Ever since my return from California, I knew Mexican Food was something I had to perfect at home. A noble cause since I knew next to nothing about cooking back then and had no idea about procurement and use of special ingredients. For nearly 15 years, though, I have tried. For nearly 15 years I’ve experimented, failed, learned my lessons and adjusted… To a point where I now feel reasonably confident doing what I joked about upon leaving sunny Southern California: Writing a Beginner’s Guide To Mexican Food.
Two years ago I was searching for a perfect salsa recipe for canning, but I had the wrong thing in mind. Instead of thinking of this delicious Mexican salsa that I love, I was thinking of typical jarred salsa. I looked up some recipes on the internet, ones that people said were popular. I tried them out. I was very unimpressed. I should know by now that most of the time…other peoples’ recipes don’t quite work out for me. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, I just apparently have unique tastes. 🙂
Cilantro gives that fresh and almost citrus-like taste into your finished salsa. You might confuse this with coriander because both refer to the same herb, but their terms may vary in different countries. If the recipe originates in the United States, cilantro refers to the leaves and stalks while coriander refers to the seeds. If the recipe is made in the United Kingdom, the term cilantro doesn’t exist because they use coriander to refer to the herb.
Pepper varieties can be mixed and matched in this recipe, but do not change total amount of peppers. The recipe as written produces a medium-hot salsa. Use more hot peppers and fewer mild peppers for a fierier salsa. Some examples of mild peppers include bell, banana, and Anaheim. Hot peppers include habanero, jalapeño, and Serrano. Do not change the total amount of peppers or the recipe may not be safe for canning.
Mexican food, essentially, mirrors the country of Mexico itself: a proud indigenous culture attempted destroyed by an overpowering invading force but managing to somehow withhold enough principles and key elements to remain entirely its own while becoming something decidedly new: A mix of tradition and innovation all stirred up in a melting pot for some 500 years to create flavors that are neither Mesoamerican nor Spanish, but decidedly Mexican: hearty, comforting, powerful, colorful and full of spice!
Crunchy tortilla “chips” originated in Mexico in the form of tostados. But the famous triangle-shaped tortilla chip is credited to, or at least was popularized by, Rebecca Webb Carranza several decades ago in Los Angeles. She and her husband owned a tortilla factory and their automated machines would discard any misshapen tortilla shells. Rather than throw them away, Rebecca discovered that cutting these corn tortilla shells into triangles an then frying them made a fantastic snack. Tortilla chips began to be mass produced in the 1940’s and their popularity spread outside of California and across the U.S. in the 1970’s. Years later she received the Golden Tortilla Award for her contribution to the Mexican food industry.
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I like using apple cider vinegar in canning because I like the flavor, and it comes from apples. Most white vinegar comes from a variety of sources, including wood pulp. I use it white vinegar for cleaning, but it can be substituted in canning recipes if you like. The pH is the same. Lemon or lime juice can also be substituted for the vinegar in this recipe – but they give a more pronounced flavor.
If the recipe didn’t require a water or steam path (or pressure canner) then it needs to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer because it will spoil if left at room temperature. Recipes that call for a water or steam bath mean the salsa (once canned in jars and processed according to the recipe in a water or steam bath) can be stored on pantry shelves. This recipe will definitely work without the water or steam processing but it will need to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Hope that helps!
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I have been making salsa like this for years with a couple tweaks I love garlic so I roast everything then chop it up nicely I also add a little garlic salt to brighten up the flavor and if at all possible use home grown veggies especially the tomatoes. People rave over this salsa thanks for this site I love Mexican food especially salsa with lots of peppers in it
Now to the topic at hand – I’ve had the same concerns as you, especially since my dear husband is Mexican! We loved the canned salsa I made for the first week or two, then it was too vinegary, so now I use it for stuff like zucchini squash to use it up. Haven’t tried it again because, well we don’t have enough tomatoes yet and am leery about the vinegar and how to make it spicy enough. I never thought to skimp on the onions to compensate!!!
When I was pregnant with my son, I was completely addicted to Chili’s salsa and chips. I wanted to eat there ALL the time, and even when I wasn’t eating there I was trying to convince my husband to stop there on his way home to pick up some take out lol. He was always less than pleased. I still love their salsa, but since it’s not really cost effective to buy it, or go out to eat all the time, I figured that I would just find a way to make it at home 🙂