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Canning Day Quilt

If at first you don't succeed… Canning Salsa


Last year I canned salsa for the first time.  I didn’t have a good recipe, so I looked online.  There were hundreds of recipes to choose from and  I felt a bit daunted.  My husband loves salsa and is very picky about what he likes.  He likes it flavorful and spicy (me too, though not as spicy as him.)

I finally found a salsa recipe that looked promising, and called the Utah State Extension Service for the canning guidelines.  The well informed woman I spoke with at the service cautioned me against using an unapproved recipe.  I needed a recipe, she explained, that had been PH tested and had been approved as safe for canning.  She directed me to either recipes from the Extension Service or the Ball Blue Book.  After looking over the recipes, I choose the Zesty Salsa from Ball.

Making salsa is a lot of work.  I spent what seemed like hours chopping cups of tomatoes, onions, and tons of peppers.  When I added the cider vinegar to the salsa, I was a bit worried.  It smelled awful, but that’s what the recipe called for.  When the salsa was done it looked absolutely beautiful, and I was excited to have 8 pint jars to enjoy throughout the year.

I couldn’t wait to taste it.  I opened the can and got another whiff of cider vinegar.  Hum.  My husband and I scooped a big scoop on our tortilla chips. It was AWFUL!  It tasted just like vinegar.

This is where I wish we had a Cooks Illustrated for canning.  I wish there was someone testing lots of recipes and feeding it to picky testers.

But in cooking, sewing, gardening and canning there are always failures.  There are things that don’t work out the way you want them to.  The trick is to learn from the mistake and move on.

I was determined to make good canned salsa this year, but my garden was running out of peppers and tomatoes.  (Perfect excuse not to try again?)


That’s when Sharon, a friend and blog reader, from American Quilting showed up at my front door with a box of lovely tomatoes and peppers.  It was time to get back on the horse.

I ended up making the Zesty Salsa again, but this time I substituted the vinegar for lemon and lime juice.  I also made it spicier for my husband, since Sharon had brought some habaneros.

I am happy to say, I am much happier with the results.  It is not the perfect salsa…. but definitely good.  And that’s a big improvement over last year.

Thank you Sharon and if anyone else has a fantastic Salsa recipe I would love to see it!

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15 Responses to “If at first you don't succeed… Canning Salsa”

  • kimberli:

    That’s funny! I did the EXACT same thing a few years ago with the Ball recipe. I was so excited to have made my own salsa and then we tasted it! YUCK!

    Here is a link to the recipe I made last year. I am still trying to decide whether to can salsa again this year or not. I am starting to be attacked by “killer tomatoes”! : )


  • I adore Sharon. She is the greatest. :)

  • Gina:

    I discovered that a food processor makes the chopping part of salsa so easy and so fast. Love your blog.

  • Heidi:

    I have an awesome salsa recipe that my husband and I love. It has not been tested, but his family has used it for years and has never had a problem. To accomodate differences in taste, we always make a med-hot batch and a mild batch. E-mail me and I will send you the recipe!

  • Julie:

    OH, OH, OH—- I love my salsa recipe and so does everyone that I share it with. I get calls every year for people wanting my recipe!
    So, I checked out your blog when I was needing to remember the specifics of canning peaches and you really helped me out!! Thank you! If you would like my salsa recipe I’ll e-mail it to you. I have made 2 batches this year and I think I better do a 3rd we eat it on everything, and my tomatoes are in abundance! My sis-inlaw uses my recipe and had hers tested at USU last year and they said that it was fine. I’ve never tested mine. Been using this recipe for a long time and I’ve never had a problem. Happy Canning!

    • Javin Ramos:

      I was just wondering if I could obtain your recipe I am going to school and one of my labs is to can a salsa and whom ever has the best tasting one wins extra credit points. Since you say everyone loves your salsa I shouldn’t have a problem winning. I would really appreciate the help. Thank you!

    • JESS:

      Could I get a copy of your salsa recipe? thank you

  • Julie:

    By the way do you do applesauce? I need some tips and directions for good apple sauce~ thanks

    • I am canning applesauce tomorrow and will be posting a step by step tutorial later this week… probably Thursday. I would love your salsa recipe. I am also wanting to do a second batch. All the best, Calli

  • Pat Hall:

    Evening, I have made the ball recipe and I like it so much better with the white vinegar. I do not like the taste of the apple cider vinegar. Try a batch of it with the white vinegar instead of the one they call for. I think you will like it better.
    Enjoy reading your blog .
    Pat H

  • Good afternoon,
    I would love to get a copy of your recipe for the salsa. thank you

  • Victoria:

    I would like your salsa receives…..Thank you

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