Salsa actually just means “sauce” in Spanish, but in the United States, it has a more specific connotation of a fresh, veggie-heavy condiment that’s commonly eaten with Mexican food, like tacos, or as a snack with tortilla chips.
We usually think of this type of salsa as being uncooked and primarily tomato based. And come peak tomato season, there are few better ways to enjoy the sweetness and tang of a perfectly ripe tomato than in a freshly-made salsa. Here are a few common tomato varieties to try in your salsa during peak season.
- Beefsteak are rich in flavor, have a meaty texture and taste good fresh or cooked.
- Cherry tomatoes are usually red or yellow, bite-sized and have great flavor.
- Heirlooms have distinct attributes, like exceptional flavor and color.
- Tomatillos are a variety of tomato that are small green and full of bright, zesty flavor, almost akin to a citrus fruit.
When shopping for fresh tomatoes, choose firm, unblemished fruit that’s heavy for its size. Never refrigerate your tomatoes as this will cause them to lose their flavor, which is why it’s best to use fresh tomatoes within a few days.
While we love a tomato salsa, as you can see from the recipes above, it’s not the only fruit – yes, tomatoes are technically fruit – that makes wonderful salsa. Peaches, mangoes, pineapples, avocadoes and strawberries all taste great chopped up and made into salsa. As do veggies like, corn, onions, zucchini and even radishes!
The real trick to salsa is getting the ratio right. While salsa is always fresh first – thanks to the fresh fruit and/or veggies and herbs like cilantro, or even mint and parsley – it also has a zing of acid and the warm heat of chili peppers. Keeping that balance in mind, you can come up with all sorts of creative takes on the recipes above, or explore even more non-traditional salsa recipes.