Salsa…How do you like yours?

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Anyone can grab a jar of prepared salsa off the grocery store shelf. But if you’ve found yourself eyeing up the produce section, thinking you might rather learn how to make salsa of your own, you are most definitely onto something. When it comes to a truly authentic Tex-Mex fiesta, nothing quite compares to the freshness and signature style you can achieve by making your own salsa.

Don’t let the complex blend of flavors fool you; making salsa is very easy. In fact, making your own is almost as easy as opening a container of someone else’s. So what are you waiting for?

What You’ll Need for a traditional salsa:

  • 3  tomatoes, chopped
  • 2  tablespoons  snipped fresh cilantro
  • 1  small  onion, finely chopped
  • 1  jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and cut up*
  • 1  clove  garlic, minced
  • 1  teaspoon  sugar
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon or lime juice
  • Tortilla chips

Directions:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients, except the tortilla chips.Garnish the salsa with additional fresh cilantro and serve with the tortilla chips.
  2. Cover and store the salsa in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes 2-3/4 cups.
  3. Note: Because the chili peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, wear plastic gloves when working with them. If your bare hands touch the chili peppers, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

This salsa is great as a snack, a mouthwatering appetizer or even as a condiment for tacos, burritos and other Mexican fare. Eat it right away, or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.  This recipe makes about 2 3/4 cups and can disappear quickly among a hungry group. So you may want to make multiple batches for a crowd. Then, mix some margaritas, and wait for the compliments to start pouring in!

To truly make your salsa your own, get creative and experiment with different combinations of peppers, tomatoes, spices and herbs. Like a little (or a lot of) heat? Try some spicier pepper varieties. Or sweeten things up with chopped peaches or mangoes. You can even add black beans, corn or other vegetables. The possibilities are endless. Before you know it, your friends and family will be asking you how to make salsa. (But that doesn’t mean you have to tell them!)

Here are some other salsa ideas.  Remember, be creative!

Watermelon Salsa
Sweet, savory and crunchy salsa accompanies grilled pork or chicken rather nicely. Try it with tortilla chips as a refreshing alternative to a tomato salsa.

Mango Salsa
Mangoes are a colorful, flavorful, and juicy addition to salsa. An interesting contrast in flavors occurs when mango is mixed with lime juice. Serve this salsa with chips or use it top fish or chicken.

Avocado Salsa
This summertime salsa contains ripe avocados, tomatoes, lemon juice, onions, and jalapeno peppers.

Fruity Salsa
Serve this papaya and pineapple salsa as a dip with baked pita chips or as a sauce for seafood, fish, or chicken.
 
Pineapple Salsa
Include crushed pineapple in this fruity salsa.  Hollow out the bottom half of a pineapple to make a fun serving dish for this appetizer. Serve the salsa with chips or make it a topping for grilled meats.
Source:  recipe.com, June 2013

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