Homemade Salsa, a The Healthy Condiment That Keeps Evolving

Homemade Salsa There is nothing quite like fresh, Homemade Salsa.  You can adjust the spice and acidity to your own preferences too. Salsa comes in many guises and flavors, and is one of the most popular condiments in North America,...

Homemade Salsa
Homemade Salsa

There is nothing quite like fresh, Homemade Salsa.  You can adjust the spice and acidity to your own preferences too.

Salsa comes in many guises and flavors, and is one of the most popular condiments in North America, but its roots are actually thought to go all the way back to the Aztecs and Mayans of South America.  Spanish explorers in the 1500's brought accounts of Aztecs culture and recipes back with them to Europe.  Back then it was usually a mix of chilis, seeds, and tomatoes made with a pestle.  Cookbooks in the United States started listing a "Salsa Fresca" as early as the 1800's.

The actual term "Salsa" just comes from the Spanish word for sauce. Salsa has obviously had a long and illustrious history, and it just keeps getting more popular, as more and more people experiment with its almost limitless possibilities.

To make a salsa, you really just need a spicy chili component, an acid, and small diced fruits and vegetables.  Some salsas also incorporate beans or herbs.

The spiciness of a salsa depends on the quantity and type of chilis that are used to make it.  You can always substitute in a milder chili for a spicer one (or vice versa), depending on your preference. Seeding a chili before adding it, also removes heat from the finished salsa.  If you're concerned that your salsa is slightly less spicy than you'd like, let it sit for 15 minutes in the fridge and try it again, before adding more chilis. Salsas will get spicier as they sit.

A quick guide of commonly available chilis from spicy to less spicy is:

Ghost pepper > Habenero > Thai Pepper > Serrano Pepper > Jalepeno

Also remember to refrigerate salsas if they aren't going to be used immediately, as they can spoil.

Chili peppers
Chili peppers

Here are a few examples of some home made salsas to try.  You can use a food processor, or dice the ingredients by hand and then combine them in a small bowl.  If using a food processor, be careful not to over process the softer ingredients, or they will disintegrate, and ruin your salsa's texture.

Basic Fresh Lime & Cilantro Salsa

This is a basic, traditional salsa recipe.

Makes approximately 3 cups of salsa.

  • 1 small onion diced,
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 2 serano chilies, diced (for milder salsa substitute seeded Jalapenos)
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 1/2 cup diced cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne
  • salt to taste

Combine and chill or serve.

Bean and Corn Salsa
Bean and Corn Salsa

Chipotle Bean and Corn Salsa

Here's a salsa recipe for people who are allergic to lime juice.

Makes approximately 6 cups of Salsa

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large tomatos, diced
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 of 1 small can Chipotle peppers in Adobe sauce
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh mint, minced
  • salt to taste

Mix and taste.  If you would like a stronger Chipotle taste, you can add more of the canned Chipotle peppers, but they are very spicy, so be careful.

For more salsa recipes, contact us here at cilantro cooks!