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Canning For Dummies: Make Your Own Fresh Salsa!


My girls and I are always looking for new projects or new recipes to try.  A few weekends ago, the weather was gorgeous and we decided to make our own salsa.  I knew I was hosting a weightloss dinner party a few weeks later so I decided that we should find a canning recipe so each guest would take home their own jar of homemade salsa.

Does the thought of canning scare you?

It scared me.  Here is what I learned from doing this.  There are different types of canning.  

If you want to can items that are low-acidic (ex: red meats, seafood, poultry, milk, fresh vegetables), you have to have a pressure canner.  

Is that what I did?

No, that is too complicated.  I wanted to keep it simple.  Tomatoes are high acidic so it is safe to do the EASY water boil canning method.  You also add vinegar to the salsa which also keeps it safe.


  1. I found a recipe that was highly rated on the Internet.
  2. We went to Aldi and got all of the ingredients for the salsa.  The ingredients were around $13.00 (this is why I love this place:) The batch made about fifteen jars.jars-8
  3. We went and bought the canning jars and canning kit from Kroger.  (Note:  I would go to Walmart or Target to get the jars because I feel they are cheapest there.  You can get 12 at Target for $7.00.)  You need to buy the canning tools to help you can.  The tools in the kit that you have to have are the funnel and the jar lifter.  When the water is boiling, you need the jar lifter so that you don’t hurt yourself.  I paid $13.00 for my kit at Kroger. jar-2
  4. BOIL the jars!  You need to boil the jars and lids to get rid of any bacteria BEFORE you put the salsa in them! jars-3
  5. Follow the recipe and chop all of the items. We chopped almost everything because we wanted our salsa to be chunky.  Add ingredients to a large pot and boil. (You don’t want tomato peals so you can either use a peeler to get rid of them or you can boil the tomatoes by themselves (then the peels come right off) next you chop them.  jars-6jars-4jars-5
  6. After the mixture is boiled, use the funnel to pour the salsa into the jars.  Put the lid on the jars.
  7. Boil water and then put the cans into the boiling water (follow directions).  This step is killing bacteria.  jars-10
  8. Remove cans from boiling water.  Take your finger and press down on the lid.  If it pops up, the jar was not properly sealed and you need to put that jar in the fridge and eat it within a week.  If you take you finger and press down on the lid and nothing happens, you know your jar was safely sealed.  You can safely put it in your pantry.  jars-11


These jars of salsa make great teacher gifts!  You can put together a cheap gift basket with:  A plastic salsa bowl, a bag of chips, and the jar of salsa!  The total cost of this gift is about five or six dollars!  


My girls loved making the salsa!  It is VERY easy and tastes really good!!!!  jars-7

My question for you:

Who is ready to make some salsa?jars-9

Zesty Salsa Recipe:

 Found on https://www.freshpreserving.com/zesty-salsa-%7C-spicy-salsa-recipe—ball-fresh-preserving-br1131.html

(Changes:  My girls and I added fresh lime juice (around six limes).  We used a food processor to cut up the jalapenos.  We ended up using a small amount of what was required.  DO NOT USE ALL OF IT IF YOU USE A FOOD PROCESSOR.  Add ⅛ of it and taste it.  If you want it to have a little more of a kick, add a little more.  We only used the processor (the bullet) for the jalepenos so I’m sure it would be different if you chopped them up instead blending it.  It also took forever for a large pot of water to boil.  Don’t put the jars in the water until is starts to boil.)  

10 cups chopped cored peeled tomatoes (about 25 medium)

5 cups chopped seeded green bell peppers (about 4 large)

5 cups chopped onions (about 6 to 8 medium)

2-1/2 cups chopped seeded chili peppers, such as hot banana, Hungarian wax, serrano or jalapeño (about 13 medium)

1-1/4 cups cider vinegar

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp hot pepper sauce, optional

6  Ball® (16 oz) pint or 12 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands


  1. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
  2.  (First cut up all of the items.  You can boil the tomatoes first, take them out so that their peals will easily come off before you chop them.  When we made ours, we didn’t boil the tomatoes but just pealed them before we cut them.  This was a little time consuming). COMBINE tomatoes, green peppers, onions, chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, cilantro, salt and hot pepper sauce, if using, in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
  1. LADLE hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot salsa. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
  1. PROCESS both pint and half pint jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Penny Dotson
    November 5, 2016 at 2:16 am

    When you take the jars out, put them on a towel or a cooling rack and cover them with another towel and let them cool overnight. I’ve never had it happen but the experts say a sudden change in temperature (boiling hot liquid, air conditioned room) can cause jars to break. The towel on top prevents this. Also, let the lids pop down on their own. Don’t try to mash them down because they might have an improper seal that you have forced and the product could spoil during storage. If they haven’t popped down the next morning you don’t have a good seal and just put them in the refrigerator and use them first.

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