Homemade Salsa Secrets

Homemade salsa is a summer sensation. Learn how to make many varieties of salsa starting with just a few basic ingredients.
Rockin' Salsa

Photo by Lori

Salsa Basics
Raw salsa is also known as “salsa cruda.” Leave your ingredients raw for a salsa with a bright, refreshing taste.

Cook the salsa, and you’ll trade a bright, fresh taste for a deeper, sweeter one. Roasting the tomatoes, garlic and/or chiles lends rich, smoky flavors.

Avocado Salsa

Photo by christine

The beauty of salsa is its versatility and adaptability. At its most basic, salsa is simply chopped or pureed tomatoes, chiles, onions, and cilantro, flavored with salt and a squeeze of lime juice.

But you can play with as many combinations of fruits and vegetables, chiles and herbs as you can dream up.

  • The herb you’ll find in most salsas is cilantro, but don’t be afraid to play around. Parsley, mint, basil, and oregano all taste exceptional when mixed with fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • In the chile department, you are only as limited as the selection available at your local grocery store or farmers’ market.
  • Set the tomatoes aside and use some other fruit or vegetable instead, like mangoes, melons, peaches, pineapple, or tomatillos.
  • For flavor, color and texture, add bell peppers, jicama, radishes, fresh corn kernels, avocado, or black beans.
  • To achieve a balance of sweet, savory, salty, sour, and spicy flavors, add salt, lime juice or vinegar, bottled hot sauce, and pinches of sugar, tasting intermittently, until you achieve that perfect mix.

Salsa Shortcuts

Making salsa is a great excuse to put that food processor to work! Use it to puree half or all of the tomatoes in your recipe (many people prefer to keep some of the tomatoes chunky).

  • A food processor can also make short work of herbs and garlic; you should toss these ingredients into the processor before you add the tomatoes.
  • For most other ingredients, chopping by hand gives more control over the size and shape of the pieces–and the finished product will look nicer.
  • Dice the onion by hand: food processors tend to pulverize the onion, releasing so much juice that the flavor becomes overpowering.
Salsa

Photo by dustysun

Check out our Photo Tutorials on Seeding Tomatoes, Dicing Tomatoes, and Dicing Onions.

Related Links