I'm planning to can some salsa tomorrow and have a recipe picked out (Roasted Tomato-Lime Salsa, from ATK).

The one catch is that it calls for red jalapenos, but I could only find green. I am wondering if it will be a problem to substitute; I am not an experienced canner, and have read various warnings about not deviating from the recipe for safety reasons. I guess my concern is that the green ones might have a different pH due to chemistry changes during ripening.

Will substituting green for red create any food safety issues? Extra credit for a reference. (Note that this question is primarily not about the flavor difference, though feel free to leave a comment.)

  • I don't know the difference, I do wonder if you might be able to find a recipe for salsa which uses green jalepenos... Even if its not as good a recipe as the one you found, you might be able to see if there are precautions/modifications not present in a red-chile version (that you might be able to adapt). Especially if you can find any recipe at all, that either allows for either version or compares versions with green vs red.
    – Megha
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 5:12
  • Are you pressure canning this salsa?
    – GdD
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 8:33
  • Not pressure canning, no!
    – Mark
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 17:37

1 Answer 1


One difference you'll find is that the sauce is not as hot with the green jalapeños, because fully mature red ones have more capsaicin. However, spiciness does not affect their preservation qualities.

Mature, red peppers have a slightly lower pH than green peppers(paper behind paywall, sorry) -- about 1.0 points lower. However, both are still considered low-acid foods that require additional acidifying (usually using vinegar or lime juice in salsa) in order to be canned safely at atmospheric pressure. I wouldn't expect the difference in pepper acidity to have much of an effect on the final recipe in a salsa that is primarily composed of tomatoes, so I wouldn't adjust the acid in the recipe.

  • that's right, red peppers are just ripened peppers. If you want red jalepenos, you are better off growing them and letting the ripen on the bush. In addition, the mature jalepenos are sweeter than the green because some of the starches have converted to sugars.
    – Escoce
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 16:48

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