And as snack foods go, they are one of the healthier options, with far less sugar and undesirable fats than many others, in addition to providing a serving each from the grain and fruit/vegetables group.
I used to buy salsa for our household when it was on sale, but as my boys grew and their appetites increased, they could go through a jar of it in no time flat, and it became a much rarer treat, due to its cost.
Then it occurred to me that I could probably make my own far more economically -- yes, even kitchen veterans like me can be a little slow to recognize cost-savings that are staring us in the face -- so I began to experiment with various recipes.
The recipe below is geared to my husband's and sons' tastes. They tend to prefer things quite spicy, so you may want to adjust it to suit your personal preference for the amount of heat you like in your food.
I think you'll find, though, that the results easily rival and even exceed commercial brands.
Here's the recipe:
Makes approximately 4 cups or 32 ounces
Total Prep Time - Approx. 10 minutes
Total Recipe Cost - Approx. $1.50, or a little less than 5 cents per ounce
(as compared to 9 cents or more per ounce for store-bought)
1 29-32 ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
4 cups of a combination of canned or fresh diced and crushed tomatoes
1 medium/large onion
3 cloves of garlic (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
1-2 jalapeno peppers (about 2 tablespoons, chopped) (or to taste)
1-2 tablespoons jalapeno relish (or to taste)
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, to add more heat, if desired)
1-2 tablespoons lime juice, fresh or store-bought
Recipe continues after photos
- Cut both ends of the onion and peel it. Dice it fine. Scrape it into a mixing bowl.
- Peel and chop the 3 cloves of garlic and add it to the mixing bowl.
- If you are using fresh jalapeno, then chop the 1-2 jalapeno fine, and add it to the bowl, or simply measure out the 1-2 tablespoons of jalapeno relish and add it.
- Add all the seasoning (1 tablespoon dried cilantro, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon (optional) red pepper flakes) to the mixing bowl.
- Scrape the 28-32 ounce can of diced and/or crushed tomato product into the mixing bowl.
- If using fresh lime, wash the lime and roll it firmly back and forth on a hard surface several times before cutting in half crosswise between the ends.
- Squeeze the lime using a juicer and measure out 1-2 tablespoons of juice. Or just measure out the store-bought lime juice. Add the juice to the mixing bowl.
- Stir all the ingredients together in the bowl. Taste test and adjust the seasonings as desired.
- Optional: If you prefer a smoother salsa, then you might want to use a blender to puree all or part of the salsa, but it is not necessary to do so.
- Transfer the salsa to a covered container and keep it stored in the refrigerator. It is best if refrigerated at least an hour before serving, but can be eaten immediately.