Canned Tomato Salsa

This is a family recipe from my friend Stephanie. The cooked salsa is similar to jarred supermarket salsa, like Pace. She used to make this years ago so we decided to have a Salsa Canning party and make 4 batches, for our families and gifts. I can already tell that we will need to make another batch soon.


We got our tomatoes at the local Farmer's Market (Forty pounds of tomatoes is a lot!). I think the salsa cost us about $2.50 a quart, which is not a lot of savings if you are buying from the supermarket. Tomatoes and canning jars (which are reusable) were the bulk of the cost.


  • 10 lb. ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped (approx 12 cups)*
  • 1 1/4 cups green peppers, chopped
  • 3 cups onions, chopped
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped or 1 small (4 oz.) can**
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. pickling salt
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 2 large cans tomato paste (12 oz. each)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, or to taste

*I have found that 10 pounds of tomatoes is about half a paper or reusable grocery sack, or will fill up a plastic grocery bag. Figure 3 large or 6 small tomatoes per pound.

To peel tomatoes, cut an "X" at one end and submerge them into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Then dunk them into a icewater bath and the skin will pull off easily.

**Leave the veins and seeds in fresh jalapenos for spicy salsa. We seeded ours and it is very mild.


Place all ingredients into large kettle. Simmer until desired thickness is reached, 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Check seasonings at end and adjust to your personal taste. Add the cilantro at this time, so that the fresh flavor will not be cooked away.

Pour into sterile pint or quart canning jars. Leave about 1/4 inch headroom, to avoid problems in storage. Seal immediately with a hot water bath.


This will yield approximately 5 quarts. The salsa should be good for up to a year, if it lasts that long.


Wear rubber gloves when chopping fresh jalapeno peppers. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to also wear them for the onions and tomatoes.

Have your canning jars sterilized and ready to be filled and sealed. Make sure you have a few more than you need, just in case. I think we got 11 pints per batch.

You can get most of these spices on the Hispanic or Ethnic section of your grocery store. They will come in packages instead of bottles and are usually much cheaper. You can also buy spices in bulk many places.

If you are trying to use your home grown tomatoes but are not getting 10 pounds at a time, peel and chop tomatoes as you harvest them and store them in the freezer until you gather enough. The freezing will soften the tomatoes but the cooking will do that anyhow so the resulting salsa should be about the same.


Be sure to label your salsa with the date and version, especially if you can other things, like stewed tomatoes, soups or spaghetti sauce. Store it in sight, so you don't forget about it. Stephanie found several full jars that had been replaced in the canning jar boxes from years ago.

In addition to just opening a jar to eat with chips, you can also use it as a base for chili or thicken it for an enchilada sauce.

Feel free to add, subtract or substitute ingredients. Some ideas are:

  • Green tomatoes or tomatillos for tomatoes
  • Habenero or serrano chiles instead of jalapenos
  • Canned tomatoes instead of fresh
  • Add corn or beans to make the salsa more nutritious
  • Fire roast the veggies on the grill for a smokey flavor
  • Use apple cider vinegar or lime juice instead of white vinegar

Once you have perfected your own recipe, it is just as easy to make a double batch. We had a festive Mexican dinner after all the cooking, with chips and salsa, of course! It would be a fun yearly event. We served grilled shrimp tacos and crockpot salsa chicken. We just put the chicken in the crockpot with some taco seasonings and a bit of water to cook. We added about a cup of salsa when we had that ready and it was succulent and tender.


Source: My friend Stephanie and her family cookbook, with some changes

By Jess (TF Editor)

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September 18, 20090 found this helpful

That Salsa looks great. It may cost just as much to make fresh as it does to buy but you made it yourself and you know what went in to it. Made with loving hands & heart. Good Work!

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful

It was very delicious! We made a second, more spicy batch and both were gone by January. I will definitely make more as soon as tomato season rolls around.

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September 21, 20100 found this helpful

Tried your recipe and loved it, although I substituted basil for cilanto because I do not like cilantro. I made 10 pints on 9-18-2010 and 10 more on 9-20-10. Still have lots more tomatoes in garden so may even make more before season ends.

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September 10, 20110 found this helpful

If you scoop out the seeds from your tomatoes first they will have a much sweeter taste when canned. You will notice that commercially canned tomatoes do not have many seeds in them.

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September 1, 20160 found this helpful

I read through your recipe but you did not give the time to process and to look at a general canning guide. The range is between 10 to 25 minuted to process. Could you please tell me the time you did?


Thank you.

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