This fresh garden salsa is easy to make and the perfect salsa for canning, particularly if you’re new to cold pack canning for vegetables!
When we find ourselves with a glut of tomatoes, one of the first things we make is salsa. But, while we love fresh salsa, there is only so much you can eat in one summer.
Canning to the rescue!
Making Fresh Salsa: Choosing Hot Peppers
I don’t know about you, but I’ve come across some very heated (pun intended) debates over the amount of spice in salsa.
It’s a very personal choice.
We have used both jalapeno and Caribbean hot peppers in this salsa.
Do take a look at this post about how to choose hot peppers, when making your decision, but if you are just starting out, we would recommend starting with jalapenos. Jalapenos will give your salsa a flavor similar to a lot of store-bought brands, and they can be anywhere from mild to spicy, depending on how much veining appears on the individual pepper.
Keep in mind that the flavor of the peppers will mellow over time. A salsa that was quite hot when we packed it, became more of a medium salsa when we opened a jar about a year later.
Tasting your vegetable mixture (always with a clean spoon) will give you a good idea how hot your salsa will be. Ideally, you want the vegetable mixture a smidge hotter than the heat you desire from your salsa.
The Straining Method For Making Fresh Salsa For Canning
We have adapted our salsa method from Well Preserved. What is special about their method is the straining of the tomatoes before packing them. This straining and sweating of the tomatoes is the same concept for pulling the moisture out of zucchini before cooking. By pulling the moisture out of the tomatoes, you allow the fruit to keep a more crisp texture when canned.
By separating the juice from the tomatoes, you are also able to start heating the juice separate from the fruit, creating a canning liquid with an intense tomato flavor.
Before you start canning, check our Canning Basics post for a refresher on the process.
This fresh garden salsa is easy to make and the perfect salsa for canning, particularly if you're new to cold pack canning for vegetables!
Yield: Approximately 7 (16 oz) pint jars
- 9 lbs tomatoes
- 2 green peppers, diced
- 2 white onions, diced
- 1 tsp salt
- Hot pepper (of choice)*
- 1/3 c white vinegar
- 1/3 c apple cider vinegar
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 6 oz tomato paste
- Dice tomatoes and mix with diced peppers, onions and salt in a large strainer placed over a bowl. (This will pull the liquid from the tomatoes, helping to give you an end result that is not overly liquidy.)
- Dice your hot peppers and add to the tomato mixture.* Let the vegetables strain for 6 hours. (You will want to check your mixture every so often to be sure your bottom bowl is not overflowing with juice. Keep the juice! We’ll be using it later.)
- About one hour before you want to start canning, bring your water bath canner to a boil and wash and sanitize your jars.
- Mix the liquid that has been strained from the tomatoes in a large sauce pan with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 min.
- Add the diced vegetables and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
- Carefully ladle the hot vegetables and liquid into the jars, leaving 1/4" head space from the top of the rim. (Use a clean butter knife to move the contents of the jar around so that the liquid flows all the way to the bottom.)
- Wipe the rims with a clean, damp towel. Place the lids and bands on the jars. Place jars in the canner, so that they are not touching, and process for 20 minutes. (Your processing time starts when the water returns to a boil after the jars have been added.) If necessary, process the jars in batches.
When the processing time is up, remove the jars from the water bath and let cool on a wire rack for 24 hours. Once the jars are cool, remove the bands and check the lids for a seal. If the lids are tight, return the bands to the jars (loosely) and store them for up to a year.
*The hot peppers and quantity you use depends on your family’s heat preference. We have made this recipe using 1/3 c diced jalapenos and we have made it using 1 ½ Caribbean hot peppers.
We find that while the jalapenos created quite a spicy salsa right off the bat, it mellows considerably by the next summer. So, if you plan to make your salsa last through the year, you might want to make it a bit spicier than you prefer to allow for the peppers to mellow. Tasting (with a clean spoon) is key when you are adding your peppers to the vegetable mixture; so that you find a heat level you are comfortable with.