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Annie's salsa mix...big hit

August 3, 2005

I have spent several years trying to make a really good salsa and have finally hit the nail on the head after trying Annie's recipe. Our gold standard for commercial salsa is Pace, we just love it and no other will do. I adjusted the recipe just a teeny bit since I like just the hint of cilantro. I didn't grow jalapenos this year so habeneros and hot lemon went in instead. This is absolutely the best salsa I've made! Everyone is raving about it after a lot of failures, LOL. I think the other recipes I've tried were too thick with various spices, including the Ball's prepared mixes. Thanks a bunch, Annie, this was a big hit for us. Lori

Comments (159)

  • ksrogers

    Last year, I had somehow grown a few tiny plum tomatoes, as well as cherry tomatoes. These were an accident I guess as most were supposed to be big eating types I was growing for a friend. I tasted the cherry ones, blah... tasteless. The tiny plums look like a grape tomato but most have a pointed tip at the bottom. I must say that they had to be one of the best I have tasted in a long time, they had the nice flavor of full grown tomatoes. I was so impressed, I cut a few open and saved the seeds for this year. I only grew 8 plants, but all were doing quite well until we had nearly non stop rain about 3 weeks ago. The plants lost most of the lower leaves due to blight, and septoria, but are still producing about 12 tomatoes per stem cluster. Out of the 8 plants (they don't grow much higher than 5 feet), I have probably picked about 2 gallons so far. The only annoying thing is once nearly ripe, they fall off to the ground. Luckily I have black fabric mulch that keeps them clean. I only need to go out with my stirrup hoe and 'coral' the falls out from under the plants. Next year, they will be the only ones I grow, but in a more sunny location. Can't enjoy tomatoes much anymore due to failing kidneys. One of the meds (cytoxan) I am on now makes me feel so sick, its hard to enjoy anything I grow.

  • snowbunny517

    I was wondering if I increased the vinegar to 1 cup if I could add black beans to this recipe, I just love black bean salsa, I've used the Ball salsa seasoning for many years and have added black beans to it, this was before I knew there was a problem with acidity when adding ingredients, I have never gotten sick from it, the Ball recipe called for 1 cup of cider vinegar.

  • obrionusa

    I'm making this tonight.. What do you do with the seeds of the jalapenos? I wasnt sure whether to throw it in or not.. Please help.. Thanks!

  • eurolarva

    First batch I made I burned. I used a stainless steel dutch oven and the heat must have been too high. Second batch I made I waited till the mixture came to a boil then added the sugar and kept stirring. That worked well for me. I read all the previous posts and it looks like I am the only one who had this problem. I am so glad I found this recipe. I have been pulling a bucket of tomatoes a day and have canned 20 quarts of sauce. Nice to have salsa for the winter. It is awesome tasting but the fresh is still the best. Problem with the fresh is even after a day it starts loosing its flavor.

  • mrswaz

    I'm going to use this thread to piggy-back a question here. I've canned salsa for years, and this year I'm going to try using Annie's recipe since it's very similar to what I already do. What I want to do is make a batch without onions, as I have a friend who is allergic, and there is just no such thing as salsa without onions for purchase. M

    My question is whether that omission will affect the safety of the finished product? I will likely add a few more bell peppers and a few more cloves of garlic to make up for the flavor missing. I just would hate to give my friend several jars of salsa that would end up being unsafe in the long run.

  • calliope

    Well, our tomatoes are at least a month behind from ripening because of the weather and tonight I finally had enough to make a full batch of Annie's Salsa. Of course I had to try it, 117 posts convinced me.

    Let's just put it this way because there's no other way to put it.....it's the BEST salsa I've ever made, and maybe ever tasted and we use gallons of it every year.

    This batch, I'm freezing. Next batch I'll pressure can it. I didn't tweek the directions much, just left out the cilantro since I didn't have any and put a dash of Cajun spices in it. I used mostly San Marzano tomatoes and Serento chiles, and my own gourmet Italian onions. Left out the paste, upped the sauce and stopped right there before I ruined it. LOL.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful sauce. Wow.

  • katiediddesign

    This is my first year canning, and I made what I see is a pretty typical mistake. I didn't understand the need for acid in canning.

    So here's what I did. I skinned, chopped, and cooked down LOTS of tomatoes... mostly roma, but not all. I don't remember how much, but after I added the following, I had nine pints of salsa... so it had to be somewhere around 7 pints of tomatoes.

    Then, I ran two very hot peppers and a dozen or so jalapeño peppers through the food processor (they all fit easily at once) and dumped them in. I don't think the total could possibly have been more than 2 cups of chopped hot peppers. I added about 2 cups of minced green/red peppers, but I'd rather round up to 3 since these are low acid... then about 1 - 1 1/2 cups of minced onions and about 1/2 cup of minced garlic.

    When I finished, I boiled it all for hours and lost 1 pint of water.

    Then I boiling water canned it for 20 minutes... and then, the next morning, realized the importance of the acid I didn't add. Soo... I stuck all of the jars in the refrigerator, hoping that I could add the acid and redo them. (That was yesterday.)

    So now I'm going to boil it all over again, and I'm trying to figure out how much acid to add! I have both lemon juice and citric acid on hand, and it seems that if I find a recipe that makes 8 or 9 pints, and add however much it says to add, I should be fine... since my ratio of other vegetables seems to be much less than what most recipes call for.

    But I'm not sure. Plus, most recipes call for cumin, and I don't know if that's somehow necessary for salsa or not... and most call for vinegar, which I'd rather not use... and I don't know how much lemon juice or citric acid to use instead.

    I also want to make sure that it's still safe to re-can this, after sitting in the basement BWB canned for one day, and sitting in the refrigerator for another day.

    Can someone who's experienced in all this help me with a proven recipe close enough to what I did, so I can use it with confidence? The LAST thing I want to do is kill my family!

  • obrionusa

    I was wondering what everyone does with the tomato innards?
    I was thinking why couldnt add a few tomato's and make juice out of it. Anyone have any ideas?

  • ksrogers

    Tomato 'innards' are the very necessary 'pulp'. About only useless parts are the skins, seeds, and the watery liquid. I remove most of the liquid and seeds and then run through a food strainer. If I wanted to make just juice, I don't prep first, so the the strainer just takes out the seeds and skins. Adding other vegetable juices is also good, celery, onion, carrot, etc for a tomato juice.

  • giselle_gardner

    Hi Annie,

    I am back again for season two! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to a great recipe. Not only that but also your time with replying to all of us.

    It was good to see you come and post again. I am so sorry to hear your news...you take care!

  • melva02

    Wow, lots of unanswered questions here. Let me take a stab at some based on what I've learned on here.

    to snowbunny on 9/3/08:
    No, it's not safe to add beans, sorry. They change the texture and they're a low-acid ingredient. I would suggest adding a can of black beans after you open the pint of salsa (you could mix them in a quart jar if you want, just no canning). Unfortunately botulism is like roulette...you don't hit it so many times you think you never will, but that doesn't mean you never will. I wouldn't risk it. Based on the lack of bean salsa recipes for canning, I think beans really need a watery liquid surrounding them for good heat penetration.

    to obrionusa on 9/4/08:
    You can leave the jalapeno seeds in for a hotter salsa or leave them out for a milder one. With 3 store-bought jalapenos with the seeds taken out, mine was too mild. Not sure what Annie does...I'm guessing she leaves them in but only uses 3 or 4. She always says she doesn't like things so hot they make the enamel on her teeth bubble.

    to mrswaz on 9/6/08:
    Yes, it's safe to leave out the onions. You can increase the peppers some, but I'm not sure exactly how much. I would go with 2 cups of peppers plus 3-5 jalapenos unless I heard different from Linda Lou. It's safe to swap onions and peppers some, but I'd want Linda Lou's approval before doing a total replacement. Of course you can put some hot peppers in the 2 cups, I was just using 2 cups + 3-5 jals as a measurement. As for garlic, it has more oil and less water so it can't generally be increased...maybe a little but who knows? I would use garlic powder instead.

    to katiediddesign on 9/7/08:
    Since you have a family, I would recommend freezing this batch and starting over with a recipe. But, if I had to make a scientific judgment, I would agree that since you had a lower proportion of low-acid vegetables, you might be able to do 1.5 times the acid in Annie's salsa (6 pints of Annie's x 1.5 = 9 pints of yours) and get away with it. I would use (bottled!) lemon or lime juice instead of vinegar because it's more acidic, and I would check to make sure 1/2 cup of crushed garlic isn't more than 9-12 cloves of garlic, or you might get into trouble there.

    As a general rule: spices like cumin are not there for safety. They can be increased (within reason) or decreased safely. Herbs like cilantro can be reduced. More dried herbs can be added, but fresh herbs should stay within recipe limits. Sugar and salt in tomato products are for flavor not safety, so you can increase, decrease, or eliminate them. (In some other products sugar helps bind up water to increase product safety, so check if you're not sure whether the sugar is for safety. Also, in fermented pickles, salt:water ratio is critical for safety.)

    to obrionusa on 9/13/08:
    I think making tomato goo into juice was discussed on another thread, and I think people said the juice wouldn't be good. Good for compost though. :-\

    I hope everyone whose question went unanswered made a safe decision!


  • cheri_2007

    hi all in this forum--
    i'm new at making salsa and am going to try as i have a huge amount of tomatoes---i don't want to sound dumb---but i'm not sure i know how to go about peeling tomatoes---i assume you boil them-?? do you cut them first-or just throw them in whole---then do you use the seeds and all or what parts do you use---i'd love to hear how everyone does that part-i've got all the chopping and hwb down---just not sure about these peeled tomatoes---thanks cheri

  • melva02

    Hi Cheri, what I and many other do is this.

    Boil a big pot of water and get a big bowl of ice water ready. Blanch the tomatoes (boil them briefly), in this case for about 30 seconds. Then put them in ice water to stop the cooking. The skins should peel right off; if not, you can blanch them again and increase the blanching time for the rest. Then slice the tomato on its equator to expose triangular openings into the seed pockets. Squeeze it over a bowl to get out most of the seeds and goo, then chop the remaining meaty part and only use that.

    You can leave the seeds and goo in, but most of us like the taste better without it. Less bitter and less likely to cause heartburn.

    You can peel peaches the same way, but they usually need about a minute to blanch.


  • annie1992

    sorry, I've been MIA here, I got married in May, Dad passed away in august and my stepdad died three weeks later. I haven't even really had time to can much, or anything else.

    So, the questions. I agree, adding the black beans is going to throw off the acidity level of the finished product. The only way to assure that safety level to my satisfaction would be to pressure can the salsa at the time required for the beans and that would turn the salsa to mush, I think. Adding the beans after opening is a good suggestion.

    I leave the seeds in the peppers. I usually use 3 or 4, but this year I have a jalapeno so mild that I added 7 and still didn't get enough heat, so it depends on the pepper and how hot you want the salsa. I taste as I go, but remember, it'll get hotter on standing. The heat in the pepepr is all in the seedy white veins, called membranes, so if you want less heat, make sure you remove not just the seeds, but the white membranes as well. And wear gloves, LOL.

    The goo? I've added it to a pot of soup but didn't think it was all that great an addition. I feed it to my chickens, they love it and that way I don't feel like I wasted it. Compost is a good idea too.

    katie, I figure you have about 7 cups of low acid veggies in there, at least, and I don't know how many tomatoes. Figuring an acid amount would be difficult, I'd go for at least 2 1/2 cups and that's just a guess, frankly. Better to freeze that batch and use something that's been tested for acidity level. My salsa recipe and most others can be "tweaked". If you like more garlic or more peppers, but fewer onions, that's OK, but keep the total amount of low acid vegetables the same as the original recipe. Things like cumin and cilantro usually don't factor into the safety issue because the amounts used are so small.

    Ken, I'm sorry to hear that your health issues have gotten so bad, at least some of your little tomatoes can be enjoyed, even if only a small amount.

    This was a bad tomato year here. We had a late frost, had to replace the plants, then floods, then two months with nearly no rain. Even my old standbys, Rutgers and Bonny Best, struggled. I got 14 pints of salsa and 22 quarts of canned tomatoes, 8 quarts of stewed tomatoes. Out of 65 plants.

    We've had lots of discussion before about plum type tomatoes vs. regular tomatoes. I just have never had a plum tomato that I thought was worth a darn in taste, ever. I grew some, I bought some at the local farmer's market, they were just "OK". I like the flavor of some tomato varieties better than others and with Northern Michigan's short growing season some never even ripen, so I've been sucessful with certain types and that's what I use. Everyone else is welcome to use what they have, what they like and what is available in their area.


  • never-give-up

    I love this post! Bump

  • marymilkweed

    I love this forum and its great recipes. This Spring was my first attempt in growing my own vegetables and I had very good success for a first-timer. I know you all have been there, the "thrill and awe" when you harvest your very own vegetables for the first time. Now I'm wondering what took me so long, I am 64 years old!

    Because I am still going through learning curves, I am not able to actually start canning this season, but hope to by this Fall. I have a glass top electric stove and will need to test all the other options for doing HWB.

    Anyway, I made Annie's Salsa two days ago and it was wonderful! I was able to use my own tomatoes, green peppers and Jalapenos from the garden. I just made half the recipe to see if we liked it. My dear husband has eaten half of it already in two days.

    Tomorrow, I am making a second half recipe, mainly due to my tomato supply and the fact I am going to try freezing most of this batch. I am going to substitute some sweet red pepper for part of the green to see how it taste.

    Thank you, Annie, if you are still active on the forum, and all of the rest of you who actively post your recipes for us newcomers. Life is Good!

  • gardnpondr

    What does HWB mean?I'm new to this part of the garden web sites. I just found Annie's recipe here and plan on making it as well. We love salsa so I've got to make this one and try it.

  • never-give-up

    gardnpondr HWB is hot water bath. It is a type of canner. Do you plan on just making it or canning it?

    This is an old post. If you want to can it check digdirt's post on Monday Jan 19,09 @ 10:43 in the link below. Some things have changed in the canning world since 05. He and others on that thread discuss the changes.

  • annie1992

    Marymilkweed, I'm still here and I'm as active as I can be, given that it's time to fix fence and work the garden and clean the barn and...well, heck, I barely have time to go to my paying job. LOL

    By the way, HWB is "Hot Water Bath", which is used here pretty much interchangeably with BWB which is "boiling water bath". We mostly mean the same thing, although technically the water bath IS boiling.

    I'm glad you liked the recipe, my family loves it.

    Happy Canning!


  • gardnpondr

    Thank you Never Give up and Annie, I plan on canning it. Thank you for the link! I finally figured it out last night after thinking about it for a bit. lol I got 8 pints of green tomato relish canned today with Splenda and man that stuff is yummy! Going to be so good with the peas. Our corn is finally getting too hard to put up now but my brother in law came up here and went through the field and found a few ears for his supper and brought me 16 ears. I had just been telling him I was going to can some soup mix and was going to get 16 ears. Thought that was nice of him to do. DH cut the ends off it and I stuck it in the freezer just like that in some ziplocks until I have more veggies to put in there with it to can the soup mix.
    Thank you two again!!!

  • shakleemom

    Can't wait to try your Salsa recipe Annie!

    I've got 50 tomato plants flowering. Should have planted more pepper plants though!

  • digdirt2

    DH cut the ends off it and I stuck it in the freezer just like that in some ziplocks

    Hope you blanched it first.


  • gardnpondr

    Oh my goodness I just got finished making your salsa and man this stuff is AWESOME! I just GOT TO MAKE SOME MORE because I KNOW this is NOT going to be enough for us! lol I used Splenda in mine and it is SO GOOD! The only problem I had was trying to figure out HOW MUCH head space to leave in the jar. I looked at other salsa recipes I had and they all said 1/2" so that's what I did. I also used 1/2 pints because I didn't want any of it going to waste and was afraid pints would be too much for us to eat. I pressure canned at 10 pounds at 25 minutes so I know that should be plenty of time since the pints were only 30 minutes. I used my spatual to get every drop out of the pot! lol I am telling you, this is awesome and I am SO HAPPY you stayed with it until you came up with this recipe Annie! AND thank you for sharing it with us!!!!

  • jillzee

    Hi everyone,

    I'm interested in making this wonderful sounding recipe, and just have a question.

    Are the tomato paste and tomato sauce necessary? If I left them out would anything else need to change? I wouldn't bother leaving them out, but I noticed someone somewhere along the way in this chain mentioned that the original recipe didn't have them at all.

    I'm planning on using a HWB for processing, if that matters.

    Thank you for any advice you can offer!

  • digdirt2

    You can leave them out if you wish. It just results in a thinner, less tomato-taste salsa. No other changes are necessary if you do. But if doing it BWB be sure to use the full cup of vinegar or vinegar/bottled lemon or lime juice combo.


  • annie1992

    I agree, leave them out if you wish, I only added them for texture. I like thick, chunky salsa that will sit on a chip instead of running off, so I worked for a while on the texture thing.

    That's the only way I could get it thick enough without boiling it to death.


  • jillzee

    Thank you both for your quick responses! :) I'll leave at least one of the two in there then.

    Thanks again!

  • tracydr

    I'm going to the produce store tomorrow for the stuff to make this. Can you give me an idea of how many pounds of tomatoes and peppers I need? I will be replacing green peppers with hotter varieties such as serranos and habaneros. We like heat! I plan on trying one batch and doing more if successful.
    I'm also going to try to make another batch or two of tomato sauce as we've already eaten half of what I made. I figure I need 50 lbs of tomatoes just for the sauce and a second roasting pan! I hope tomatoes are still cheap!

  • nd_gardener

    I am pretty new to this website. I am looking for a good recipe for salsa and this one sounds great... Is there a place to find the actual recipe on this site.

  • digdirt2

    Here is one copy of the recipe. There are several other a search will pull up for you.

  • annie1992

    nd gardener, here is the recipe. I'm expecting the NCFHFP to come up with new guidelines for salsa and so I may add additional vinegar if that happens, but for now:

    8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
    2 1/2 cups chopped onion
    1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper
    3 5 chopped jalapenos
    6 cloves minced garlic
    2 tsp cumin
    2 tsp pepper
    1/8 cup canning salt
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 cup apple cider vinegar
    16 oz. tomato sauce
    16 oz tomato paste

    Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil, boil 10 minutes. Pour into hot jars, process pints for 15 minutes.

    Makes 6 pints

    A lot of changes have been made to this recipe. Some people like lemon or lime juice in place of some or all of the vinegar, that's fine. Some people leave out the cilantro, that's fine too. Some people add more hot peppers and fewer onions, fine as long as you keep the same total measurement. Some people leave out the sugar, that's fine.

    I like it a bit sweet, kind of thick and chunky and not too hot. I like the flavor of the apple cider vinegar best, but others don't necessarily.

    I do scoop out the goo in the middle of the tomatoes with my thumbs when I'm peeling and chopping, so it's 8 cups of chopped tomatoes without the seeds and goo.

    Have fun and happy canning.


  • tomva

    I made this last week,its sooooo goooooood,wish I had made more,Annie you just convinced me to double my tomato plants next season...:O)

  • annie1992

    tomva, more tomato plants are ALWAYS a good thing, LOL.

    Happy canning.


  • afeisty1

    I made the newer version of the salsa over the weekend. I added the cup of vinegar so I could BWB it as I already had it full of hot water from another canning project.

    I added 1/2 cup bottled lime juice, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 1/4 cup cider vinegar. I like cilantro and added a very healthy 1/4 cup, minced.

    OMG...it turned out wonderful. Although I measured carefully, I ended up with 8 pints. While that should be enough for a year, I am going to make another batch because it turned out so well and I can give a few jars away in Christmas baskets. In order to make that other batch, I have to go buy some more pint jars. I thought I was set with jars for years when I cleaned out Mom's basement. DH wonders if it's ever possible to have enough jars. LOL

  • annie1992

    afeisty, it's never possible to have enough jars, no matter how many I manage to amass...

    I always need the size I'm out of.


  • momagain1

    Did I missthe "headspace" amt on this?? making it soon..Thanks!

  • digdirt2

    1/2 inch headspace.


  • momagain1

    Thank you! I must have missed it..I read it multiple times; but having kids running around me..very well could have! Thank you!

  • elizabethw_swva

    I made 20 pints of this today, and had just enough left over to let my husband test it. I'm pretty sure I will have to buy more jars! He loved it and I think my guys will be eating it faster than I can churn it out....

    Thanks, Annie, for a wonderful recipe. I've been making salsa for years, and hit upon adding tomato paste last year for the texture, but your combination of spices is great.

  • mjstl

    I am a first year gardener and canner! Made your salsa for the first time today and it IS fantastic. I have a couple of questions if I may. What is the correct head space for pressure canning. Second I think i read u use homemade sauce if so have u shared that recipe. Finally do u have a good grape jelly recipe.
    Thank you so much,

  • annie1992

    The head space I use is 1/2 inch, I'm not so diligent that I measure, but it's always between 1/4 and 1/2 inch, whether I'm pressure canning or BWB.

    I do sometimes use homemade tomato sauce, if I have it. I just use the recipe in the Ball Blue Book or from Preserving Food Safely, the website of Michigan State University. I've linked it below.

    I'm glad you like the salsa!


  • manic4titans

    I found this recipe last year. My family and I LOVE it. I will NEVER make another recipe. Years I had used Mrs. Wages. Blech Annie's salsa is the best. I can't stomach that packet stuff any more.

    Is there a problem using the food processor for all the fresh ingredients? I did it last year but the pints only lasted a couple months. This year I plan on making at least 50 pints. A family of 5 can eat one pint during one meal.

    Next question, I can't remember if I put vinegar in my batch tonight. What do I do? Eat that first? Refrigerate?

  • morz8

    manic, are you unable to taste the vinegar to know? I've left a query for you for Annie on the cooking forum where she posts more regularly - I haven't made the recipe so am not sure on the processor. I know the pico de gallo I make is a pain to hand chop everything but the texture is better with that effort. Taste is the same, texture is better....

  • digdirt2

    If you have any doubt about adding it then fridge storage only and eat within a few days. It cannot be safely processed for shelf storage.


  • annie1992

    I agree with Dave. If there is any doubt about whether you added the vinegar, into the fridge it goes, it cannot be canned safely without it. I pressure canned the first batches, but my ultimate goal was to make a salsa that was safe to waterbath can. So, although I am/was confident in using the pressure canned version, it was not tested and declared safe like the water bath version was, and even that had some vinegar in it.

    Better safe than sorry, I'd definitely refrigerate the stuff and use it up, or freeze it. I know someone did that, but I'll be darned if I remember who.

    And you certainly can use the food processor to chop up the vegetables. I do mine by hand because I can't seem to get nice sized pieces. Either it's puree or the pieces are too big, and my knife skills are pretty good, so I just chop 'em.

    Manic, I'm glad you like it!


  • l pinkmountain

    I froze a batch of BWB caponata that didn't seal and it tasted very good after thawing 9 months later. I have also frozen what I call "mexican style" tomato sauce (with peppers and jalepenos) and the flavor holds up fairly well. I would try freezing the salsa if I had to. BWB salsa's have a vinegar taste. You can sub bottled lemon or lime juice but then they have a citrusy taste. I like the kick of it.

  • Tiffany Weaver-Fuller

    I realize this forum is quite old, but stil seems active so I thought I would ask! Annie, I noticed waaayyyy back in this post, you said the extension office said 15 minutes for pints and 20 for quarts. But, I've noticed on the recipe of "Annie's salsa" (same exact recipe) I pulled from Pinterest, says not to use anything bigger than pints. Well, I accidently grabbed the wrong jars today and it was too late to go back by the time I was getting everything ready, so I went ahead and did quarts for 25 minutes in a HWB. Is this still considered safe or should I put them in the fridge?

  • Tiffany Weaver-Fuller

    Never mind....I have went back and looked through another section of this forum and realized it is probably not safe....can I re-boil the salsa in the jars tomorrow morning and replace into pints or would that just make it all too mushy? I don't want to waste this salsa! We only had just enough tomatoes to make one batch!!

  • annie1992

    Tiffany, I'd reboil it and put it into pints, as long as it's been less than the 24 hours prescribed by the "experts". I used to pressure can it and it didn't get too mushy, so I don't think another turn in a boiling water bath is going to be fatal to the texture, although it might change it a little.


  • daisydawnny62

    Best stuff in the world. I put my own twist on it and use ghost peppers. Big hit.

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