Monday, October 4, 2010

Annie's Salsa: One to judge all other salsas by

Everyone should have a great salsa canning recipe.  A great salsa recipe is the perfect answer to what can I snack on, but even more importantly can be brought to a potluck with a bag of tortilla chips and not be frowned upon, even by the guests who slaved over their stoves before attending the party.  I remember one time I brought this salsa, we decided to attend at the last minute as we were getting ready for vacation.  In a panic I grabbed a jar of salsa and tortilla chips as we wrangled the boys into the car.  My salsa was not the only one in attendance, although it was the only one that was home canned.  It sat on the table, mostly forgotten, the other salsa was in front of it on the table.  However 4 months later the hostess called, asking if I had any jars of salsa left and if I might sell her one.  Apparently a jar of my salsa was the only thing her husband asked for at Christmas time.

"My salsa" is really my friend Annie's salsa.  She spent years perfecting the recipe, once she could get everyone in her family to agree it was perfect, she somehow managed to get it tested to see if she could safely can it.  I know she had a friend who worked for her local extension service, however I suspect she also bribed them with salsa.  This salsa is safe to can as written.  There are a few things you can change while still maintaining the proper balance of acidity and texture so it is safe to can.  It is important not to alter the recipe in a way to lower the acidity or texture.  Salsa is consumed straight from the jar without any further cooking which means it has no safety back up.

Tomatoes are roughly chopped into about 1/2 inch or larger pieces and the other vegetables should be cut into 1/4 inch pieces.

8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper (substitute red or spicy peppers so long as total volume is the same or less)
3 – 5 chopped jalapenos
6 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp black pepper
1/8 cup canning salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar (or substitute bottled lemon juice)
16 oz. tomato sauce, this refers to cans of plain tomato sauce, not pasta sauce
16 oz tomato paste

Combine all ingredients, bring to a boil, boil 10 minutes. Pour into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch head space, process pints for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

(note: This recipe can be safely canned in pints, not larger.  If you wish to can it in smaller jars use the same processing time)

Approved Salsa Tweaks

Tomatoes: Green tomatoes or tomatillos can be substituted for some or all of the red tomatoes, do not reduce total volume.

Onions: total quantity may be lowered or eliminated to your taste.  Do not increase total volume

Peppers: The total volume of green peppers and  jalapenos is 1 3/4 cups, you may use any combination of spicy and sweet peppers including red peppers to make up the total volume of 1 3/4 cups. I usually use a mix of spicy peppers for a more complex flavor instead of all jalapenos.  Do not increase total volume.

Garlic: Do not increase the total volume of garlic

Cumin, Black Pepper, Canning Salt, Sugar: It is safe to vary the total of any of these dried spices and seasonings either up or down as you prefer

Cilantro: total quantity may be lowered or eliminated to your taste, you can also substitute fresh parsley if you prefer.  Do not increase total volume

Apple Cider Vinegar: You may use any vinegar that is 5% acidity or more in place of the apple cider vinegar.  You can also use bottled lemon juice in place of the vinegar.  Do not reduce total volume, may be increased

Tomato paste and sauce are both optional items, they are only there to improve the texture of the finished product.

Jar Size: You can process this salsa in smaller jars if you want, it would need the same processing time in the water bath canner.  It is not tested and approved for larger jars.

The boys after City Markets Harvest Celebration, they both requested a "Harvest themed face painting." Not that I have them brain washed or anything.


  1. Robin.
    This is not great salsa. This is FREAKIN' INCREDIBLE salsa. Your friend, Annie, is a genius!
    As I'm frantically taking the last of my tomatoes off the vine (yes, in early October!), I wanted something new to do with them, so I made this tonight and canned it. Mark came home and devoured the leftovers, likening it to his favorite, Green Mountain Gringo (at $5/jar!). His only complaint was that I canned it in pint-sized jars... hardly big enough for his salsa-brations!
    So, how long do I process it in quart jars? Apparently this is "Mark-sized salsa."
    Thanks for posting this heavenly recipe! You have saved me TONS of money!

  2. Love the pictures of salsa and cute little kids.

    One thing I still do not know is how to can :-( someday, I have to try it, this salsa looks super super good.

  3. Sorry Katherine but it is not supposed to be canned in quarts. It is unknown if the salsa in the center of the jars will get hot enough if you do this. Just tell Mark to open more jars;-)


  4. Ok... Had to can SEVEN more pints today. I think I'm out of tomatoes now, once I make your tomato-orange marmalade tomorrow. :)
    Yummy winter treats!

  5. Hi
    did you pressure can the salsa or water bath. Please say water bath, we can't get pressure canners here in Europe, and I do love salsa.


  6. Jean, At least I can make one commenter happy, I water bathed it. This salsa is safe to can in the water bath canner!

    I have a pressure canner but I have yet to commit the time and patience to learning how to use it properly. That was going to be one of my many projects for this year now that my youngest is in school, then I got a job...


  7. I made it I made it! 15 jars. Phew. Greg has friends over who keep coming through the kitchen looking hopeful and are going to be so sad when I have to report that this turned out to be the one recipe I've ever canned that actually made an amount that fit neatly into jars with none leftover.

  8. Hi, Robin, it's Annie! I just made your tomato marmalade and thought of you.

    Julian started Kindergarten and so did Bud, and you were all on my mind, so I had to check in. Funny how coincidences happen...


  9. Holy Cow Annie, How is it possible Bud started Kindergarten? For that matter how is it possible Julian did? I am glad you got to see this post.


  10. I'm checking back on this post, in order to pass on the recipe to a friend. I had to comment that this salsa is so wildly popular, both with my family and EXTENDED friends, that I canned more salsa this year than crushed tomatoes! That is saying a LOT in this house! Thanks, Robin! Thanks, Annie! For what it's worth, I label the salsa, "Annie's Salsa, by Katherine," giving credit where credit is due. Robin, sorry I didn't find a way to get you in there too!

  11. Hi Robin! I'm a friend of Katherine's and have fallen in love with Annie's Salsa. It really is the salsa of all salsas! My tomatoes are finally ripening and the late blight is (fingers crossed) staying away thus far. Hoping to make a batch of salsa this week. Any guesses how many tomatoes it takes to get to 8 cups chopped? And, how many jars (pints? quarts?) does a batch make?

  12. Hi Angie, Great to "meet you." One batch should make about 8 pints. It is not supposed to be canned in quarts. I am not sure on how many tomatoes it would take to make the 8 cups, especially as tomato varieties vary so much in size. I would guess somewhere around 6 pounds would be enough, even with the loss of volume from draining.


  13. Thanks for the extra input Robin! You were right- it did end up being about 6lbs or so of tomatoes. So, so, so very good! We're making another batch tonight! : )

  14. When you say "chopped green pepper" are you referring to bell pepper or something else? Thanks.

  15. When you say "chopped green pepper" are you referring to bell pepper? Thanks.

  16. Sally, I am referring to bell peppers. However you can substitute another pepper so long as the volume remains the same. So you can use cubanelle, banana, spicy peppers, etc so long as the total volume is the same or less.

  17. The 8 cups of tomatoes - are they measured before or after you peel, cut and drain them?
    It makes a difference.
    Thanks for all the notes re: less or no of a certain ingredient! Really appreciated.

  18. The tomatoes are measured after peeling, cutting and draining. Your welcome about the notes.

  19. Help! This is only my second year of canning, and I have a few safety questions:

    (1) I read many warnings for tomato canning recipes, saying to add either 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice or 1/4 tsp. citric acid to each pint jar before filling it. Does this recipe contain enough acid without doing that?

    (2) Last year and this year, I've made Annie's Salsa using an older version of the recipe I found online. I used 1/3 cup of cider vinegar, and 1/3 cup lime juice -- with no other acidic products added to the jars -- for a yield of 8 pints. I followed the ingredients listed and measured meticulously. But seeing the full cup of cider vinegar in your recipe, I'm wondering if my recipe is unsafe. Should I freeze the salsa I canned last night?

    (3) From now on, would my salsa be safe if I followed your recipe (possibly without the black pepper), but used 1/2 cup cider vinegar and 1/2 cup lime juice? Would I need to add any other acidic product to each jar?

    I'm sorry to bombard you with so many questions, but I would be extremely grateful if you could enlighten my ignorance. My family loves Annie's Salsa, but I don't want to accidentally "kill them with kindness"!


    -- Diane

  20. Hi Diane,

    1. Yes, this recipe is acidic enough without adding the acid called for when canning tomatoes on their own.

    2. To be perfectly safe you should freeze the salsa you made the other night. Bottled lime juice is more acidic than vinegar so it is probably fine, but as salsa is eaten without heating I would personally go with the safest route.

    3. Upping your acid to be 1/2 cup of 5% acidity cider vinegar and 1/2 cup of bottled lime juice would make your salsa safe to can and enjoy straight from the jar.

    Don't worry about the bombardment, I am happy to help you feel safe eating and sharing this recipe.


  21. Robin,

    (Sorry for the delay; I tried to post but somehow it didn't work.)

    Thank you SO much! I can now sleep at night knowing we can make and enjoy this salsa to a ripe old age, and live to tell about it!

    I forgot to mention that I processed the salsa in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes at 11 lbs. of pressure -- hope that was okay.

    Thanks so much for coming to my rescue! We're making more this weekend!


  22. Hi! I made 99 pints of Annie's salsa last summer! We gave it to family & friends at Christmas. Everyone was begging for more.
    I used in soups, over chicken breast & black beans in the crock pot. It is fantastic!

  23. Getting ready for salsa time again. I used this recipe last year (it was a hit!) and plan on using it again... only problem is I can't remember how many pints it makes??? Do you recall??

    1. I think the yield is about 7 pints.