Salsas are always a hit on an appetizer buffet or antipasto tray. This holiday season, try a fresh alternative to the jarred stuff that’s loaded with sodium and sugar. It really is easier than it sounds. Our recipes are big enough to feed a crowd. They will keep a few days in the fridge but are best eaten right away. If you’re into canning (another skill that’s easier than it sounds), preserve your leftovers for your next get together. See how here.

Tip: Don’t try to freeze salsa—the tomatoes will turn mushy.

Caution: Wear plastic or rubber gloves and do not touch your face while handling or cutting hot peppers. If you do not wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes.

Zesty Salsa in white square bowl with peppers and garlic in the background

Zesty Salsa

WHAT YOU NEED To make 6 pints

  • 5 cups tomatoes, chopped, cored, peeled
  • 2 ½ cups chopped, seeded green bell peppers
  • 2 ½ cups chopped onions
  • 1 ¼ cups chopped, seeded chili peppers, such as hot
    banana, serrano, or jalapeño
  • ¾ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp hot pepper sauce

COMBINE tomatoes, green peppers, onions, chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, cilantro, salt, and hot pepper sauce in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Unless planning to preserve in jars, allow to cool, ladle into serving dish and pour extra into glass jars. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Top shelf tomato tip: Paste tomatoes, such as Roma, have firmer flesh and produce thicker salsas than large slicing tomatoes, which usually yield a thinner, more watery salsa.

Remove skin by dipping tomatoes into boiling water for 30-60 seconds or until skins split. Dip in cold water, slip off skins; remove cores and seeds.

 

Corn salsa in gray bowl with lettuce and a wooden spoon

Corn Salsa

Save one of summer’s favorite flavors in a fresh salsa that you’ll savor all year long.

WHAT YOU NEED to make 2 pints

  • 4 large fresh ears corn or 2 cups of kernel corn
  • 1 cup onion, coarsely chopped (1 large)
  • 1 cup green or red sweet pepper, coarsely chopped (1 large)
  • 1 cup tomato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large fresh jalapeño chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

COMBINE the corn kernels, onion, sweet pepper, tomato, jalapeño pepper, lime juice, salt, cumin, and black pepper in a large saucepan.

Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Unless planning to preserve in jars, allow to cool, ladle into serving dish and pour extra into glass jars. Refrigerate any leftovers.

 

Antipasto in square white dish surrounded by crackers, cheese and salami meat

Antipasto Relish

This Italian-style vegetable relish has all the delicious flavor of commercial antipasto.

WHAT YOU NEED to make 3 pints

  • 7 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 ¾ cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 6 cups coarsely chopped cored, peeled tomatoes (about 6 medium)
  • 3 bell peppers (1 each green, red and yellow), seeded and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • Cheesecloth

TIE peppercorns and bay leaves in a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag.

COMBINE vinegar, brown sugar, salt, garlic, oregano and spice bag in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.

Stir in tomatoes, peppers, carrots, celery and onion. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, for 1 hour, until thickened to the consistency of a thin commercial relish. Discard spice bag.

Unless planning to preserve in jars, allow to cool, ladle into serving dish and pour extra into glass jars. Refrigerate any leftovers.

 

Thick and Chunky Salsa on a wood table with black and yellow tortilla chips

Fresh Thick & Chunky Salsa

Tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro. When you taste this salsa, you’ll want to make it your go-to sauce for dipping and adding zest to casseroles.

WHAT YOU NEED to make 4 pints

  • 7 cups diced, seeded, peeled, cored tomatoes (about 5 lb or 15 medium)
  • 6 green onions, sliced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 4 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tbsp minced cilantro
  • 2 tsp salt

COMBINE all ingredients in a large saucepan. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Unless planning to preserve in jars, allow to cool, ladle into serving dish and pour extra into glass jars. Refrigerate any leftovers.

 

Photos by Chris Hennessey

 

© Caruth Studio

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