I found a recipe (Wonderful Salsa at Food.com) that called for it to be processed for 10 minutes. I'm seeing now that other salsa recipes call for 15 or more minutes. Is this true for all salsas, or is the 10-minute processing time based on the recipe and thus all right?

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    Is this the recipe you meant? food.com/recipe/wonderful-salsa-9272 According to the USDA food safety guidelines, 15 minutes is recommended for tomato salsas at your altitude. nchfp.uga.edu/publications/usda/GUIDE%203%20Home%20Can.pdf
    – NadjaCS
    Oct 4, 2015 at 2:56
  • Yes, that is the recipe. My husband just wants to put them on the shelf and look carefully for signs of spoilage before using any. Is that acceptable in terms of safety? Is there a risk of not noticing spoilage if we pay attention to smell, taste and strength of seal whenever we open one?
    – Chantal
    Oct 4, 2015 at 17:04
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    Possible duplicate of What can I do if I didn't process my salsa long enough?
    – Debbie M.
    Oct 4, 2015 at 19:37
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    Depending on the acidity the processing time may change. Even if 15 min is a good rule of thumb for salsas, make sure you double check the instructions for each individual recipe.
    – lemontwist
    Oct 19, 2015 at 11:48

1 Answer 1


Time is not a reliable indicator for for botulism safety. The critical factor is heat penetration which depends on container volume and shape as well as time and temperature.

I worked on the autoclaves in a salmon cannery. Pressure cooker times varied from 20 minutes to 60 minutes depending on the can volume. These times were determined by actual measurements of heat penetration into test cans.

"Looking carefully for signs of spoilage" is foolish. The toxin from 6 individual botulinum bacillus is enough to kill you. Follow authoritative recommendations.

Botulism kills.

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