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Member Since 30 Dec 2009
Online Last Active Today, 08:16 AM

#1469755 Producing and Canning my Salsa - Advice Needed from the Professionals !

Posted by salsalady on Yesterday, 09:44 PM

hi Cris!  :welcome: to THP!
I just saw this post, thankfully SmokenFire got you headed in the right direction.
There are different directions you can go with how/where/who does the processing.  This may be a little disjointed, but I'll try to share what we decided and why.
When I started making and selling salsa...(as my son would say...back in the Dark Ages of 1994....:lol:  )...I was making a canned (BWB) salsa.  At the time, it was a real PITA to get testing done and no resources to find info about food processing or food testing.  The one place I knew of to do food testing like pH, process reviews, shelf life, etc, was the food science department at WSU.  Their customer service was HORRIBLE, like taking 4-6 months for a pH test and process review.  Regs at the time said that if a product had a pull date of 30 days or less, it was considered a 'fresh' product and wasn't subject to all the shelf stable, shelf life, canned product regs.  So that's what I went with- fresh refrigerated.
For your venture-
first and foremost...MAKE SURE people other than friends and family like the salsa.  When Scott Zalkind of Lucky Dog Hot Sauce was developing his hot sauces, he would take unlabeled bottles to parties/bbqs/etc and set them out on the table and then hang around and listen to people's comments.  Great way to get honest feedback as friends and family may not give you honest feedback not wanting to hurt your feelings.
Another way is to offer 'free' samples to people on here in return for feedback.  I say 'free' because you cannot sell your sauce until legally licensed, but most of us here have no problem posting back a few bucks to cover shipping/ jars etc.  Getting feedback from people around here will give you some very good feedback.  Someone recently posted a thread about what questions to put in a sauce questionnaire.  It should be pretty easy to find~
Anyway, when you are SURE you have the perfect recipe,  the next steps are to send a sample to a food lab for a process review and also get in contact with the (Dept of Ag??? I think???) or whoever does local food processing licensing in Cali.  It is usually NOT your local health department that does restaurants.
What the food lab says for a process will set out how the salsa can be made.  Your sauce may be OK with a boiling water bath, or it may require pressure canning.  Either way, you can do both of those processes yourself if you have a facility that will work.  Lots of posts about where to look for commercial kitchens to use on a part time basis.
Any type of canning will require you to be Better Process Control School certified.  BPCS is just another step, and it costs about $500 and a week of your life, but once you are certified, you can do your own processing.  You do not have to use a co-packer. 
Last thing on your list should be printing labels, etc.  Go ahead and work on label concepts, logos, etc, but do NOT print anything until you are completely licensed and all your ingredients and your label set up is approved by your licensing person.  If you mess up on font size, or listing of ingredients, you will have to pitch the whole lot of labels. 
I'd encourage you to just make some home-printed labels for the first few batches just to make sure everything is working with your recipes etc.   
 then consider what and how you want the production done.  You can produce it yourself in small batches or use a co-packer.
This is definitely not all-inclusive (business licensing, insurance.....more, more more....) but a basics to get you started.  Your local licensing authority should be able to guide you through the first steps. 
And finally....the FDA......
do not start jumping through FDA hoops unless your process authority (lab) or your health inspector require it!  Some recipes require FDA licensing to be made and sold anytime/anywhere.  If you sell ANYTHING across state lines, internet sales and such, you have to be FDA registered.  Some sauces that contain critical ingredients like meat or dairy (lots of BBQ sauces contain butter) then you have to be FDA registered. 
If your sauce is low risk, and you are only selling within your state (no internet sales), then you probably do not have to deal with FDA registration.  Again, rely on your inspector and the food lab for guidance. 
Hope this helps and Best of Luck on your fun adventure!  Hundreds have done what you are setting out to do.  It can be done, you can be successful.  Just do it right from the start, have an awesome product, have fun and Love It!

#1468662 strangest ingredient in your hot sauce?

Posted by salsalady on 19 June 2017 - 05:26 PM

Squid ink
Black garlic

.....probably some more i cant remember atm....

#1466896 NWCF 2017Seattle area campout- RESERVATIONS OPEN!!!

Posted by salsalady on 14 June 2017 - 08:21 PM

Well, I do have some 13 mil SHU Pure Evil...... :twisted: .....

#1466608 Hello from SW WA

Posted by salsalady on 13 June 2017 - 10:13 PM

Welcome from the Methow Valley...the DRY side of the state!  


We have a chilehead camp out/ potluckin September near Seattle.  Check it out and hope you can join us! 

#1466206 European hot sauce vendors

Posted by salsalady on 12 June 2017 - 11:58 PM

It may not be what you are looking for....but there are ....TONNES ....of recipes......



are you the least bit handy in the kitchen?



#1466202 NWCF 2017Seattle area campout- RESERVATIONS OPEN!!!

Posted by salsalady on 12 June 2017 - 11:03 PM

NMorr--  CRUSHER!  Freaking AWESOME!   Cant wait to see you again and hear about what's going on with you!!!! 




:dance:  :dance: 

#1466201 Travel size

Posted by salsalady on 12 June 2017 - 10:54 PM

meh, my sauces are shelf stable so i dont worry about refrigeration and if i were to bring powders to equal the flavors of my sauces i would need a dozen different powder vials. its not just heat that im bringing, its taste as well.



That's not what shelf stable means but yeah, most do not need it. Shelf stable actually refers to before you open it.




yea, what ^^^ said about shelf stable~  ;)



and for heat on the road...




Traveling with powders is also great!!! Had one of those mini-pill keychains and used it til it broke... :(

#1463609 Need a "double check" of my food safety for bottling this sauce...

Posted by salsalady on 04 June 2017 - 04:40 PM

Ps pull them out of the water right now. You dont want them to cool in the water. As the vacuum forms, it could suck water under the cap and compromise the seal.

#1463011 BEGIN! The Dual Burger Duel

Posted by salsalady on 03 June 2017 - 02:03 AM

Has anyone told y'all that y'all are all freaking NUTS?  All this smack talk....:roflmao:   and only 1 burger!    Oh the comments that could be made...... :silenced: 




Crappie!  I just realized I'm one of the inmates too.........






Now let's get some BURGERS on the screen!!! 

#1463007 add img fruit to ferment sauces

Posted by salsalady on 03 June 2017 - 01:42 AM

I like to add apples to ferments.  They add a lot of bulk to the sauce without adding a really noticable flavor profile.  Most of what I make are medium-range.  A bunch of apples with some habanero or hotter chiles can really bulk up the sauce.  Also using bell peppers in the color of whatever chile you are using will also add some volume.  


++to the sugars helping the fermentation get going nicely.

#1462259 hot peppers!

Posted by salsalady on 31 May 2017 - 07:36 PM

Gotta revive it yet again....because others linked it!!!

Still love fatalli and red savina and other carribean reds.....

Long Live the First Post!!!

#1462231 Pepper People are the Best

Posted by salsalady on 31 May 2017 - 04:50 PM

Not sure if you've ever tried shitting out a full paint can, but..... :mad:




Those days are behind me



Was that intentional????  :doh:

#1462230 Yellow Salsa Question

Posted by salsalady on 31 May 2017 - 04:42 PM

:stickstongueoutatBossagain:  SEE!  I told you the colored peppers (and green jal/cilantro and purple onion) would look great!  :lol:


Glad to hear it tasted great also~  :cool:  maybe a teensy bit of garlic, but if it tastes great as is, I wouldn't worry about it. 


thanks for sharing the recipe, I can "taste" it.


#1461450 It's time

Posted by salsalady on 28 May 2017 - 09:36 PM

Welcome to THP! Once i got past the turtle, the sauce looks great. :lol:

Its a bit of a learning curve~

Have fun and post pics as you can. We luv pics...

#1461446 Pepper People are the Best

Posted by salsalady on 28 May 2017 - 09:29 PM

@mikeusmc...Pookie's just great that way. Always surprising someone with something.
PepperPeopleRock! Hope your recovery is speedy and spicy! ☺