Fresh salsas add a seasonal flavor to meals

Use the fruits and veggies from your garden or farmers market to create delicious toppings for food

    It’s time to use all those luscious vegetables and fruits you spent all summer tending in your garden — or the fresh produce you’re buying at the store or farmers market.
    An easy way to use the abundance of tomatoes, peppers, onions and other veggies is by making salsa.
    But don’t limit yourself to tomato salsa. There are dozens of salsas that showcase other fruits and vegetables. Use your imagination to create flavors to suit your taste and your meal.
    The fresh flavors of salsa are terrific on their own, served with an accompaniment of chips, or with grilled foods such as steaks, hamburgers, fish, chicken and pork.
    The most common salsa is a tomato salsa. At its most basic, it is a combination of chopped tomatoes, chilies, onions and cilantro, flavored with salt and a bit of lemon or lime juice that will keep the flavors lively.
    For flavor, color and texture, add bell peppers, jicama, fresh corn, avocado or black beans.
    Experiment with different chili peppers, but remember not to rub your eyes after handling them — especially the seeds.
    You can use a food processor to chop the vegetables and fruits, but many people prefer to cut them by hand because it gives them more control over the size of the produce.
    Most salsas require time to rest after they’ve been mixed, allowing the flavors to meld. But some salsas should be served quickly after they’ve been prepared.
    Although summertime seems to call for a salsa made with raw vegetables, you can create a richer, deeper flavor by cooking the salsa or roasting the tomatoes, garlic or chilies.
    There’s a salsa for virtually any meal. Try a fruit salsa and cinnamon chips for breakfast, or serve huevos rancheros or a breakfast burrito with salsa on the side. Green salsa is great with scrambled eggs.
    Start lunch with guacamole and salsa fresca with corn chips and fresh vegetables.
    At dinner, serve Mexican entrees with tomato salsa or top grilled meats with a fruit or vegetable salsa.
    Following are some salsa recipes from

Chunky Tomato Red Pepper Salsa

7 medium tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 small diced red onion
1 green jalapeño pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 to 2 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt, optional

    Finely dice tomatoes, red bell pepper, red onion, jalapeño pepper, garlic and cilantro. Combine in a large bowl, then add lime juice and seasonings.
    You may also process all the ingredients in a food processor for 30 seconds.
    Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for as long as one week.
    Makes six cups.


Sweet Corn Salsa

4 ears of sweet corn or 4 cups frozen corn
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
Juice of 2 or 3 limes
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
4 small cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

    Cut kernels off the cobs. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn and sauté three to four minutes, stirring constantly. Add garlic and sauté about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir.
    Serve warm, room temperature or cold.
    Makes three cups.


Salsa for Canning

10 cups roughly chopped tomatoes
2 cups chopped and seeded bell peppers
5 cups finely chopped onions
8 jalapenos, remove the top but keep the seeds and pith, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1-1/4 cups cider vinegar
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 6-ounce can tomato paste

    Mix vegetables and salt together.  Place in a strainer or colander and rest over a large bowl. Cover loosely and place in warm spot in your kitchen for three to six hours.  
    Prepare canner, heat jar seals and sterilize jars in boiling water for 10 minutes.
    Simmer tomato water for five minutes to slightly thicken it. Add remaining ingredients and simmer five minutes.
    Place vegetables in jars using a slotted spoon. Use a regular spoon to cover the solids with liquid, making sure to leave 1/2-inch head space.
    Wipe rims, apply seals and rings and place in waterbath and process for 10 minutes. Remove from waterbath, allow to cool 24 hours and check lids for proper seal.


Strawberry Salsa

1 pint ripe strawberries
1 jalapeño pepper
1/4 cup minced red onion
Juice of 1 lime
1 to 2 teaspoons avocado oil or olive oil
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

    Hull and chop strawberries and combine with minced onion.
    Remove stem, seeds, and ribs from jalapeño, mince, then add to berries. Add lime juice, a drizzle of oil and as much fresh cilantro as desired.
    Stir in a pinch of salt, adjusting to taste, and a little black pepper. Toss and serve


Tomato-Chipotle Salsa

8 Roma tomatoes, halved vertically
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, grated or minced
1 lime, juiced
1 chipotle pepper from a can with seeds, chopped
1 jalapeño with seeds and membrane, chopped
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons adobo sauce from canned chipotles
1 teaspoon salt

    Rub tomato halves with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast in a 350-degree oven for an hour. Let tomatoes cool a few minutes.
    Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor, until they reach desired consistency. Place tomatoes in a mixing bowl. Stir in garlic, lime juice, chipotle pepper, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, adobo sauce and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings.
    Refrigerate several hours for flavors to meld. Serve cold or gently heat on the stove to warm.
    Make sure you use Roma tomatoes, not another variety.


Fresh Mango Salsa

1 fresh mango or 2 cups frozen mango
1/2 red onion, diced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
Juice of one lime
1/2 teaspoon salt

    Cut mango and chop into small cubes. If using frozen mango, let it come to room temperature before cutting.
    Add diced red onion and chopped cilantro. Top with lime juice and salt and stir to combine. Serve with chips or tacos.
    Makes two cups.


Blueberry Lover Peach Salsa

1/2 cups fresh tomatoes, quartered
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh peaches, chopped
1/2 cup fresh kiwi, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint
1 avocado, cut into small chunks
Sea salt
Cayenne pepper
Jalapeno or chili pepper, optional

    In a food processor, pulse tomatoes and 1/2 cup peaches with lime juice, green onions, cilantro and mint. It should be slightly blended but still a little chunky.
    Transfer to mixing bowl and stir in blueberries, remaining peaches, chopped kiwi, avocado, sea salt and cayenne.


Guacamole Salsa

8 tomatillos, husked and washed
2 jalapeños, seeded and deveined
2 avocados, pitted
1/2 cup cilantro
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt, to taste

    Fill medium pot with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add tomatillos and jalapenos and cook 10 minutes, until softened.
    Drain water and place tomatillos and jalapenos in a large blender. Add avocados, cilantro, garlic, onions and lime juice and blend until smooth.
    Taste and season with salt.
    Serve immediately or transfer to an air-tight container to chill in the refrigerator.
    Makes three cups.


Homemade Italian Salsa Verde

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
1 bunch basil, stems removed
2 anchovies
1/4 cup chopped cornichons
2 tablespoons wild capers
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup organic extra-virgin olive oil

    Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. If needed, add more oil, add a tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
    Serve with protein or veggies of choice.


Black Bean Salsa

For black beans:
1 pound dried black beans, picked through and rinsed
1 small onion, cut in half
2 ribs celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 green bell pepper, cored and seeded
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bouquet garni of 1 bay leaf, 3 sprigs fresh thyme & 3 springs fresh parsley tied in a piece of cheesecloth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
For salsa:
2 cups firm-cooked black beans
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and finely diced
1 poblano chile, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh and cooked or frozen and thawed
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
    To make beans,  soak beans in enough cold water to cover them by three inches in a large, heavy stockpot for four hours or overnight.
    Add vegetables, garlic, bouquet garni, cumin and oregano. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface.
    Reduce heat and gently simmer for 60 to 75 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add water as necessary to keep the beans submerged. Season with salt and pepper during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
    Drain the beans in a colander and rinse with cold water. Remove and discard vegetables and bouquet garni.
    Combine salsa ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss well. Add more salt or lime juice as needed. Salsa can be served immediately or refrigerated overnight. If making ahead of time, wait to add the avocado until just before serving.




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