How to Can Salsa the Easy Way

This post is sponsored by Ball® Home Canning. All opinions in the post are my own.

Having salsa in your pantry at all time can be a huge lifesaver when it comes to mealtimes. You know there’s nothing like a fresh batch of salsa and today, I’m sharing how to can salsa the easy way so you can keep it year-round for all those tortilla chips, Taco Tuesdays, and burrito bowls!

This recipe originated from my friends at Ball® Home Canning, my go-to resource on all things preserving. With a lot of experience and expertise, it’s not hard to see why Ball® jars are the #1 consumer choice in mason jars.

They’re the go-to containers for canning, and their classic look makes them useful as drinking glasses, storage for pantry goods, decor, and homemade gifts.

In the past, I’ve only canned strawberry jelly during the late spring because we live near strawberry fields and they are abundant between April and June. When you have more strawberries than you can eat, making jelly and canning it is the way to go!

And right when the strawberry abundance phases out in my area, my parents’ garden yields more tomatoes than we can humanly consume. They show up with a few pounds of them every other day; and since you can’t freeze tomatoes, preserving them in salsa is the way to go.

I wouldn’t consider myself a canning expert –not even an aficionado- I just know the basics for some of my favorite things to eat; and you know how I feel about salsa given all the taco recipes on this website.

To make many easy meals possible, not just dipping chips, today I’m going to show you how to can salsa. You’ll find that the process is simple and it’s easy to get started with minimal tools required –I mean, I just headed to Target and grabbed a Starter Kit and a case of jars and you can too!

What Do You Need to Start Canning

When it comes to canning, acquiring the right materials is where most beginners get overwhelmed. Thankfully the Ball® Home Preserving Starter Kit comes with everything you need to can your first batch of salsa, jelly- you fill in the blank! Here’s where you might need a notebook and pencil –or simply print the recipe below. The steps aren’t complicated, but all of them are equally important.

The kit includes:

  • A preserving rack
  • 3 16-ounce jars
  • Basic Preserving Utensils
  • Home Preserving Guide & Recipe Booklet

Along with the basics, you’ll also need a canner, which is a large pot big enough to fill with water and jars. I used my stock pot, the same one I use to make stock or boil spaghetti –yes, that one.

Is Canning Easy

Whether it’s pickling vegetables, making jam with berries, or sauces and salsa with tomatoes canning is a smart way to save money and enjoy our favorite foods year-round.  

The process is simple, although it does take some time, and there are several steps which need to be followed to a T, or you might end up with a bad batch, and that’s no bueno!

Easy Recipe for Salsa

This salsa recipe is similar to how I make my fresh salsa, and with the addition of vinegar and proper processing time inside Ball® Jars, we have a deliciously preserved fresh salsa for months to come!

How to Remove the Skins from Tomatoes for Salsa

Unlike my traditional, make-and-eat salsa recipe, this version calls for peeled tomatoes –all canned salsa recipes do.

You didn’t think I was going to peel fresh tomatoes with a vegetable peeler, did you? Hah, please! That’d be a mess and nearly impossible. There are two ways to peel tomatoes; boiling them and roasting them.

In my experience, roasting the tomatoes is the easiest way to remove those skins.

First, you can boil the tomatoes until the skin becomes tender enough. You remove them from the pot, set them aside until they cool down enough to handle, and remove the skins.

Roasting them practically self-removes the skin in the process and they peel back super easy

How to Roast Tomatoes for Salsa

If roasting tomatoes seems like something your grandmother would do, it’s because she probably did! I know my grandmother roasted tomatoes to make all sorts of recipes and I remember the process being easy –and it is!

By simply placing all the tomatoes on a baking sheet and roasting them, you’ll get the skins off easily. You are going to roast them in the oven until the charred skins begin to peel themselves back.

At that point, you’ll remove the sheet pan from the oven, let the tomatoes cool down to room temperature and then, they peel back like magic! Roasting tomatoes also brings out the natural sweetness on tomatoes and gives them a deep caramelized flavor we love.

Which Tomatoes are best for salsa?

The best tomatoes for salsa are the ones that are abundant, ripe, and have more meat on them. The easiest to find are Roma tomatoes; although some people use San Marzano tomatoes.

In the end, whatever is in season will make prime salsa and sauces. They also cost less so buying them in bulk at your local farmer’s market or grocery store and canning them is a smart way to enjoy summer tomatoes year-round.

The key to fresh salsa is using a tomato with few seeds such as Romas, but I’ve found that removing the seeds and core with a spoon does the trick.

How to Can Salsa

Here’s where you might need a notebook and pencil –or simply print the recipe below. The steps aren’t complicated, but all of them are equally important.

Here is how to can salsa:

1. Preheat the Jars

First things first, place the jars in a large pot of simmering (180F) water. This will prevent them from bursting when filled with hot food.

2. Prepare the recipe

Once the tomatoes are roasted, remove the skins and give them a rough chop.

Add them to a large pot along with the other ingredients, making sure to add them in as written in the recipe, stir and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat once cooked down.

3. Fill Jars with Salsa

Carefully, remove the jars from the simmering water with the Jar Lifter and set onto a flat surface. Fill each jar with the hot salsa.

4. Remove Air Bubbles

Gently tap the bottom of the jar on a flat surface to remove any air bubbles; this will keep the salsa from spoiling due to trapped air.

Leave 1/2 inch of space between lid and salsa.

5. Wipe the Rim

Using a clean, damp cloth remove any residue or food from the tip of the jar. Top it with a lid and apply the band until it’s fingertip tight.

6. Place the Jars in the Canner.

Make sure the water covers each jar by 1 to 2 inches and bring it to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.

7. Process

Process the jars in the boiling water for the time directed. When complete, turn off the heat and allow jars to sit in hot water for 5 minutes.

8. Rest

Not you, the jars. Once you’ve removed them from the water with the tongues and set aside onto a flat surface. Leave the jars undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours.

9. Inspect

Time to apply the flex test! Apply pressure to the center of the lid with your fingertip, if it bends, it’s a bad egg. Second, remove the bands and try to lift the top with your fingers. Properly sealed lids with remain attached, otherwise, toss it!

Best Jars for Canning

It helps that Ball® jars have been around for 135 years and are top quality for all things canning.

And since 2012, both Ball® and Kerr brands, which Ball® acquired in 1996 are entirely BPA free since 2012 making them a safe choice for food and beverages.

Water Bath Canning

There are two approaches to safe canning: water bath and pressure canning. For this recipe, I’m using the water bath; it’s the simplest and beginner friendly method.

Water bath canning is best for high acid foods and recipes that include the right amount of acid. The combination of time and temperature destroys bacteria while the heat creates a vacuum seal. Items such as fruit, jams, jellies, salsa, tomatoes, pickles, sauces, pie fillings, and condiments use this method.

Pressure Canning Salsa

This form of canning uses high temperature to safely preserve foods that are low in acid such as meat, poultry, vegetables, chili, and seafood.

Once again, the combination of time and temperature destroy bacteria and create a tight vacuum seal, so food stays fresh longer.

How Long Does Canned Salsa Last?

Regular fresh salsa keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days, but now we have it in a jar which lasts up to 2 weeks once opened and refrigerated.

I’d also like to add, this doesn’t taste like your grocery store jarred salsa, but FRESH! The tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic really come through, it’ll make you want to keep tortilla chips all year round.

Best Tacos to go with this salsa recipe

So, what does one do with homemade salsa? Tacos! At this rate, your canned salsa won’t last a month, but tacos are worth it. Here are 3 of my favorites:

The real question is, do you can? If so, what are your favorite recipes? For more fresh ideas, go check out what they are making at Ball® Jars Fresh Preserving.

How to Can Salsa the Easy Way

A fresh batch of salsa is possible when you learn how to can salsa the easy way!

  • Author: Laura Fuentes
  • Yield: 416 ounce jars salsa 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs Roma tomatoes,
    about 8 cups of tomato meat
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4  Ball® (16 oz) pint or 8 Ball® (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. Place the tomatoes onto the baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes until the tomatoes are charred and the skins peel back. Remove from oven and allow to cool down to room temperature.
  3. Fill the canner with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the empty Ball® jars to the water and simmer on medium-low heat until ready for use, making sure the water does not boil.
  4. Meanwhile, chop the green onions, jalapeno peppers, and garlic.
  5. Remove the skin from the tomatoes and cut each in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard. Dice the tomatoes and transfer to a large saucepan.
  6. To the tomatoes add the green onions, garlic, jalapenos, vinegar, lime juice, hot sauce, cilantro, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.
  7. Once the salsa has cooked down, remove the jars from the water and fill each with salsa, 1/2 inch from the rim.
  8. Lightly tap each jar on a cutting board to remove air bubbles. Wipe the rim with a clean cloth and place the lid over the mouth of each jar. Apply the band and seal until fingertip tight.
  9. Place the jars back onto the rack and lower into the canner full of water, making sure the water covers the jars by 1 to 2 inches.
  10. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit in hot water for 5 minutes.
  11. Remove from water and allow to rest for 12 to 24 hours before applying the flex test. Using your finger tip, apply pressure to the center of the lid, if it bends it didn’t seal correctly.
  12. Store all safely preserved jars for up to 12 to 18 months.

22 thoughts on “How to Can Salsa the Easy Way”

  1. Connie Boyd says:

    Laura! Is there a single batch recipe for this that I can test out? This is exciting! I look forward to doing this with my kids as a summer together activity!

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      This recipe, while it seems like a lot of tomatoes, will make 3 of those 16oz jars. You can halve the recipe and make 3 smaller, 8ounce Ball jars. Enjoy!

  2. Ella says:

    This recipe was delicious! We canned 4 batches with the tomatoes in our garden. This is the first time I roasted the tomatoes to peel them (I’ve always boiled them) and this process was SO MUCH EASIER!! Delicious salsa recipe and easy process. Thanks!

  3. Emma says:

    Easy directions and the video helped A LOT!

  4. Emma says:

    bought Ball jars today at Target. Can’t wait to make some salsa this weekend

  5. Sandra says:

    I tried this recipe. It reminds me of my abuela’s salsa. Perfectly sweet from the roasted tomatoes and chunky – just the way i like it. I doubled down on the jalapeno because you know… us Texans like spicy. Thanks!

  6. Jan says:

    Can I use spices like Cumin, garlic and onion powder safely in my salsa recipe?

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      sure thing! Feel free to use your favorite salsa recipe with this canning process! 🙂

  7. Corena Kleintop ck4 says:

    I tried this recipe today not sure what I did wrong but my tomatoes turned mushy and the skin would not come off.I was hoping this this would be a better method to skin tomatoes but it didn’t work for me.

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Oh no! even after roasting them? Mine peel off every time.

  8. Norma Tumberg says:

    You could refrigerate any jars that don’t seal, couldn’t you? They don’t spoil that fast. I’ve done that with other canned foods and all is well. 🙂
    I’ve never canned salsa, yours looks like a good one and easy! Thanks for. I have a lot of tomatoes cn!

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      You’re going to love it! And yes, you can refrigerate any jars that don’t seal but following this method, I haven’t had any jars that didn’t. Enjoy!

  9. Mark Young says:

    Hi Laura – I canned 28 quarts of juiced, crushed, and sauced tomatoes so far this year, and it looks like have have enough for another 14 quarts or more – plus with more green ones on the vine! If we get early frost later this month, I pull the entire plants out of the ground and store in a wheel barrow that I can move from driveway to garage during frost nights. I definitely want to make & can some salsa (for the first time) this year! I recall reading USDA & other government/academic sites stress that adding other veggies to Tomatoes needs to be below a certain ratio or additional vinegar/acidity increase; do you know what the maximum no-tomato veggie ingredients can be, or do you just go ballpark w/ existing/tried & true recipes? BTW, Tomatoes CAN easily be frozen; I’ve frozen many in a ziploc bag after I’ve cored them. When thawing whole ones, the skin slides off when partially defrosted, similar to when boiled or roasted.

    Great job and delightful accent and voice – you should sing if you don’t already 🙂

  10. Sherray says:

    Can I substitute roasted yellow onion for the green onion and still safely water bath this recipe?

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Yes you can. Enjoy!

  11. Kathy Cherry says:

    Hi Laura. Do you have a measurement for how many cups of tomato there should be after the seeds have been removed and they’ve been chopped? I weighed out 5lbs but only ended up with 2 jars instead of 3 or 4. I don’t think my tomatoes were meaty enough.

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      5 pounds is about 7-8 cups. Thank you for asking this. I am going to edit the recipe to reflect that.

  12. Sab says:

    Is there a reason you cook the salsa before placing it in the jar? Is the vinegar necessary?
    I just want to make sure those aren’t crucial steps that are a necessity to successfully can the salsa [since I’ve never canned salsa before!]

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Hi Sab, every step you see in the video is crucial. I worked with Ball canning to share this recipe and I can’t safely recommend avoiding any of the ingredients or steps. The vinegar is added to preserve the salsa. With tomatoes, you must add an acid in order for them to be canned.

  13. Toni says:

    What kind of hot pepper sauce did you use?

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      You can use your favorite hot sauce. We had Cholula in the fridge.

  14. Jenna Marie says:

    A month ago, we had an abundance of tomatoes in our garden and summer is nearly over so after trying other recipes over the years, I reluctantly went to google and searched for how to can salsa. Needless to say, that I appreciate the step-by-step photos you showed. It helped me follow the recipe and not ruin the batch like I have done in the past.It was easy to make. Yesterday, we opened our first can and it was the best salsa I’ve ever had form my garden and it was preserved perfectly! I will be using this recipe from now on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *