Turn backyard cherry tomatoes into a colorful – and tasty – salsa.
Cherry tomatoes are colorful, easy to grow, and prolific. So every year I find myself planting several different kinds. This year, I put 10 cherry tomato plants in the ground and they have blessed me with lots of tomatoes. LOTS of tomatoes. There are tiny red cherry tomatoes. Medium sized yellow cherry tomatoes. Beefy purple cherry tomatoes. And what can only be described as a promiscuous cross between the purple and what was supposed to be green cherry tomatoes. The vines are starting to look like Medusa’s hair, wildly writhing all over the place, so it was time to cut them back, and harvest the tomatoes for salsa.
If you avoid making salsa because of all that peeling and seeding of tomatoes (I can’t be the only lazy home food preserver, can I?), cherry tomato salsa is the answer. The end result is a bit juicy, but you can thicken each jar as you open it if you like. I usually use the loose salsa as is, but it only takes a few minutes to thicken the salsa with a little cornstarch. DON’T thicken it before canning.
This recipe makes a mild-medium salsa. Although there are no additional spices, the flavor is fantastic, due to those sweet cherry tomatoes!
Not sure how to properly use a water bath canner? Check out my free tutorial here before canning your salsa.
Cherry Tomato Salsa
- 7 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
- 3 1/2 cups chopped Anaheim peppers
- 2 medium jalapeno peppers
- 1 1/3 cups chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons pickling salt
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Wash tomatoes and peppers before chopping. Peel onion and garlic.
- Chop cherry tomatoes (I usually cut them in half or in quarters, depending on size), peppers, onion, and garlic.
- Combine all ingredients in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Ladle hot salsa into pint jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Wipe jar rims with damp paper towel.
- Cover with two-piece lids. Process in water bath canner for15 minutes.
- Makes about 4 pints of salsa.
I have never water canned. How would I use a pressure canner for this receipe?
Debbie, I am not a pressure canning expert at all, and cannot find an approved recipe for pressure canned salsa. You could freeze the salsa (I often do this if I am making a small batch).
This recipe looks so easy and delish. Did you roast your Anaheim peppers before chopping up or just use fresh ones? Also, I want to add a few more jalapenos, so do I sub those in place of a few Anaheim? Thanks!
Cheri, I used fresh Anaheim peppers. Yes, you can substitute one type of pepper for another, as long as the total amount stays the same.
Can I make this salsa with Roma tomatoes that I dice!
Yes you can!
Hi. Can you make two quarts instead of 4 pints? Changing the processing time?
Katie, so sorry – you should stick to pints. I don’t know of any salsa recipes that are approved for quart jars. For safety reasons, salsa should be canned in pint or half-pint jars. Of course, you could always freeze quart jars of salsa. I sometimes do this, when it’s the end of the season and I only have enough tomatoes to make one or two jars. Great question though. Thanks.
If you have extra left after filling your 4 pint jars can you use a 1/2 pint and can the rest?
Kori, yes, you can do so. Or just place the extra in the refrigerator and use that up first.
I’m wondering if I can safely can this recipe in half pint jars?
Absolutely! I would use the same processing time though.
Thank you so much for this – I am new to water bath canning and swimming in cherry tomatoes so this recipe is sure to be a lifesaver!
I saw in the comments that you mentioned to wait about three weeks before popping one open to allow the vinegar/acid flavor to mellow. Can you please advise on how long they are shelf stable?
I can’t wait for my pint jars and jalapenos to come in to get to work. 🙂
Jacilyn, Properly sealed jars are usually good for 1-2 years. After that food quality suffers remains safe to eat – as long as the recipe was followed correctly and the jar is still sealed. It is my favorite salsa now!
I thought you needed tomato paste/sauce to balance the acidity? Thanks for the recipe, cant wait to try it. Also, does the skin cook down well?
Tracy, some salsa recipes add extra tomato paste, but most just use tomatoes and vinegar/lemon or lime juice for acidity. No added paste does make a thinner salsa.
This also makes great bloody mary mix.
Crystal, that’s an good idea! Thanks. 🙂
Stupid question – is the 7 cup measurement before or after cutting up the tomatoes? Since you say you need to follow the recipe exactly for sanitary reasons I want to make sure I’m doing it right.
Joe, the recipe calls for 7 cups of chopped cherry tomatoes; so after cutting them up 🙂
Made a batch of salsa following this recipe. It is delicious! I’m still making more and canning it. So glad to have a great cherry tomato recipe, as I have tons of cherry tomatoes!
Anna, glad you like it. I am sad this year – not enough cherry tomatoes to make any myself! It’s a paste tomato year here. Enjoy!
Do you peel the tomatoes or live the skin in
Amie, I leave the skin on. Guess I am too lazy to peel the tomatoes. Cherry tomato skins are usually tender, so there’s really no need to peel.
I am ready to go but just realized I have no limes, will lemon juice do?
Patti, yes, you can substitute lemon juice for lime juice and vice versa. But both should be bottled juice, not fresh. Check out the reason why on this post: https://www.seedtopantry.com/2021/09/18/altering-your-canned-salsa-recipe/
Why couldn’t you process your tomatoes in a blender to get rid of skins? Then cook your tomato salsa.
I have cooked tomatoes that were cut in larger chunks and pain stakingly fished out as many skins as I could.
I don’t use a recipe but just add chopped onions, sliced jalapeños or what ever hot peppers you have available, salt, pepper, garlic, a splash of white vinegar and crushed dried cilantro. I cook or slow boil, stirring often until it cooks about have down. It can easily scorch so keep stirring at a slower boil. I sterilize all my jars ready and kept in the hot water with lids. My tomatoes or salsa are screaming hot and I fill the hot jars with the boiling tomatoes and place lids and bands on. I wait till next morning to check for sealing. 99% of the time they seal just fine. Most of the time it doesn’t take long to hear the pinging of the lids.
Teri, I am so glad you asked! First up, check out my “Changing Your Salsa Recipe” post coming later this week for a longer explanation.
You can process your tomatoes in a blender, but then you have tomato puree. Tomato puree needs a longer water bath canning period, added lemon juice, and no other salsa-like ingredients like onion and peppers. I have not found an approved salsa or taco sauce recipe that calls for pureed tomatoes.
Also, I implore you – do not can salsa made without following a recipe. It is potentially life-threatening. Approved recipes have been tested to make sure there is enough acid (vinegar or lemon juice) for safety. Onions, peppers, cilantro, etc are not safe to water bath can unless they have the correct amount of acid added. Sterilized jars and sealed lids are great, but not enough to ensure product safety. As my Master Food Processor instructor always said, “A sealed jar isn’t necessarily a safe jar!”
Thank you so much for bringing this topic up. It is an important one!
Do I need to peel skins and take seeds out of cherry tomatoes? Or just slice and dice whole?
Tracey, I can’t imagine peeling and seeding cherry tomatoes, although some people do so. I just slice them up. The skins are usually tender and I don’t mind the seeds in the salsa.
Can I use green peppers instead of Anaheim pepper?
Absolutely – you can use any peppers, as long as the recipe amount stays the same.
Hi! Can you add cilantro to this? Thanks!
That sounds delicious, but – no, you can’t add cilantro to this recipe. It is set up to follow an approved recipe; one that does not include cilantro – which is a low-acid ingredient. Watch for my “Changing Your Salsa Recipe” post later this week for more on this.
Do you have any issues with the skins? I made tomato jam and I did not like the skins. I can’t see skinning all these cherry tomatoes and just wondered how the skins were in the finished product. By the way the recipe sounds wonderful.
Patti, skinning cherry tomatoes would be torture! No, I don’t mind the skins at all. But I do use small cherry tomatoes, or quarter the larger ones. Sadly, this year I don’t have enough cherry tomatoes to make any – and it’s my favorite salsa. Try a small batch and hopefully the skins won’t be a problem. Good luck!
I’ve pushed some of the tomato skins through a sieve, and left some. They seem not as bothersome when there’s a small amount.
I used this recipe, followed it completely. I don’t know what went wrong. The taste is tart or sour. Taste like vinegar. Any ideas? Is it salvageable? I know you say do not change the recipe yet is there something that will offset the taste of vinegar when I open a jar to eat it?
Renee, perhaps the cherry tomatoes weren’t completely ripe? Once you open a jar, you can add a little white or brown sugar to cut the vinegar taste. For future batches you have a couple of options: make sure to use cider vinegar (it’s less sharp than white vinegar), cherry tomatoes picked at the peak of ripeness will be sweetest, or reduce both the vinegar and lime juice and freeze the salsa instead of canning it. Best of luck!
Can I use cherry tomatoes that I have frozen?
Heather, you could try. As long as the measurements were taken before they were frozen. The salsa may be a bit thinner but you can always thicken each jar as you open it. Don’t add thickener before canning though. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.
I have tried your recipe, i think it taste wonderful. The only thing i did different is i blanched then for just a few minutes and took and if you squeeze then while cutting then most of the juice and seed pop out. I had real good luck with it.
Hi there! May I ask why the measurement should be taken before being frozen? I washed a bunch, froze them on sheet pans for a day, then threw them in a gallon freezer bag before thinking to weigh or measure. Am I out of luck?
Susie, if the tomatoes are frozen individually then you can just measure them when getting ready to cook. But if they are frozen while all stuck together, they have to thaw before being measured, and that throws the ratio off.
Thank you for the response!!
I made the salsa today with my frozen tomatoes. Since I laid them out on a sheet pan to freeze they were individual little frozen balls. Quick pulse in the food processor while frozen and they measured out perfectly!
Great use of all the cherry tomatoes have. We couldn’t eat them all so now I have about 20 pints of salsa. Good thing we like our chips and salsa!
That’s a lot of salsa. Enjoy!
My husband and I do not eat spicy foods. Can we omit the peppers, and still can this safely?
Absolutely! Or you can use the same amount of sweet bell peppers instead of the Ahaheim and jalapeno peppers.
Do you have to use citric acid to can this salsa since its a tomato salsa?
Kathy, no citric acid needed. The vinegar and lime juice provide enough acidity.
Thank you, I made my batch of salsa, but I tasted it as I put it in my canning jars. Mine tasted extremely strong vinegar. Im new to canning, but followed the recipe exactly. Any thoughts on what I did wrong or how to fix it?
Kathy, as long as you used the correct amounts of ingredients I am sure you did nothing wrong. Most pickled products mellow a bit as they age. Let the jars sit at least 3 weeks after processing and then taste again. I bet it will be perfect! If not, it could be that the tomato variety is quite astringent. Don’t reduce the amount of vinegar and lime juice though; it’s there to assure a safe product.
Thanks much! I was thinking that might be the case! It looks beautiful! Thank you for responding so quickly.
Came out so good thank you for sharing we have had a ton of cherry tomatoes this year.I could not find Anaheim peppers so I used green and jalapeno instead came out great
Cynthia, that’s great! I am down to only one jar left. Thankfully it will soon be cherry tomato season here.
I made this great salsa, as outlined for the first batch. The second batch I added 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes to pick up the heat. Thanks for a great recipe.
Ron, that sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing the idea.
Can I combine roma tomatoes with my cherry tomatoes for this recipe as long as I stick to a total of 7 cups of tomatoes?