Quintessential Summer Salsa

Sep 23, 2015

We New Englanders love our salsa, and in the last six years, salsa has overtaken ketchup to become the number one condiment we slather on our food. Those row of mass-produced salsa sold are that store may be tasty, but with the tomato season in full swing, nothing beats the freshness of a colorful and wholesome salsa you can make at home.

Salsa is the Spanish word for sauce, and “salsa cruda”, an uncooked sauce, is the kind of salsa I like to prepare when my garden is at its peak. I often don’t use a recipe, as almost anything can go into the sauce.  There are however, some basic components, that when artfully combined, yield an addictive blend of textures, flavors and colors that enliven any snack or meal.

Tomatoes are the key. Ripe and sweet, they form the base of your sauce.  Red, yellow, orange, heirloom, cherry, green or purple tomatillos, all forms of the tomato are good.  A member of the allium family, red, yellow or sweet, white onion, adds crispness, flavor and depth.  Garlic adds an assertive flavor, while the jalapeno pepper adds some heat.  Lime juice is a good source of acidity; lemon juice or vinegar will work also.  Fresh herbs like cilantro or mint, plenty of sea salt and fresh pepper complete your masterpiece.

A food processor or blender is a handy tool, but not necessary. For hundreds of years people have prepared sauces with a mortar and pestle, a good sharp knife and a cutting board.

Fresh salsa keeps in the refrigerator for about a week, but it never lasts that long around our house. We spoon in on burgers, wrap it up in sandwiches, even add it to our eggs. Every batch of Summer Salsa is different and delicious, the quintessential taste of summer.

Summer Salsa


Cheryl Wixson
Want to enjoy salsa in the winter, but hate to use those out-of-season tomatoes? Canned tomatoes make a tasty salsa, “Better where there’s none!”


  • 4– 6 ripe tomatoes - about 4 cups or 1, 28 ounce can
  • 1 onion around 1 cup
  • 2 garlic cloves or more to taste
  • 1 jalapeno pepper canned peppers will work also use sparingly at first and taste!
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro may also use mint or oregano
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper
  • Hot chili flakes, dried oregano optional


  • In the bowl of your food processor, pulse the onion and garlic. Add the ripe tomatoes and pulse again. Add the jalapeno pepper, lime juice and chopped herbs. Taste. Add seasonings and sea salt to taste and pulse to desired consistency. Serve with chips, or use as a fresh sauce for grilled meats, veggies, rice and other grains. Makes around 6 cups.

Cheryl's Notes

Nutritional analysis per ½ cup: 21 calories, 1 gram protein, 5 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram fat, 110 mg. sodium, 1.3 grams fiber.

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