Safely canning salsa, experiment with flavors

·4 min read
Melinda Hill
Melinda Hill

This is the of year that brings many of our favorite vegetables to harvest and especially those to make a delicious salsa. Whether you are growing your own vegetables, or purchasing at a farm market or the grocery, the flavor of home grown is incomparable. The most common ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, peppers and other fresh vegetables and herbs are abundant for you to test several recipes and find your favorite.

If you are making fresh salsa to eat or store in the refrigerator you don’t have to worry about the recipe you use or the mixture of low-acid and high-acid foods. But if you intend on canning salsa for later use it is important to use a tested and approved recipe. There are several available at the National Center for Home Food Preservation or

More:Questions and answers for canning season

As you consider selecting Ingredients to make your favorite recipe remember these hints:

  • Tomatoes – any type of tomato can be used but for a thicker salsa select a paste tomato such as Roma. Green tomatoes can also be used. Make sure tomatoes are ripe and in peak condition for use as over or underripe fruit may produce low quality salsa

  • Peppers – from mild to fiery hot in taste, select a variety that suits your palate. Finely chopped and hot peppers, such as Jalapeno, usually are not skinned, but the seeds in hot peppers are often removed. The skin of long green chilies can be tough and can be removed by heating the peppers. To peel, slit each pepper along the side to allow steam to escape. (To learn how to prepare the peppers, see the fact sheet listed above).

  • Spices – cilantro and cumin are commonly used to make a spicy salsa.

Experiment with ingredients adding onions, beans, corn and other favorites to your homemade salsa. Just remember that this homemade salsa must be eaten fresh or stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. In order to preserve salsa through home canning a research-tested recipe must be used for a safe product.

Here’s a little different recipe you might like to try that’s also from the Ohioline fact sheet.

Peach Apple Salsa

Yields 7 pints

  • 6 cups (2¼ pounds) chopped Roma tomatoes

  • 2½ cups diced yellow onions (about 1 pound)

  • 2 cups chopped green bell peppers (about 1½ large peppers)

  • 10 cups (3½ pounds) chopped hard, unripe peaches (about 9 medium peaches)

  • 2 cups chopped Granny Smith apples (2 large)

  • 4 tablespoons mixed pickling spice

  • 1 tablespoon canning salt

  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

  • 3¾ cups brown sugar, packed

  • 2¼ cups cider vinegar (5 percent)


  • Wash and rinse canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare lids according to manufacturer's directions.

  • Place pickling spice on a clean, double-layered, 6-inch square piece of 100 percent cheesecloth. Bring corners together and tie with a clean string.

  • Wash and peel tomatoes (place washed tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute, then immediately place in cold water and slip off skins). Chop into ½-inch pieces.

  • Peel, wash and dice onions into ¼-inch pieces.

  • Wash, core and seed bell peppers; chop into ¼-inch pieces.

  • Combine chopped vegetables into 8- or 10-quart Dutch oven or saucepot.

  • Wash, peel and pit peaches, and core apples; cut both into halves and soak for 10 minutes in an ascorbic acid solution (1,500 mg in ½ gallon of water). Drain fruit and chop into ½-inch cubes to prevent browning. Add to the saucepot with the vegetables.

  • Add the pickling spice bag to the saucepot; stir in salt, red pepper flakes, brown sugar and vinegar. Bring to boil and stir to mix ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove spice bag and discard.

  • With slotted spoon, fill salsa into hot, clean pint jars, leaving 1¼ inch of headspace. Cover with cooking liquid, leaving ½ inch of headspace Remove air bubbles and wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids.

  • Process in a boiling water canner according to recommendations listed at the end of the recipes.

  • Serve as a side or spooned on top of grilled pork or other meats.

Process this salsa as a hot pack in pint jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes (under 1,000 feet or 20 minutes over 1,000).

Important Note

The only changes you can safely make in the salsa recipes are to substitute bottled lemon juice for the vinegar and to change the amount of pepper and salt. Do not alter the proportions of vegetables to acid and tomatoes because it might make the salsa unsafe.

If you have questions, please check out National Center for Home Food Preservation web site or give me a call at 330-264-8722.

Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visit

This article originally appeared on The Daily Record: Making salsa is a great opportunity to experiment with flavors