Make the most of your garden produce with this easy canned salsa recipe. It’s such a satisfying feeling to see the jars of canned salsa lined up on the pantry shelf, and it’s simpler than you might think. As a gardener with over 20 years of trial and error (and error and error) experience growing vegetables, all I ask of my tomato, pepper, and onion plants is that they provide enough bounty for me to make my favorite salsa recipe. This year, we had a hot, dry summer, so the salsa is definitely going to happen. Here’s my recipe for easy canned salsa, ready for you to use.
As a bonus, for the first time, I grew tomatillos. This recipe, which I’ve adapted from one published years ago in Fine Gardening magazine, calls for tomatillos, but I’ve never had them on hand to use. I try, as much as possible, to source the ingredients from my own garden, so I’m excited to finally get to use them.
***Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.*** Already know what you’d like to get from Amazon? Here’s a handy way to get to the website, linked to some sea salt and lime tortilla chips, which would go well with this salsa recipe. Just click on the link, then browse around and do your shopping.
No Tomatillos? No Problem!
If you have no tomatillos, just chop a few extra cups of tomatoes. Some years I have tomatillos, and some years I don’t. This recipe is very versatile, so the salsa will still taste great!
Are There Any Shortcuts to Chopping the Ingredients?
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to chopping tomatoes and the other fresh ingredients for this recipe. Part of the appeal of salsa is that the vegetables are chunky. Chopping the tomatoes for this salsa recipe in a food processor would just turn the tomatoes to mush. Believe me, I have tried to think of ways to speed up the chopping process. Here are two things that make it easier and more bearable.
- Watch a movie. I like to watch something sappy on the Hallmark Channel, Turner Classis Movies, or the Disney Channel. Please don’t judge me. Find something enjoyable to watch or listen to and have fun.
- Use an effective knife for chopping the tomatoes. I use a serrated knife, similar to the one shown below. If you have a good knife, you will make the best use of your time by chopping efficiently.
Need a Thicker Salsa?
Sometimes homemade salsa can be runny. Runny salsa does not stay on tortilla chips very well, so I like to add tomato paste. I’ve used this little trick for years, and it does make a difference.
I wouldn’t attempt this recipe without the following items which are essential to a smooth canning process. The first item is my trusty 22-quart Pressure Canner and Cooker. With this, I can process up to 16 pints of salsa at one time.
The second essential item is my 5-Piece Home Canning Kit, which I have had for at least 15 years. I detested canning before I made this purchase because I made such a mess all over the kitchen. The tools in the set, especially the funnel, have cut down on the canning mess immensely. I am also able to safely handle the hot jars using the tongs, lid lifter, jar wrench, and jar lifter. I would have given up canning long ago were it not for these tools. They have made that much of a difference.
You’ll also need canning jars and lids, which you can buy together.
If you already have jars and screw bands, you can also just buy more lids.
Easy Canned Salsa Ingredients:
4 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 10 cups)
1 pound tomatillos, if you have them, husked and coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
4 large green, red or orange bell peppers, coarsely chopped (about 6 cups)
3 large onions, coarsely chopped (about 5 cups)
6 jalapeno peppers, or other hot peppers, such as wax or banana peppers, seeded and chopped
2/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves, large stems removed (optional)
1 head garlic (about 12 medium cloves), minced
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
Salt to taste
4 teaspoons cumin powder (optional)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
Chop tomatoes and tomatillos and place in an 8-quart pot. ***Bonus tip: To cut down on the mess when chopping a large quantity of tomatoes, place a big, old towel underneath the cutting board.***
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently, and if necessary, spoon off excess juice to leave about half a pot of pulp.
While tomatoes are cooking, chop the peppers and add them to the mixture, since they take longer to cook than the onions.
When the peppers and chopped and added, chop the onions and mince the garlic, then add to the mixture. I love adding red (although they look more purple) onions to the mixture for color.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring back to a boil. Cook until peppers are tender, stirring often. Pour salsa into pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace, and process the jars in a pressure canner for 10 minutes at 15 pounds of pressure.
Makes about 7 pints.
Easy Canned Salsa
- Pressure cooker
- Canning kit
- Canning jars, lids and bands
- 10 cups tomatoes coarsely chopped
- 4 cups tomatillos husked and coarsely chopped
- 6 cups bell peppers coarsely chopped
- 5 cups onions coarsely chopped
- 6 jalapeno peppers or other hot peppers chopped, seeds removed if desired
- ⅔ cup cilantro leaves chopped, stems removed (optional)
- 1 head garlic (about 12 cloves) minced
- ½ cup cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar (more or less to taste)
- 4 teaspoons salt (more or less to taste)
- 4 teaspoons cumin powder (optional)
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- Chop tomatoes and tomatillos and place in an 8-quart pot.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently, and if necessary, spoon off excess juice to leave about half a pot of pulp.
- While tomatoes are cooking, chop the peppers and add them to the mixture, since they take longer to cook than the onions.
- When the peppers and chopped and added, chop the onions and mince the garlic, then add to the mixture.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring back to a boil. Cook until peppers are tender, stirring often.
- Pour salsa into pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
- Process the jars in a pressure canner for 10 minutes at 15 pounds of pressure.
Does it Matter Which Kind of Pepper You Use?
Although the recipe calls for bell peppers and a hot pepper such as jalapeno, wax, or banana, many different kinds of peppers may be used. My recipe turns out differently each year because I don’t always grow the same kind of peppers. I can usually find starts of bell peppers to plant in the garden each year, but the other varieties vary. It just depends on what I can find in the store. Where I live, the growing season isn’t long enough to grow peppers from seed. When I found Cayenne, Serrano, and Padron peppers to plant, that’s what I used in the salsa.
What About the Cilantro?
Cilantro is definitely optional in this recipe. Some people love it, some people don’t. I usually leave it out simply because it’s not something that I grow in my garden. Even if you don’t grow it, bunches of fresh cilantro are readily available at most grocery stores.
Is this a Mild Salsa Recipe?
If you take all of the seeds out of the hot peppers, yes, this salsa is very mild. Someone in my family likes spicy salsa, so I elected not to remove all of the pepper seeds. I removed the seeds from the bell peppers, I did not remove the seeds from the hot peppers, and the salsa turned out to have just the right spice factor. In years past, if I felt the salsa wasn’t spicy enough, I added chili powder and red pepper flakes.
What if You End up with More than 7 Pints?
You can also heat an extra pint jar and lid, just in case you need it, along with setting an extra screw band aside. The canner will actually hold nine pint jars in a single layer. If you only have enough for a partial jar, just refrigerate the extra, then use it in a quick meal (see below).
A Wide Variety of Uses
One thing I especially appreciate about this salsa is its versatility. If I need a quick dinner, I can just open a couple of pints of the salsa, add a can of corn, a can of kidney beans and a container of Meat Mix (see past post) to a pot for speedy taco soup. I can mix the salsa into an egg casserole to give it a southwest touch. The possibilities are vast for this pantry staple.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. It’s an excellent way to make good use of garden produce and can be enjoyed for months to come whenever a new jar is opened. Do you have any salsa tips or canning tips to share? As always, I enjoy reading any comments you care to post.
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Have a fabulous day, and have fun making super easy canned salsa!