Enjoying Fresh Salsa
I enjoy salsa, fresh or canned. It turns out there are different health benefits coming from each type.
The juicy fresh red tomato, combined with jalapeno, onion, garlic and lime, turns simple-to-prepare batch of salsa into a nutrition powerhouse, packed with a variety of minerals and vitamins. A single tomato alone provides one-quarter of the recommended amount of daily vitamin C. When adding in the extra C coming from the jalapeno and lime, how can you lose?
Interestingly, the vitamin C content is higher in fresh salsa than in jarred salsa.
According to a Cornell University study, tomatoes processed/cooked at 190 degrees F for 30 minutes lose up to 29 percent of their vitamin C content. However, lycopene, a nutrient believed to cut cancer risk, is actually increased by 168 percent when cooked for 30 minutes.
I think adding both fresh and cooked salsa might cover all the nutrition bases.
A List of Other Health Benefits
In addition to the immune-boosting benefits of vitamin C, here are a few highlights taken from this Healthline link Salsa: 10 Healthy Benefits
- Fiber. Scientists believe that consuming fiber-rich fruits and vegetables like those found in salsa reduces the risk for colon cancer and cardiovascular disease. It is believed that fiber helps stabilize blood sugar, which is welcome news for diabetics.
- Lycopene. Research suggests that lycopene is of great benefit in reducing cancer risk, especially prostate, stomach and lung cancer.
- Potassium. Helps regulate blood pressure.
- Capsacin. Found in chili peppers capsacin can be another cancer fighter, especially prostate cancer. Research also indicates capsacin is a mood booster and fat burner.
- Citric acid. The citric acid in limes may lower the chances of getting kidney stones.
Making the Fresh Salsa
Making salsa is easy-peasy. First you need to rough chop your tomatoes and onion. Mince up the jalapeno, bell pepper, garlic and cilantro. Next, add all to the blender or food processor along with the lime juice, vinegar and seasonings. Pulse a few times to get the desired chunky consistency.
Too much pulsing/blending ends up with salsa that’s just a little too liquidy. If that happens, just let the salsa rest in the fridge for a few hours and drain out some of the liquid through a mesh strainer.
A Few Additional Notes
Be sure you taste the salsa after all ingredients have been combined. It may need more lime juice or cider vinegar. Begin by adding 1-2 Tablespoons at a time to reach desired taste.
You may want to add more salt to your recipe. Just remember that your chips are usually salty, and we all need to be watching our salt content.
Do you like it hot? Add more jalapeno, about ½ pepper at a time and then TASTE.
Do you prefer it mild? Be sure to remove seeds and membranes from the jalapeno before chopping since that’s where most of the heat is found.
Remember to wear disposable plastic gloves when working with hot chili peppers. The burning feeling after touching your eyes with the hard-to-wash off chili oil on your hands is no fun.
This tastes better after resting in the fridge for a few hours.
Fresh Tomato with Jalapeno Pepper Salsa
- 1-2 fresh jalapeno peppers chopped (I include seeds because I like it hot)
- 3 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1 medium size green bell pepper chopped
- 1 cup sweet onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 lime juiced
- 1/8 cup cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika or chipotle powder optional for smoky flavor
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
COMBINE the jalapeno pepper, tomatoes, green bell pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, cider vinegar, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender.
PULSE/BLEND until all ingredients are combined but still chunky. SERVE.