Salsa has a season; at least it does in the Midwest. It begins when those first July tomatoes ripen on the vine, and it might last into the middle of September.
It’s hard to beat the succulent taste of a fresh tomato, and it spoils it for the rest of the year when we have to rely on grocery stores to be our providers. Their tomatoes certainly don’t compare with our homegrown types, but it really isn’t fair to the out-of-state growers to make such comparisons.
First of all, a ripe tomato shipped in from another state probably wouldn’t stand the trip, so to prevent them from breaking down in transit, the tomatoes are usually picked green and ripen en route. The growers also produce tomatoes that are firmer, and they try to do this without losing taste in the process.
There are a couple of things we can do so we’ll have a better tasting tomato, and these suggestions can actually help both the homegrown and the store-bought varieties:
Don’t store them in the refrigerator. Tomatoes shouldn’t be stored at temperatures less than 55 degrees, or they’ll develop a mealy taste and lose some of their firmness. Most refrigerators are set at the factory at 37 degrees, so a refrigerator is much too cold for tomatoes.
Store them on plates stem side down. This will prevent air from entering and moisture from exiting the tomato; however, if the tomato is still attached to the vine, they should be stored stem up. Some say both store-bought and homegrown tomatoes will benefit from sitting for three days on the counter away from sunlight.
So when tomato season arrives, salsa is our go-to snack. It’s healthy and delicious, and it tastes so much better than the bottled variety. We serve it with our homemade chips and a pitcher of our special margaritas. Now really. Can life get any better than that?
Salsa And Chips
SprigsCilantro or Italian parsley (your choice)
3 largeTomatoes (garden-ripe if possible)
1Bell pepper red seeded and cut up
1Jalapeno pepper seeded and cut up
3 slicesOnion red course chop
1 tspLime zest
1 TbspLime juice fresh
1 TbspVinegar red wine
Salt and ppperTo taste
The ingredients should all be as fresh as possible in order to get that fresh salsa taste. The amounts of all listed are approximate and can be altered according to your taste.
Time: Just enjoy the prep
Put the cilantro or parsley and garlic in a food processor and pulse until it is finely chopped.
Cut in half and squeeze seeds, juice, and some pulp out of the tomatoes. Cut up tomatoes and add to food processor. If you are using Roma tomatoes, you can probably skip this step.
Add all of the ingredients above, and pulse until you get a good chop. Too much processing will liquefy the salsa. I personally like it a bit chunky.
It’s ideal to let it sit for a while to let the flavors all come together. Before serving I spoon off some of the liquid.
And yes, don’t forget about the chips. How about some homemade LIME TORTILLA CHIPS?
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush fresh lime juice on a 12-inch soft tortilla. Don’t soak it. Rain salt lightly over it to taste. Cut chips into your favorite shape with a pizza cutter. Transfer to an aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet that’s been coated with cooking spray. Bake for 13 minutes. Watch closely so it doesn’t brown too much. Flip all of the chips over and bake for another 5 minutes.
You will love them. They don’t break when dipped, and they taste great. The time spent preparing these is well worth it. You will end up using them with other dips as well.