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Monday, September 24, 2018

It's Salsa Time!

by Judy Ann Davis
It's salsa time--and I don't mean the dance. 
Tomatoes are ripening faster 
than gardeners can pick and eat them. 
This is an ideal time to make salsa!

Tomatoes are my favorite vegetable, especially during the summer when they are fresh off the vine. I love to eat them in salads, marinated in oil and vinegar with mozzarella cheese, or just sliced with a little salt.

So what do we know about this very prominent vegetable called the tomato which comes in all sizes from small cherry varieties to plants bearing large yellow, red, or pink fruit?

We know they are a staple ingredient for many dishes from pizza to spaghetti to salsa, and they have a high acidic content that makes them a favorite for canning.  

Native to South America and Central America, our jolly red tomato has been around since Cortez discovered them growing in Montezuma’s gardens in 1519. He brought seeds back to Europe where they were planted as ornamental curiosities, but were not eaten. The tomato is a member of the nightshade family, and it was thought to be poisonous by the Europeans. (Special note: the leaves of the tomato are considered poisonous.)

Not so ironically, Italy was the first to embrace the pomi d’ora, meaning yellow apples. They are incorporated in many Italian dishes and sauces. France later referred to them as pommes d’amour or love apples and believed they had aphrodisiac properties.

But much credit should go to Joseph Campbell in the United States, who made tomatoes popular with his famous condensed tomato soup--and the Campbell soup label became a household name and brand nationwide.

Here is one of my favorite salsa recipes. Enjoy!

  • 4 cups chopped peeled fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped red or green pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt - optional
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped find - optional
In a bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Let stand for about 1 hour. Serve at room temperature. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Yield: 3-1/2 cups. You can substitute lime juice instead of vinegar.
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I'm thrilled to announce that FOUR WHITE ROSES was a finalist in the Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Awards with winners to be announced this fall: It was also a finalist in the Book Excellence Awards earlier this year.

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Twitter ID:  JudyAnnDavis4 
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  1. I love tomatoes from the garden. They never taste that good from the store. Thanks for the recipe, and good luck on the Maggies.

    1. Yes, I love tomatoes which are fresh from the garden. We also have an Amish farmer's market here in Central Pennsylvania. The tomatoes they grow are HUGE. I have to learn their secret.

  2. Judy, Thank you for the history of tomatoes. I had no idea they weren't grown and eaten in Europe a few centuries ago. I enjoy collecting all these tidbits of history. They fascinate me. And the recipe sounds scrumptuous. I can already taste this salsa on my sun chips.

    1. I chuckle when I think how the Italians beat everyone to finding a use for the tomato. And now they are known for many wonderful dishes involving pomi d'ora as an ingredient.


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