Fruit salsa: A spicy, culinary delight

Add some zip to your meal or snack with a favorite fruit salsa. Combinations may include peach, cherry or mango. This spicy cranberry salsa is a favorite condiment or sauce used by many.

The history of salsa sauce originated with the Inca people. Salsa, which has typically been a combination of chilies, tomatoes and other spices, can be traced to the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas. The Spaniards first encountered tomatoes after their conquest of Mexico in 1519-1521, which marked the beginning of the history of salsa sauce. Aztec lords combined tomatoes with chili peppers, ground squash seeds and consumed them mainly as a condiment served on turkey, venison, lobster and fish.

In recent years, the use of different fruits combined with vegetables makes for a spicy fruit salsa. Favorite fruit salsa combinations include peach, cherry or mango. However, this spicy cranberry salsa has also become a favorite condiment or sauce used by many. Salsa can be enjoyed as a gift or simply for your family’s culinary enjoyment.

 Michigan State University Extension recommends preparing and canning salsa by following the below approved recipe by the National Center for Home Food Preservation and processing using a boiling water canner.

Spicy Cranberry Salsa

  • 6 cups chopped red onion
  • 4 finely chopped large Serrano peppers*
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar (5%)
  • 1 tablespoon canning salt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons clover honey
  • 12 cups (2 3/4 pounds) rinsed, fresh whole cranberries

*Caution: Wear plastic or rubber gloves and do not touch your face while handling or cutting hot peppers. If you do not wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes.

Yield: About six pint jars

Read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.


  1. Wash and rinse six pint canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s directions.
  2. Combine all ingredients except cranberries in a large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat slightly and boil gently for five minutes.
  3. Add cranberries, reduce heat slightly and simmer mixture for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
  4. Fill the hot mixture into clean, hot pint jars, leaving one-quarter inch headspace. Leave saucepot over low heat while filling jars. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids.
  5. Process in a boiling water canner according to the recommendations in Table 1. Let cool, undisturbed, 12-24 hours and check for seals.
Table 1. Recommended process time for Spicy Cranberry Salsa in a boiling-water canner.

Process Time at Altitudes of

Style of Pack

Jar Size

0 - 1,000 ft.

1,001 - 6,000 ft.

Above 6,000 ft.


Half-pints or Pints

10 min

15 min

20 min

Nutrition information (estimated values using Nutritionist Pro™ software) per 2 tablespoons:

Calories: 25

Total fat: 0 grams

Sodium: 74 milligrams

Fiber: 1 gram

Protein: 0 gram

Daily Values: Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 4%, Calcium 0%, Iron 0%

Percent Daily Values based on dietary reference intakes.

MSU Extension offers an online home food preservation course. For a one-time $10 fee you can learn to preserve your own food, including salsa from the comfort of your own home.

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