Elaina’s Eats: Fresh salsa

Use fresh ingredients. You'll thank me later. ELAINA MERCATORIS/THE CAMPUS

By ELAINA MERCATORIS

[email protected]

‘Tis the season of tomatoes.  Growing up, I would help my mom can salsa, spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce with bushels of tomatoes from our local farmer’s market every year.
It became a family affair as my brother and I squeezed tomatoes through a tomato press, pushing them down the hole at the top and cranking their insides through the grinder, which separated the desired liquid from the skin.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I’d have the time or the tools to can my own salsa during the school year; however, I do have a half hour or less to make a fresh salsa with fresh garden tomatoes.
You can use all different kinds of tomatoes. I used tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and plum tomatoes. Each with their own specific flavor, the variety adds an extra punch to the salsa.
Since I prefer the look of a chunky salsa, I cut each tomato in half and scooped out the insides before dicing it into small squares. If you don’t remove the insides, the salsa will become increasingly more runny as it sits in the fridge.
Then I chopped a fresh Vidalia onion into similar sized squares. The amount of onion you use is entirely up to you. As one who doesn’t really like onions, my opinion is to add no more than one third of the amount of tomatoes.
Next I cut up two fresh banana peppers. Again, this is personal preference—it depends on how hot you like your salsa.  If you have a fresh jalapeño, that would be delicious, too. Fresh is key, though I’ll admit canned works too.
The last time my parents visited, they brought me bulbs of garlic from our garden. I pressed four large cloves and cut into small pieces.
Lastly, I dumped dried cilantro and drizzled lime juice on top, and finally mixed everything together.
It is delicious with tortilla chips, but don’t forget other possibilities! I topped a quesadilla with it for lunch one day. Use it as a topping for a taco salad. It’s even delicious with Garden Salsa SunChips.
Go to the farmer’s market tomorrow at the Market House and buy all of the ingredients! You can even get fresh cilantro. Enjoy!