Spice it Up with Salsa

May is National Salsa Month! Have some fun promoting this fresh, healthy food that’s versatile, easy to make, and loved by kids and adults.

Our Salsa Wellness Fair Kit has everything you need to celebrate Salsa Month in the office, cafeteria, classroom, farmer’s market, or other location:

  • Poster: Dance with Your Veggies They are Great at the Salsa
  • Mylar balloons: happy cartoon green pepper, tomato, and carrot
  • Copy-ready handouts
  • Guide for wellness fair setup and activities
  • Instructions for making an eye-catching salsa bulletin board

Here are some other ways to celebrate salsa any time of year:

  • Hold a virtual or in-person cooking demo showing how to prepare several types of salsa
  • Invite social media friends and followers to make their favorite salsa and post a picture
  • Challenge your students to create their own salsa using a special ingredient, like pineapple, beans, or avocado
  • Talk about ways to increase the heat by using different peppers
  • Ask a salsa dance teacher to come in to teach some moves
  • Remind everyone that salsa goes with more than just chips – explore fresh veggies to dip into salsa as well as entrees and side dishes that are enhanced by salsa
  • Make a salsa bulletin board with recipes people can take with them

And don’t forget the salsa music! Make a playlist and use your phone, laptop, or iPad.

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Salsa: Not Just for Chips Anymore

Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant this time of year. Why not combine them to make your own creative and delicious salsa?  I know some folks that make “refrigerator salsa”…just take a little of everything in your crisper and VOILA salsa!  That might yield some unusual combinations…but then you never know.  Here are some tips for making your own salsa.

  • Be creative. Salsa recipes are very flexible and forgiving.  Maybe not everything in your crisper, but go out of your comfort zone and try something new.  How about strawberries, kiwi, jalapeno, red onions and a little cilantro? Add a little olive oil and lemon juice and you’ve got a great salsa for fish.
  • Salsa can be a fun and tasty way to add fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks.  Every ½ cup of salsa counts as one serving toward your fruit and vegetable totals for the day.
  • Think of salsa as a condiment, not a dip.
  • Experiment with vegetables and fruits instead of chips as salsa dippers or look for low-fat, high fiber chips or crackers.
  • Use fresh herbs and spices when they are available to make salsas low-salt and low-sodium.
  • Once made, salsas need to be refrigerated.  Remember the two-hour-rule:  for food safety reasons, salsa should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Fresh salsa can be safely stored covered in the refrigerator for one week.
  • Not all recipes for salsa can be safely canned.  Be sure to use a research-based tested recipe for canning.  Don’t be fooled by the heat.  Bacteria that can cause foodborne illness can grow in salsa no matter how hot it is.
  • Speaking of heat: use gloves when working with fresh chile peppers that are very hot. The capsaicin in fresh chilies can cause a painful burn.  Chile tip: generally the smaller the pepper, the hotter it is.
  • Add salsas to soups, salads and casseroles—any time you want a zippy flavor boost.
  • Salsa is the perfect condiment for tacos or grilled protein like fish or chicken.

Salsa can be chopped fresh like a pico de gallo or it can be roasted. Try this delicious roasted salsa recipe which has a longer shelf life than fresh salsa:

Roasted salsa

Here are three great fresh salsa recipes:

Mango Salsa

Corn Salsa

Banana Dessert Salsa

Anything goes.  Have fun.

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University