Vinegar Free Cilantro & Lime Salsa: Canning with Jessie | Bringing Design Home

Slow Cooker Cilantro & Lime Vinegar Free Salsa: Canning with Jessie

I know it’s completely nerdy, but I LOVEEEEE canning! Does anyone else out there get as excited as I do about canning!? Whether you are an experienced canner or still trying to figure out what pectin is, I’m so happy you are here!! This is a summer series we started several years back when Cale’s Grandma taught me how to can; thus the original title, Canning with Grandma. Since then we’ve switched the name from “Grandma” to different names of bloggers and neighbors who have shared their recipes, to old friends and family that just happened to be around to lend a helping hand whenever we are canning. :)

We’re kicking this summer’s recipes off with a bang! I’ve got two loaded salsa recipes that I have been tweaking and perfecting for nearly two years! Thanks to the Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op here in OK (Check it out, they have em all over the US!) we’ve had access to large batches of fruits and veggies throughout the entire year! Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing like the taste of a tomato picked from your own garden, but unfortunately we can’t grow those year-around. Because of our access to large quantities of fresh veggies I’ve been able to hone in on some of my favorite canning recipes and get a head of my summer canning schedule!

Which also means I’m not slaving over a hot stove 9 months pregnant in July! :)

Our first canning recipe for this year is my *new* all time favorite salsa that is completely vinegar free! I believe strongly that there is nothing like a good salsa and that’s why I’m a purist salsa lover at heart. I have tried several canned salsa recipes and although they look beautiful, I can’t stand the vinegar. Regardless of how little vinegar there might be in the actual recipe, the vinegar flavor always seems to over power the fresh tomatoes and peppers. Let em shine baby! I mean we’ve worked so hard all summer watering, and pruning, and loving on these garden beauties! It’s time to let them take center stage and get back to a traditional home canned salsa that’s truly cilantro and lime based. Typically, vinegar is needed to help preserve the salsa, but after doing much research, and some good ole trial and error, I’ve also found that fresh lime juice works just as well! And let me tell ya, the results are AMAZING!! :D

I have to thank my sister-in-law Jessie for her assistance with this recipe. She’s really helped me nail down the base ratio of peppers to tomatoes. The other thing she introduced me too, is cooking canned salsa in the slow cooker instead of a giant pot over the stove! This has completely changed my life when it comes to canning and because of that I have named this post; Canning with Jessie! :)

The slow cooker is a great way to cook your salsa without heating up your house in the middle of summer. Instead of cooking the salsa in a pot for an hour or so, you cook the salsa on high for four hours. This method really gives you a good idea of how all the flavors will blend together over time. Not only does this process allow you to break up your day into phase 1: preparing the salsa, and phase 2: canning the salsa, it also allows you to tweak the flavors as you go.

Plus, you get to munch on salsa all day long! I’m just saying…

It takes a lot of time to can your own food and if I’m gonna take the time to do it, I want recipes that are gonna be flexible with my schedule, utilizing the ingredients I have on hand, and in the end result in preserves that I know are gonna be BIG HITS! This recipe is so forgiving and flexible. If you add too many peppers, just pull out a can of diced tomatoes and no one will ever know! ;) Want it hotter? Add more whole peppers! Either way, don’t be afraid to trust your gut and add more as needed. I always try and look for a good balance of peppers + onions = tomatoes. If you like a more tomato flavored salsa, slowly add in the peppers until you get the consistency that’s right for you. I promise if you take the time to really let this salsa build over time, you’ll end up with a batch your taste buds and everyone else around you will love! ;)

Slow Cooker Cilantro & Lime Vinegar Free Canned Salsa

Yields: About 8 Pint Jars
  • 28 tomatoes (1/2 peeled, 1/2 not, and then I hand diced 1/2 and used the juicer to chop/blend the other 1/2)
  • 1 large red onion
  • 5  jalapeño peppers (2 with seeds, 3 without seeds)
  • 3 large Anaheim chilies (without seeds)
  • 2 bell peppers (without seeds)
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp cumin powder
  • 8 garlic gloves
  • 1-2 bunches of cilantro (I like a lot of cilantro!)
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 small can tomato paste for thickening (if needed)


STEP 1: Blend and chop the tomatoes, then add to the slow cooker. If you want it really chunky, chop more and blend less.

STEP 2: Blend and dice the peppers and onions together, then add them to the slow cooker. This is where you get a good idea of your thickness/consistency. Feel free to add more if you need too! I look for a good ratio of peppers & onions = tomatoes, but you may like yours with less peppers? I feel like it gives the salsa a better mix of flavors.

STEP 3: Add the salt, cumin, sugar, garlic gloves, and lime juice. Chop the fresh cilantro, but set aside for later!

STEP 4: Cook on high for about 4 hours. I know you’ll be tempted to cook it on low overnight, but the salsa will have an overcooked/burnt taste to it. Do a taste test about an hour in, and see if it’s spicy enough? You can always add in more peppers to bring up the heat. If you put too many peppers, just pull out a can of diced tomatoes (no one will know!) and that should balance things out a bit!

STEP 5: After the salsa has cooked for three hours, throw in the fresh cilantro and let it cook for one last hour. Feel free to add any last minute extras depending on your final taste test.

STEP 6: Bring a boiling-water caner or large sauce pot, half-full with water, to a simmer (takes about 30 minutes). Next, make a hot bath for the lids by filling a small sauce pan with 1 in of warm water. Keep the small sauce pan on medium-low heat with the lids inside the hot bath until you are ready to seal the hot jars.

STEP 7: Once the water is boiling place as many empty jars as you can (might have to do two batches of jars at a time) in the simmering water. This is a quick way to heat up the empty jars just before you fill them up with salsa. Remove the jars when your salsa is finished cooking and just before you are ready to start the canning process.

STEP 8: Pour the hot salsa into hot sterilized jars, within 1/2 inch from the top. Remove any air bubbles by moving a wooden or plastic (not metal!) utensil up and down the middle of the jar. Seal with hot lids and apply screw bands.

STEP 9: Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

STEP 10: Remove and let the jars completely cool and seal for 12-24 hours. If a jar lid still pops up and down when you press on it, after the cooling stage, the jar did not seal properly. Simply place this jar in the fridge and eat first. Store in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.

I just love how colorful and fresh this salsa looks in the jars. Unlike canning jam, where you have to be ready to can it the minute the jam is boiling hot, cooking the salsa in a slow cooker breaks up your day and gives you a bit more time to prepare for the canning process. With kids running around it can be hard to find a good 3-4 hours at one time to cut everything up and can when the salsa is hot. I love that this slow cooker recipe slows down the process and is flexible enough that I can wait until nap time if I have too! :)

Thanks Jessie for giving me the base for this perfect salsa recipe! We seriously should have a salsa party this summer!? Wouldn’t be that be fun!? Now… I’ve just gotta figure out where and when we can schedule it in between baby #2′s July due date!? :/

Happy canning everyone!

Look for our Slow Cooker Smokehouse Garden Salsa toward the end of June!

From The Farm

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About meg:

I like curly lines, and the simple joys of life. Good coffee and the perfect souffle.

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2 Responses to “Slow Cooker Cilantro & Lime Vinegar Free Salsa: Canning with Jessie”
  1. peggy

    I came across your salsa recipe. All the salsa reciepes for canning include vinegar. I too do not like vinegar and was very please to know that you use lime juice. My questions is: Do I have to use the green pepper or can I substitute wiht more spicy peppers? I have read that if you have too many spicy peppers it throws off the PH ballance. Thank you for your help.


    • 06.13.2014

      Hi Peg,

      That is a great question! I am no chemist expert, but I can share from my personal canning experience. Honestly, I change up the peppers constantly in the recipe depending on what is in season and what our garden is producing. I’ve never had a problem with it. In all the research I did about vinegar vs. lime juice I found to estimate about 3 TBS of lime juice per jar to keep be certain you’ve got a good PH Balance. But to be honest, the salsa tasted a little too limey to me (I Know I’m picky!). So… I’ve brought it down to 3/4 cup that is listed in the recipe. For 8 jars that is 1.5 TBS per jar. I’d say if you want to be safe go a head and double it to the 3 TBS per jar, but I’ve canned this recipe at least 4 times this past year and never had a problem with it spoiling or going bad. With that said… we go thru most of our canned salsa within 6 months so any jars that last longer then that you might want to watch closely (if you keep the lime juice at 1.5 TBS instead of the 3 TBS). Just my thoughts! I hope this helps? Best of luck and let us know if you run into any other questions.

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