Saturday, July 21, 2012

Taste Test Canned Salsa Recipes

Salsas: From Left to Right call them #1, #2, and #3
I started canning last year and thoroughly enjoy it, so I decided to buy 25 pounds of tomatoes and try three different recipes for salsa. 
I looked around online for recipes I liked, and used one I had in my recipe file. The salsa on the far left in the picture was from a recipe the local Mobile County Extension (Alabama). When I called them, they were very nice and sent out an entire package of recipes on every type of canning you could imagine.

The second recipe was's Zesty Salsa For Canning.

The third recipe was Byron's Salsa, found on this link.

The results were entirely unexpected. I liked every single one of them enough to make them again. They are, however, very different in taste, texture and amount of salsa made according to the recipe.

The Breakdown
Salsa #1 : The recipe had quite a few ingredients, including oregano, which was kind of exciting to me, since I have a good bit of oregano in the garden. It also included cumin, which is a flavor I love. This recipe called for white vinegar. Of the three recipes I tried, this was the only one to call for white vinegar. It had specific times to cook the mixture (20 minutes, after it comes to a boil). 

At the end of the recommended time, the salsa was really loose and runny. I was following directions as much as possible, so I took it out and ladled it into the canning jars. I canned it for the recommended 20 minutes, ending up with 6 full jars and one that was only partially filled. I was really disappointed with the way this salsa looked. I put the jar that I wasn't able to can into the refrigerator. When I tasted it after it cooled, I was amazed. The taste was really good, and right on the money for heat--along the lines of medium salsa you can buy from the store. 

Salsa #2 : This recipe has 65 reviews on and has 5 stars. It also had a pretty long ingredient list. The list included cider vinegar rather than the white vinegar required in the previous recipe. Interestingly, this recipe requires one to add a can of tomato paste right at the end to thicken it up. I lowered the amount of hot peppers to 5 large jalapenos. 

When I canned this recipe, I had enough for 8 jars of salsa, though the site said I would only end up with 6. I was happy with how much salsa I was able to get from this effort. It has a beautiful look--just what I expect when I open a can of salsa. The flavor was very good. I really liked it, too. 

Note: This recipe forgets to tell you to peel the tomatoes before canning. And I found a tip on another site that suggested cutting up your tomatoes one night, placing them into a colander over a bowl or pan, salting, and placing this entire thing into the fridge overnight. This way the tomatoes can drain into the pan and cooking times are greatly shortened. This also helps keep the salsa fresh tasting, as opposed to the taste of something that has been cooked to death. 

Salsa #3 : This recipe has a wonderful short ingredient list, just tomatoes, onion, jalapeno peppers, salt and cider vinegar. I added garlic and cilantro to the recipe, since I can't imagine salsa without cilantro. I used 4 large jalapenos, since I had 8 cups of tomatoes, and it is spicier than the other two recipes. It made the family's eyes water while it was cooking. This was my husband's choice for lunch today. The flavor is really nice, if slightly on the spicy side. It made 4 cans with a little left over. 

It cooked quickly and worked really well. The taste was amazing. 

So now what do I do? I like all of these recipes. I can see that I would make salsa #3 if I were in somewhat of a hurry or if I didn't want to use anything other than the most basic ingredients. I would make salsa #2 for a good all-around salsa. And salsa #1 would be great as a marinade or served over grits or rice. I was hoping to get one great recipe that stood out from all the rest. What I discovered was that there are many great recipes out there, and all of them taste better than those I have purchased from the store.

You can see my update, where my husband and I did a side-by-side comparison here. 


  1. Thanks for doing all the work on this! I'm excited to try #2 and greatly appreciate your tips! Ooohhh...this is going to be good!

    1. I am glad to hear that my taste test provided you with a favorite. I have enough tomatoes to make one more batch. I am planning to make #2, too. I hope you enjoy it.

  2. Cristy I used No. 2 this year and absolutely loved it but now you have inspired me to possibly make some more! Thanks for sharing....Byron's salsa and the Mobile salsa both look intriguing to me.....I just love salsa! :)

    1. I just love salsa, too. Thanks for stopping by my site. I found another recipe after I made these that looks intriguing to me. I am trying to decide whether to make this one or make #2 again.