For more than eight years, we’ve searched for the secret of how to make the best possible Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix. We are now on the verge of unlocking that secret. Come join with our Test Kitchen staff as we go through the final round of tests. Your taste buds will be glad you did. And you will find out about Pierre’s challenge.
The Quest for Perfect Farmhouse Salsa Mix
When I started to write this post, I asked the basic question: What is salsa? Hubby replied with a tedious response worthy of the Encyclopedia Britannica or Wikipedia.
I responded by simply saying, “We’ve all had salsa, we know what it is, and we know what we like. Our Test Kitchen can make a salsa mix that will work every time.”
Our beloved Pierre LeChat, skeptic that he is, countered both of us with a challenge:
“Really? What does the Test Kitchen have to show for eight years of experimentation and testing! Allow me to be the judge of the quality of your Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix!”
Pierre had thrown down the gauntlet. We had to put up or shut up.
5 Criteria for Excellent Farmhouse Salsa Mix
1. Level of the challenge
Every year, SFH produces between 12 to 30 pints of salsa. Each batch of 5 to 6 pints has had a slightly different recipe. This year, we wanted to standardize the basic recipe in the form of a mix. To the extent possible, the mix would use dehydrated vegetables and herbs from our own gardens. This meant we had to do three important things:
- 1st – Ensure that our gardens produce sufficient quantities of needed vegetables and herbs.
- 2nd – Develop the skills needed to dry/dehydrate the SFH-produced ingredients.
- 3rd – Determine the proper ratio of ingredients for the salsa mix.
2. Selection of good-quality ingredients
Our Test Kitchen staff knew up front that the SFH gardens would never support production of all the needed ingredients. Consequently, we worked hard to source ingredients of the highest quality. We well understand that this effort is not ‘just once and done.’ – Most anything can be improved. Our Farmhouse Salsa Mix ingredients will always be under review.
3. Use of cooking techniques
The primary technique employed in preparing our salsa mix is dehydrating. For the present, that includes dehydrating jalapeños and other hot peppers. Eventually it will include drying garlic and turning it into garlic powder.
A secondary technique employs vacuum packing ingredients in mason jars for long-term storage. This is needed to store individual ingredients and the prepared salsa mix itself.
4. Development of superior taste and flavor
As I said earlier, “We’ve all had salsa, we know what it is, and we know what we like.” But that doesn’t mean everyone likes the same thing. Our Test Kitchen had to produce a recipe that would satisfy the broadest spectrum of tastes. But more importantly, the recipe had to satisfy my Hubby and me. Certainly, it also had to be a hit with our children and grandchildren.
So, we reviewed literally hundreds of recipes on the Web and in cookbooks. That gave us a few general ideas.
We also looked at the three big makers of packaged salsa mix. We saw what ingredients they shared in common. Then we looked at which ingredients set them apart. This table shows some of what we learned.
We grow our own jalapeños, and they are great in salsa. So, even though only one company uses them in their mix, we knew they had to be in our mix too.
Despite all the research, our success depended on the most important factor of all – test, test, and test again. The Test Kitchen had to determine the optimum ingredient quantities and ratios. It’s been a long haul, and we’re not finished yet. But the recipe we’re giving you today will work.
5. How to Use Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix
While this may be just a mix in a mason jar, it is a mix with a message. That message is – this mix that will provide you great-tasting salsa anytime you want it. You can:
- Make fresh salsa that can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Freeze salsa and store it for up to a year.
- Use it for canning salsa that can be stored up to 18 months.
What Will Pierre think of Our Mix?
On July 21st, we put together our latest version of Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix. On the 23rd, we put the mix to the test. We used the mix along with our own tomatoes and fresh garlic. Instead of the five pints we expected, we were able to can six full pints. After canning, there was just enough left over for Pierre to taste.
In our next post, Pierre will tell his tasting tale. Then, he will recommend how the entire world should rank Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa mix. This will be one post you don’t want to miss.
Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa Mix
- ¾ Cup Diced & dried red & green bell peppers (You can use just red or green if you desire.)
- ¾ Cup Dehydrated jalapeño peppers (You can substitute other types of hot peppers.)
- ¾ Cup Dehydrated onions
- ¼ Cup Canning salt (We use Mrs. Wages® Pickling and Canning Salt.)
- ¼ Cup Chili pepper (Substitute chili powder if desired. Note that the powder contains additional spices.)
- ¼ Cup Garlic powder (Substitute minced garlic if desired when actually canning. Do not add fresh garlic to the dry mix!)
- Assemble and measure all ingredients. Crush dehydrated jalapeño. (We used a mortar and pestle to crush the peppers.)
- Mix ingredients thoroughly.
- Store in airtight container until time of use.