Mild Salsa

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This is a mild, fresh-tasting salsa that even people who don’t usually like salsa will like.

Note this is *not* an original recipe. It’s the USDA’s Choice Salsa guidelines; just with suggestions as to which ingredients to use in the ratios they suggest.

It’s got a bit of liquid on it, to make it safe for home canning, so when serving it, you may wish to tip the bottle into a sieve to drain excess liquid off, or, scoop out with a fork.

When serving it to a more hardened salsa crowd, you could stir in some hot sauce and fresh chopped coriander leaves (aka cilantro) at time of serving.

This makes a great layer in dips. It really has a very fresh taste to it that wakes up the rest of the dip. Small 1 cup ( quarter-litre / 8 oz / 1/2 pint) jars are ideal for this kind of use.

There’s 152 mg sodium per 4 tablespoons, which is amazing compared to salt-laden commercial salsas, but you can get that down even lower to 4 mg sodium by using a salt sub.

This recipe makes a lot; you may wish to cut it in half.

The recipe

Jar size choices: Quarter-litre (1/2 US pint / 250 ml / 8 oz) OR half-litre (1 US pint / 500 ml/ 16 oz)

Processing method: Either water-bath or steam canning

Yield: 12 x quarter-litre (1/2 US pint / 250 ml) jars

Headspace: 2 cm (1/2 inch)

Processing time: 15 minutes either size jar

Mild Salsa

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Yield: 12 x quarter-litre (US ½ pint) jars

Serving size: 4 tbsp

Calories: 17

Fat: .2 g

  • 1.5 kg approx paste tomatoes (measured after peeling. About 3 pounds / 6 cups in volume of coarsely chopped tomato)
  • 300 g of peeled and finely chopped onion (2 cups / 10 oz. Measured after prep.)
  • 1 kg of seeded and finely chopped sweet Bell pepper (7 cups / 2 lbs. Measured after prep.)
  • 250 ml bottled lemon juice (1 cup / 8 oz)
  • 125 ml bottled lime juice (1/2 cup / 4 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon salt OR salt sub
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon liquid stevia
  • 1½ teaspoons dried chile flake (optional)
  1. Peel the tomatoes. This is really easy done by washing the tomatoes, then boiling them for 1 to 3 to 5 minutes (depending on the tomatoes) in hot water, then plunging them into a pan, sink or large bowl of very cold water. The skins will pull off easily.
  2. Chop tomato coarsely into about 2 cm (1/2 inch) pieces and add to large pot.
  3. Prep onion (food processor with pulse button is fine) and add to pot.
  4. Wash the peppers, stem and seed them, then chop finely (food processor with pulse button is fine) and add to pot.
  5. Add lemon and lime juice to pot.
  6. Add seasonings (from the salt down to the chile flake) to the pot.
  7. Put pot on the burner and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to avoid scorching on bottom.
  8. When it hits a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 3 minutes, stirring a few times.
  9. Spoon into quarter-litre (1/2 US pint) or half-litre (US pint) jars.
  10. Leave 2 cm (1/2 inch) headspace.
  11. Debubble, adjust headspace.
  12. Wipe jar rims.
  13. Put lids on.
  14. Process in a water bath or steam canner.
  15. Process either size jar for 15 minutes; increase time as needed for your altitude.
  16. Best after at least a month of jar time.


Reference information

How to water bath process.

How to steam can.

When water-bath canning or steam canning, you must adjust the processing time for your altitude.


Recipe notes

  • For the pepper, you could swap out some sweet pepper and swap in an equal amount of peppier pepper.
  • Don’t add any fresh herbs for canning, however much you want to. Add at time of serving. That way they’ll be truly fresh, anyway.
  • You are peeling the tomatoes in order to reduce the bacterial load going into the canner.
  • Yes, the juices must be bottled, in order to ensure that a guaranteed acidity is being used. See Ball All New if you prefer to make fresh juice salsas.
  • If you want to increase the heat do so by using dried chile flake.
  • You are allowed to increase / decrease saltiness / sweetness to taste. Thus:
  • You can add more salt, to taste.
  • You can use a non-bitter, not clouding salt sub (such as Herbamare Sodium-Free) instead of salt, in the same quantities as you would salt.
  • If you find the tomatoes not quite sweet enough, to round out the taste you can add a few tablespoons of sugar, or, liquid stevia 1/4 teaspoon at a time.


minced bell pepper

The minced pepper


minced onion

The minced onion


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Recipe source

Based strictly on guidelines provided by: National Center for Home Food Preservation. Choice Salsa.


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Nutrition information

Regular version

Using salt.

Per 4 tablespoons / 60 ml

  • 17 calories, 152 mg sodium.

Mild Salsa Nutrition Regular

Salt-free version

Using a salt sub.

Per 4 tablespoons / 60 ml

  • 17 calories, 4 mg sodium.
  • Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 1 to 7 tablespoons: 0 points; 8 to 15 tablespoons: 1 point.

Mild Choice Salsa nutrition


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Even though the USDA guidelines let us “invent” our own recipe, it still ended up well and truly deep in the safe zone, way below the max cutoff of 4.6.


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* Nutrition info provided by

* PointsPlus™ calculated by Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.

* Better Stevia ® is a registered trademark of the NOW Foods Company.

* Herbamare ® is a registered trademark of the A. Vogel Corporation.

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