Good kosher salsa is hard to come by, its one of those products that never seems to have a hechsher. Every time I get to the salsa aisle at my local grocer I search frantically, desperately turning the jars making a racket looking for that OU or chof-k, but to my dismay they never appear. We salsa lovers must suffer with the large branded bottles of cheap and tasteless Chi-Chis and Ortega, or in desperate circumstances Golds or other frummy fare. I gaze with envy at the bottles filled with chunky concoctions of green salsa, and salsa with roasted peaches, mangoes and pineapple and wish that someday I too will be able to enjoy such delicacies. Even though I know its inevitable that most good salsa’s will lack the hechsher I still spin those same jars every time I happen upon them.
That’s not to say that not a single good salsa exists that contains a reliable hashgacha. In fact Seeds of Change makes a very good garlic and cilantro Salsa of the more smooth variety- good for dipping- but not chunky enough for nachos or tacos. The smooth slightly spicy flavor of the garlic goes very well with their smooth pasty sauce. Seeds of Change is organic and vegan but could be found at most supermarkets. They in fact used to have the best pasta sauce in my opinion until one day I found the hashgacha had been removed and the price had gone from $3.29 to $5.99 a jar. Luckily the salsa has not reached the same heights in price and still contains its OU on the side of the rather small jar.
The other decent salsa I know of is Green Mountain Gringo of Vermont which contains a KVH hechsher. Green Mountain Gringos salsa is also organic- do you see a trend here? Further more the chips they make are out of this world, extremely light white corn strips, so they are long and skinny allowing one to dip into the jar long beyond that normal last threshold point that lazy people who do not want to wash bowls eventually succumb to and pour the salsa out into the cap in order to get a good amount onto the chip. The Green Mountain Gringo salsa is rather chunky and depending on the hotness still tastes rather unspiced. I am more of a sweet salsa type- but I know most of my readers like a little spice. It is relatively cheap at $2.99 a jar in most places.
I needed some quilted, soft and rather cheap bathroom tissue last week and so I made my way to the ghetto paradise store of Family Dollar. Those familiar with Family Dollar know that besides being the winner of being the most ghetto store or maybe tied with Aldi’s. So anyway I enjoy the teenage mothers screaming at their kids, the ghetto bangers with their 24 inch rims and the big black ladies who love to scream into their phones about some numbers they dreamt about last night and had just played.
In Albany the Family Dollar I go to is adjacent to Honest Weight Natural Food Coop. Which is interesting because I feel most of the folks who can afford to buy natural food rarely visit the ghetto so I guess this gives them exposure as they shop. Well anyways I decided to hop in a see what was on sale. I rarely shop here because its prices are more expensive then those of Hannaford and they have the same stuff pretty much. Naturally I ventured into the sauce aisle and did the whole jar spinning thing with all the pasta sauces and salsa’s. Suddenly I picked up a bottle of southwestern peach salsa and low and behold an OU was tucked neatly to the left side of the label. I checked it again and again on a few different bottles to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. You know how your eating something really good you just bought and are looking at the nutritional label and realize that its not kosher. You could have sworn you saw a hashgacha on it at the store, yet here you are scarfing down some killer yogurt covered pretzels and they lack the OU you swore you saw.
So after a few more checks I picked up the bottle joyous at my new find. It may suck I thought to myself as I shelled out $3.99 for a 16oz bottle of Walnut Acres Organic Farms- Southwestern Peach Salsa. I grabbed some Garden of Eatin chips- garden of eatin makes the best chips. They all have chof-k and although most of the flavors are dairy they rock the boat- or bowl shall I say. Guacamole, cheese, red and blue chips, cheese, black bean, tamari, many more.
So armed with my 12 roles of unscented quilted white toilet paper, jar of peach salsa and large bag of white corn tortilla chips I entered my house and immediately opened the jar and took a whiff. Right away I could smell the sweet peaches mingling nicely with the chinks of tomato, fried onions and sautéed peppers. I thrust a rather large triangular chip deep within the depths of the thick, red, sweet smelling stew. The chip raised revealed a semi chunky, watery paste of red sauce with cubed undeterminable veggies clinging for dear life as I raised the chip still intact with the generous portion of salsa to my eagerly awaiting mouth. In one large bite I ate the chip and let the sweetness of the peach salsa wash over my palate. First impression was surprised at its goodness, its sweetness combined with a slight tinge of spice, I was unable to determine which veggies were which, yet this did not matter as I proceeded to experiment with different styles of dipping I was continually impressed with the ability of the salsa to adapt to many different situations. The semi dip, where one dips, but does not get any solids on the chip- just watery salsa residue was a success, because the salsa residue contained immense flavor even without the helping of solid veggies. Most salsa residue or the sauce devoid of veggies lacks the same intense flavor that the veggies hold- but my compliments to Walnut Acres for engineering a near perfect sauce.
I discovered this salsa about 3 weeks ago and have since consumed about a dozen jars of it. The time and amount has allowed me to successfully point out a major flaw with the capabilities of this sauce. Everything was going great until I started buying multiple jars at a time. This brought me to the discovery that the refrigerated sauce becomes much less flavorful then sauce that is left at room temperature. Why is this? Shouldn’t the refrigeration process improve the sauces dexterity and ability to maintain its robust flavors that are there when first opening the jar? Basically the sauce ages for the worse. Overall though it has been a great experience and I would recommend this salsa to anyone who absolutely hates the major brands and also dislikes any of the frummy brands like golds, or leibers.