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Adventures in Canning

A few weeks back Sunflower Farmers Market had on the vine tomatoes on sale for $0.67/lb. On the vine tomatoes are usually at least $1.50/lb., even at Costco they are about $2.20/lb. I figured if I was ever going to experiment with making and canning fresh salsa, this was my chance. The recipe made about 13 pint jars.

I learned that canning with tomatoes can be tricky. The pH has to be just right to not use a pressure cooker – which I do not have. Tomatoes are borderline, not quite acidic enough so you have to follow recipes carefully if you don’t want spoilage and you typically add apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. The actual process isn’t too difficult, but the prep-work is a little time consuming to do alone. Cooking is always more fun with a friend!

Enjoy your fresh salsa with some tortilla chips! My new favorite are multi grain chips by FoodShouldTasteGood. I have purchased them at Costco.  

Cost/Time: Is it worth it to can? I decided yes! I already had my jars from making strawberry jam in the past, so that cost wasn’t added into it. In the end the cost was less than $2 per jar. It would cost even less, if we had been able to use fresh garden tomatoes. I am planning on that for next year. I have received many compliments from friends who loved the salsa.

Canning Salsa

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Fresh Canned Salsa

Fresh Canned Salsa

Yield: 13 pints
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Canning isn't too scary once you understand the science. It's also a great project to do with friends to split the work and the bounty.


  • 15 lbs tomatoes - I used a mixture of on-the-vine and Roma for texture variation
  • 7 Anaheim chilies - seeded
  • 4 jalapenos - seeded
  • 3 c chopped onion
  • 1/2 c fresh cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbs oregano - I used fresh from my herb garden
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbs ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 c 5% apple cider vinegar
  • 12 oz. tomato paste


  1. Advance prep-work: make sure the jars have been sterilized in the dishwasher. Boil the lids gently for 3 minutes.
  2. The first step is the most time-intensive - removing the skins and seeds. I think it is best to have 2 people working in tandem with one removing the skins and another removing the seeds if you are able. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put tomatoes a few at a time into boiling water (30-45 seconds), then plunge in ice water. This makes the skins very easy to remove.
  3. After removing the skins, cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and excess water. Squeeze each tomato and use your finger or a spoon to scoop and shake out most of the seeds. It doesn't need to be perfect.
  4. Put the peeled and de-seeded tomatoes into a colander as you work. Next, chop them into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside in a large pot.
  5. Using a food processor, process the onions, Anaheim chilies, and jalapeno peppers to about 1/8 of an inch. Process them separately so that you can add a little of the chilies and peppers at a time until you reach your desired heat.
  6. Bring the tomatoes to a simmer and add the onions and seasonings. Start off adding half of the chilies and peppers. Bring to a gentle simmer. Taste it as it simmers to see if you would like additional seasonings or peppers.
  7. If you like a thicker salsa, you can add 4 Tbs of cornstarch to the vinegar mixture before adding. Add the vinegar, and cornstarch if using. Add the tomato paste. Simmer 5 minutes.
  8. While you are filling the jars with salsa, bring a large pot of water to a boil to can the salsa. Fill the jars to within ¼-inch of the top, cover with the lid and hand-tighten the ring around them. Be sure the top of the jar and underside of the ring are clean to get a good seal. Put them in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of constant boiling water.
  9. Process the jars in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes for 8 oz and pints. You will need to adjust the time if your altitude is different than sea level - it will tell you on the packaging for the lids how many minutes to add depending on your altitude.
  10. Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed. Just press in the center with your finger. If it pops up and down, it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. If they have successfully sealed you can store the salsa in your pantry until you're ready to eat it.


Kerr pint canning jars - sterilized in the dishwasher

Lids - thin, flat, metal lids with gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar. You need new lids each time.

Adapted from Homemade Salsa from Fresh Tomatoes

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Nutrition Information
Yield 144 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 15Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 50mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 1g offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

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Saturday 25th of August 2012

This recipe looks great so I am going to try it. As an update however, in my area, tomatos are going for 3.50 per pound at the local farmers markets and only 1.75 per pound at all of the surrounding major grocery chains.


Wednesday 14th of October 2009

Looks good Kate, you should send me a jar! (if you still have any left) Anyway keep up the good work, the website is really really awesome. It looks great, Stephanie really likes it a lot too. Love you, Jon


Monday 20th of October 2008

Wow, you are ambitious! I have only canned once, I made kiwi-strawberry jam last summer. It was really good, but kind of hard because I didn't have the right equipment. We just got a new Sunflower Farmer's Market up here, and we love it!

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