, except for the lime juice. Bring to a vigorous boil and then back the heat off until a gentle boil is reached. Cook for 30 minutes until the desired consistency is reached.

While the salsa is cooking sterilize the canning jars, lids, canning funnel and non metallic spatula. Keep the jars hot since they will be hot packed in a water bath at 140 degrees F.

Remove from the heat and add the lime juice.

Ladle the hot salsa into the canning jars leaving 1/2 inch head space per jar. Remove air pockets with the spatula. Using a paper towel dipped in hot water wipe the rim of each jar clean.

Put a lid on each jar and tighten the ring finger tight.

Process the jars for 20 minutes in a hot water bath. I use a hot water bath canner to process the canning jars since it has a wire basket that keeps the jars off of the bottom of the water canner and makes it easy to lift the jars out of the water bath after the processing time is over. Don’t let the jars sit in the hot water longer than the recommended processing time as the salsa could spoil.

Place a towel on the counter top and set the jars on it to cool. Don’t use a fan to cool the jars, the jars may break. Once cool, test the seal by pressing down on the lid. The lid should suck down and not pop back up. Move the jar of any lid that pops back up into the refrigerator and use up in the next two weeks.

Is it safe to reuse canning jar lid after it has been used once to seal a canning jar? Many home canners reuse the lids because they look ok and it saves them money on lids. How safe is this practice? What are the risks in reusing used canning lids?

The Author:

Ann Richter

Photo. Linda Taylor


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