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Canning salsa without a pressure cooker is safe and easy to do with a water bath canner. I will show you how easy it is to can your salsa using our family’s favorite recipe, Green Tomato Salsa. This salsa has a slightly tart roasted flavor with a hint of Mexican spices. Green tomato salsa is perfect with tortilla chips or topping your tacos, burritos, or enchiladas.

It might sound crazy, but my family’s favorite salsa is made with green tomatoes, not tomatillos. We enjoy this fresh tomatoes salsa so much that I try and can 15 or 20 pints each fall just before the first frost.

two jar of green tomato salsa with fresh green tomatoes by them and cilantro

If you are new to canning, visit my How To Start Water Bath Canning or Canning 101 For Beginners for safe water-bath canning tips and how-to information. Once you master using a water bath canner, print some more canning recipes. If you like spicy food, try my Cowboy Candy, aka Pickled Jalapenos. Have you ever canned Homemade Yellow Mustard? Here is a unique recipe, Roasted Red Pepper Spread. It is a delightfully sweet, Mediterranean-flavored roasted red pepper and tomato spread that can be used as a dip for naan bread, a sauce for pizza and pasta, or a sandwich spread. If you want to can something sweet, try my Brandy Spiced Pear Compote, perfect on ice cream or served over creamed cheese with crackers. 

Pressure canning vs. water bath canning

Green Tomato Salsa has a combination of green tomatoes, chilies, onions, and cilantro

Water bath canning is used for preserving foods with high acid levels, such as most tomatoes, pickles, relishes, jams, jellies, and marmalades.

Pressure canning is used to can foods with low acid levels, including red meats, seafood, poultry, and low acid vegetables such as okra, carrots, green beans, asparagus, and potatoes.

Due to these foods having a natural acidic level that is too low to prevent the growth of the heat-resistant spore-forming bacteria (C. botulinum), these foods must be canned in a pressure canner.

This is the safest way to destroy vegetative and spore-forming pathogens. A water bath canner’s rolling boil can not get hot enough to kill the bacteria. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) endorses pressure canning as the only safe method for canning these low acid foods.

For more information about canning with a pressure canner or a water bath canner, browse these posts. 

😋 Why home-canned salsa is so good

  • Green tomato salsa tastes similar to regular red ripe tomatoes; however, the salsa has a hint of tartness and a thicker consistency than red salsa. 
  • What makes this recipe so good is the addition of onions, peppers, cumin, garlic, and cilantro, all cooked together to create a traditional style green salsa that you might become addicted to.
  • Canning your own fresh salsa allows you to control your heat and spice levels.
  • Home food preservation is a great way to save money.
  • This canned salsa recipe is a great way to use the last of the garden green tomatoes that did not have time to ripen before a frost.

🛒 Ingredients

green tomatoes, chili's, onions, cumin, lime juice, jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, onions, vinegar,oregano salt pepper

Green Tomato: You can use Roma tomatoes, beef steak, or any traditional thick paste tomatoes. If you have trouble finding enough green tomatoes, you can use tomatoes that are still very firm but have started to turn red slightly. 

Peppers: If you like your salsa mild, only use banana peppers. However, if you like hot peppers in our salsa, add a few jalapeno peppers to your liking. 

  • If you like mild salsa, use banana peppers, poblano, or Anaheim.
  • For spicy salsa, use jalapeño peppers or cayenne peppers.
  • If you are brave, make your salsa verde hot using add a few habanero peppers with your mild peppers.

Garlic: It is best to mince fresh garlic for this recipe, not the kind you can buy already minced in a jar.

Lime juice: Do not use bottled lime juice. Fresh squeezed is best. 

Fresh cilantro: Only use fresh cilantro, not dried. 

⭐️ See the recipe card for complete ingredients and measurements.

🔪 Instructions

It is essential to use a tested recipe for safe canning. I only use recipes from qualified canning cookbooks or the National Center For Food Preservation when canning homemade salsa.

Prepare tomatoes: When using green tomatoes in a canning recipe, you do not need to peel them. Give them a good scrub, then remove the core of each tomato. Dice the tomatoes into 3-inch cubes.

chopped green tomatoes, onions chopped and peppers

Prepare the Peppers and onions: The jalapeño peppers or banana peppers do not need to be peeled. However, if you have thick, hard skin peppers, try my How To Oven Roast Peppers for a quick and easy way to infuse flavor and get the skin off. 

Peel and dice onions.

Hot Pack Salsa Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and heat, frequently stirring, until the mixture boils. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Using an immersion blender stick puree the salsa until it is smooth. If you prefer a chunkier salsa lesson, your processing time. You could also use a food processor for this step.
  3. Ladle hot salsa into hot clean pint jars leaving ½-inch headspace. It is easier to fill jars if you use a canning funnel.
  4. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. 
  5. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids. Carefully place jars in boiling water in a water bath canner. For step-by-step water bath canning instructions, visit How To Water Bath Can.
water bath canner with water and jars in it

6. Process in a boiling water canner. Process pint jars for 15 minutes at elevations of 0 -1000 ft or 20 minutes for elevations of 1001 – 6,000 ft.

7. When the processing time is finished, use a jar lifter, and remove the jars one at a time, being careful not to tilt the jars. Carefully place them directly onto a towel or cake cooling rack, leaving at least one inch of space between the jars during cooling. Avoid placing the jars on a cold surface or in a cold draft.

8. Let the jars sit undisturbed while they cool, from 12 to 24 hours. Do not tighten ring bands on the lids or push down on the center of the flat metal lid until the jar is completely cooled.

 9. Remove ring bands from sealed jars. Put any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use them first.

10. Wash jars and lids to remove all residues.

 11. Label jars and store them in a cool, dry place out of direct light.

Tips and Questions About Canning Salsa In A Water Bath

What type of canning jars should I use?

Choose a good quality glass jar when canning, such as Ball Canning Jars or Kerr. It is not suggested to use glass jars that were used to buy commercial products at our local grocery. The traditional jar rims are different than canning jar rims. It’s highly possible the canning seals will not adhere properly.

close up of green tomato salsa in a jar with fresh green tomatoes and cilantro by it

How long can home-canned salsa be stored once opened?

According to the University of Minnesota’s Extension Office, it is advisable to refrigerate home-canned salsa once it is opened and consume it within one week. Alternatively, for longer storage, you can freeze it for up to one year.

To defrost frozen salsa, remove the container from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator overnight. Alternatively, you can thaw it more quickly by transferring the salsa to a microwave-safe dish and using the defrost setting in short increments, stirring occasionally to ensure even thawing.

Avoid using hot water or leaving it at room temperature to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Once fully thawed, the salsa can be consumed or reheated as desired.

Can green tomatoes be used instead of tomatillos?

When making authentic Mexican salsa verde, tomatillos are not the only vegetable you can use. Green tomatoes are a good substitute when soup, salsa, or sauce recipes call for tomatillos. Be sure and pick unblemished green tomatoes.

These have a slightly sour taste, similar to the tomatillos. Sometimes when you substitute green tomatoes in a recipe, you will need to add a tart element. A few tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice will help flavor your recipe.

Do you have to peel green tomatoes for salsa?

When using green tomatoes in a salsa canning recipe, you do not need to peel them. Give them a good scrub, then remove the core of each tomato.

What can I do with unripe tomatoes?

In the fall, just before the first frost, there are usually a large number of green tomatoes still on the plants. Here is a list of great ways to cook with green tomatoes.

  • Make fried green tomato slices
  • Make salsa verde
  • Green tomato ketchup
  • Green tomato curry
  • Substitute green tomatoes for squash in a casserole recipe

I Want To Answer Your Questions & Hear Your Comments

Do you have a question about this recipe❓ I will answer in the comment form below👇🏼 the recipe card. Did you make this recipe? If so, could you be a gem and leave a comment and rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below? This helps others find yummy 😋 recipes to make for their family and friends.

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canned green tomato salsa on spoon
5 from 4 ratings

Canned Green Tomato Salsa Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Water Bath Canning: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8 pints
Canning salsa without a pressure cooker is safe and easy to do with a water bath canner. I will show you how easy it is to can your salsa using our family's favorite recipe, Green Tomato Salsa. This salsa has a slightly tart roasted flavor with a hint of Mexican spices. Green tomato salsa is perfect with tortilla chips or topping your tacos, burritos, or enchiladas.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

Ingredients
 

  • 8 cups green tomatoes, cored and cut into 3-inch cubes
  • 2 cups green chilis, chopped and seeds remove: see notes for pepper variations
  • 1 cup onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped more if you like it spicy.
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped, with large stems removed
  • 1 cup vinegar, 5 percent
  • 1/2 cup lime juice , fresh squeezed not bottled
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoons oregano leaves
  • 1-½ teaspoons salt

Instructions
 

Prepare Tomatoes

  • When using green tomatoes in a canning recipe, you do not need to peel them. Give them a good scrub, then remove the core of each tomato. Dice the tomatoes into 3-inch cubes.

Prepare Peppers

  • The jalapeño peppers or banana peppers do not need to be peeled. However, if you have thick, hard skin peppers, try my How To Oven Roast Peppers for a quick and easy way to infuse flavor and get the skin off.

Hot Pack Salsa Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a large pot and heat, frequently stirring, until the mixture boils. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Using an immersion blender stick puree the salsa until it is smooth. If you prefer a chunkier salsa lesson, your processing time. You could also use a food processor for this step.
  • Ladle hot salsa into hot clean pint jars leaving ½-inch headspace. It is easier to fill jars if you use a canning funnel.
  • Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed.
  • Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids.
  • Process in a boiling water canner. Process pint jars for 15 minutes at elevations of 0 -1000 ft or 20 minutes for elevations of 1001 – 6,000 ft.
  • When the processing time is finished, use a jar lifter, and remove the jars one at a time, being careful not to tilt the jars. Carefully place them directly onto a towel or cake cooling rack, leaving at least one inch of space between the jars during cooling. Avoid placing the jars on a cold surface or in a cold draft.
  • Let the jars sit undisturbed while they cool, from 12 to 24 hours. Do not tighten ring bands on the lids or push down on the center of the flat metal lid until the jar is completely cooled.
  • Remove ring bands from sealed jars. Put any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use first.
  • Wash jars and lids to remove all residues.
  • Label and date jars. Store them in a cool, dry place out of direct light.

Notes

Pepper Variations
  • If you like mild salsa, use banana peppers, poblano, or Anaheim.
  • For spicy salsa, use jalapeño peppers or cayenne peppers.
  • If you are brave, make your salsa verde hot, adding a few habanero peppers with your mild peppers.
 
Serving: 0.33cup, Calories: 36kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 0.3g, Saturated Fat: 0.04g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 300mg, Potassium: 242mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 652IU, Vitamin C: 32mg, Calcium: 29mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: Mexican
Course: Canning
Author: Gina Dickson

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Update Notes: This post was originally published in 2019 but was republished with new photos, step-by-step instructions, and tips in August 2022.

🎥 Be sure to visit Canning Green Tomato Salsa web story.

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