Sweet & Spicy Salsa
I love a good sweet & spicy salsa with some chips. Or nachos for dinner (which are way better when you make them at home than when you “run for the border”) on a lazy weekend.
Salsa, traditionally a Latin condiment, has been Americanized so horribly that I doubt that the original would be even recognizable to the inventor. Salsa is the Spanish word for “sauce”, so our chunky, raw versions would not technically be a sauce.
I maintain that today’s salsa is more of a condiment, a dip, rather than a sauce that is spread or stirred into something and then eaten. I highly doubt that if would occur to anyone to stir their salsa into a pound of pasta for dinner!
Regardless of its origins, I love a thick, chunky salsa as a tortilla chip dip. Being a tad bit sensitive to heat, I love that this recipe balances out the heat with sweetness. While I still have times that I eat enough that I get heartburn, I have to admit that it’s worth it.
Today’s largest salsa brand, Pace, is owned by the Pillsbury Company, a subsidiary of General Mills. The first “salsa” mass produced for sale in the United States was in 1916 by Charles E. Erath of New Orleans. It is technically not salsa, but a pepper sauce which is too thin to use as a dip. He called it Extract of Louisiana Pepper, Red Hot Creole Peppersauce.
The consumption of salsa increased by 79% in the U.S. between 1985 and 1990.
Today’s salsa has not been untainted by big business. While it is not as bad as some foods on the grocery store shelves, it still contains calcium chloride. Calcium chloride in an inorganic chemical salt. I also highly doubt that they use organic tomatoes or other vegetables in their recipes. That just wouldn’t be cost-effective to their $17.6 million profit*.
Regardless of all that, I still maintain that I love my salsa, and I love making it at home in a kitchen rather than a laboratory.
Want to make your own salsa? Here is my favorite recipe.
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 6 lbs. ripe tomatoes, peeled & chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 3 green bell peppers
- 3 (6 oz.) cans of tomato paste
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot, stirring well to dissolve sugars. Simmer until thickened, approximately 3 hours.
- Pack the hot salsa into sterilized pint jars leaving a 1/4-inch head space.Close with new, hot lids and bands.
- Process 15 minutes in a water bath canner.
- Turn off heat and allow to sit 10 minutes before moving to a cloth covered surface to finish cooling.
- Label, date and store.
Want to try a jar before you make an entire batch? Grab a pint that I made by visiting my Etsy shop here.