Salsa Rojo

A basic red salsa with a nod to Mexico: grilled corn, guajillo chile, cumin and cilantro.

Corn in salsa? Why, yes, thank you for noticing. I’m not sure why you never seem to find corn included in salsa recipes, since corn and tomatoes are such a natural pair. Maybe it’s because salsa always seems to be served with corn: corn tortillas, chips, nachos, etc. But I got it into my head to add some of Tai’s delicious grilled corn to a basic, flavorful, spicy-but-not-killer-spicy red salsa, and like an old Devo tune, it simply wouldn’t leave. I wasn’t even positive that it was safe to water-bath process corn – it is such a starchy vegetable – but a quick look through the Ball Complete yielded a BWB corn relish recipe, convincing me that the small amount in my salsa (substituted for other low-acid ingredients) was perfectly safe.

I confess that, other than a few taste tests before it went into the jars, I haven’t even tried this yet. I did have a half-jar left at the tail end of my canning session that got popped into the fridge; it was busted out during an impromptu crêpe party that we hosted last weekend. Based on the moans, groans and imminent brawl between Tai, Alison & Katrina over the last of the salsa: I’m guessing it’s pretty good.

Adapted from Zesty Salsa and Corn Relish in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, J. Kingry and L. Devine, eds.


Salsa Rojo


  • 6 cups diced tomatoes (about 3 lbs: I used Juliet), unpeeled
  • 2 and 1/2 cups diced Cubanelle peppers (about 8 – 10 peppers)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups diced onion (about 1/2 lb)
  • 1 cup cooked corn kernels, fresh or frozen (I used Tai’s Grilled)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1/2 + 1/8 cups cider vinegar (at least 5% acidity)
  • 1 guajillo chile (1/8 oz), softened in 1/8 cup of boiling water
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp packed chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  2. As you dice the tomatoes, measure into a large colander to drain out any excess juice (depending on your preference, you can either reserve for another use, or reduce to a syrupy consistency and add back to the salsa). Add peppers, onion, corn (if frozen, run kernels under hot water to thaw), and garlic to colander.
  3. Transfer vegetables to a large (6-quart) stockpot or Dutch oven. Add vinegar, cumin and salt. Drain the liquid from the guajillo chile and add to the pot; finely chop the chile pepper and add to the pot.
  4. Simmer over medium heat until vegetables have softened and some of the liquid released has evaporated, thickening the salsa slightly, about 10 minutes.  Add cilantro; bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Ladle hot salsa into hot, sterlized jars to 1/2-inch headspace, wipe rims, affix lids and process in a  boiling water bath for 15 minutes. 

Yields about 4 pints.


  1. Substitute any tasty tomato for the Juliet variety. I leave the skins on, so you could even use cherry tomatoes if you like (or feel free to peel the tomatoes).
  2. Substitute banana peppers, or green bell peppers, for the Cubanelles.
  3. If you must, substitute flat-leaf parsley for the cilantro.
  4. Add in some lime juice (2 tbsp to start) and/or fresh zest.


Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year.  Refrigerated, use within 2 weeks.




  1. Hi Josi,

    You know, I’m sure there must be *some* jalapeno in there, as it seems crazy that I would make a salsa without one. (This is what happens when you don’t have an editor!)

    To be on the safe side, just swap some jalapeno in for the Cubanelle peppers; easiest way to do this is measure any and all peppers that you use together and keep it to 2 and 1/2 cups. Spicy peppers and sweet peppers are both low-acid and can be subsituted for each others.

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  4. claire

    thanks for the reply! i ended up making two separate batches as i quickly realized i would need a massive pot. i’ve been enjoying your canning recipes this summer!

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