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Cha Cha Cha...Let's Salsa!

Posted Sep 12 2013 2:52pm

Yesterday we had a record high of 93. Supposedly this week the weather is performing its summer grand finale. All those beautiful summer days are now finally coming to a close.  In celebration of the summer months I decided to make some fresh salsa with the bounty of sweet sun kissed tomatoes I have growing in the garden. Each still warm and fragrant almost as sweet as an apple. Homegrown tomatoes will always hold a place in my heart, their flavor, texture, and overall complexity is in a league of its own. Store bought Romas or Beef tomatoes just cannot compare especially during the winter months!

Tomatoes are wonderful because they are stock full of important nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as a whole host of phytonutrients. Vitamin C plays a role in supporting our innate antioxidant system while vitamin A helps maintain the health of our skin, soft and skeletal tissue, and promotes good vision especially in low light.


The phytonutrients found in tomatoes are still being researched but have already been shown to support cardiovascular health and bone health and have anti-cancerous activity especially for prostate cancers. One phytonutrient is called lycopene, the pigment responsible for the dark red color of the tomato. This phytonutrient has shown to decrease oxidative damage in blood vessel cell membranes, which can often lead to atherosclerosis. Also increased lycopene consumption correlates with overall better bone health and reduced risk for breast cancer.


But remember the darker the tomato, the more lycopene it contains. Therefore aim to eat tomatoes when they have reached their peak in ripeness or use organic canned tomatoes. Canned tomatoes offer a rich source of lycopene because the farmers pick the tomatoes when they are at their peak and can them immediately. Just make sure to look for organic and no added salt.

After eating a tomato right off the vine or one directly from the farmers market, who would want to eat a tomato that is pink and white in the middle anyways? It has absolutely no flavor and not to mention fewer phytonutrients as well!


So what can you do with 5 cups of salsa? I love to add salsa to everything. It makes a regular meal taste fresh and zesty. For instance I add a spoonful in my bowl of soup, on top of my eggs, on a sandwich, in a salad, mixed with yogurt for a creamier dip, and of course as is with chips or crackers. I am sure you will find many creative ways to use your fresh salsa.

So here is to the bounty of late summer!

Zesty Salsa
Makes about 5 cups
Ingredients:
1 can Muir Glen diced tomatoes
5 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
1 red onion, peeled
1 clove garlic, peeled
1-2 jalapenos
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1. In a high-speed blender or food processor add the can of tomatoes. 
2. Quarter 2 of the 5 medium tomatoes as well as the red onion and add into the blender. Add the garlic,  1 jalapeno, the cilantro, lime juice and sea salt. Pulse to combine. Do not over-process the mixture otherwise it will turn to gazpacho!
3. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
4. Finely dice the remaining 3 tomatoes and add to the large bowl. Stir. 
5. Now taste test the mixture. If you like your salsa with more heat, finely dice the second jalapeno and mix in. 
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