With summer barbecues and picnics just around the corner it’s the perfect time to explore some of the most flavorful salsas coming out of our state. The abundance of produce grown locally, and the creativity of our entrepreneurs, has led to some uniquely Michigan products. Whether you’re looking to dip a chip, or add some extra zing to something fresh off the grill, these seven stars are worth a try.
There couldn’t be a story about Michigan salsa without a cherry entry, of course, and this signature product from Cherry Republic is one of the best. The company says it spent three years trying to find just the right balance of sweet and spicy. The result is a medium heat, with a touch of sweet that can add a northern Michigan edge to tacos or burritos, but is even great served up on a burger.
The folks at Little Diablo are truly in the business of making great salsas. Utilizing fresh ingredients and with a passion for quality, Doug and Stacy Bering have a line of seven different salsas ranging from mild to a “Double Diablo” hot. The most unique addition was the result of extensive research, taking into consideration a wide range of flavor profiles. By pairing the sweetness of pineapple with the zest of ginger, and of course familiar elements like onion, garlic, and jalapeno, they found a formula for a nectarous and savory delight. This semi-sweet salsa provides more flavor than heat, making it a particularly nice addition to pork or fish.
Steve and Julie Fessler were in a grocery store doing a demo when they got the inspiration for one of their best sellers, Fessler’s Peach Salsa. Their company makes sauces and rubs that are great for cooking, but decided it would be a good idea to add some products to the mix that can be enjoyed right out of the jar. Yet they still needed to fit with the culinary style of the rest of the line. One of the truly unique elements of this delightfully peachy salsa, is the complete lack of tomatoes. Instead, just the peaches are complimented with traditional salsa elements like onions, bell peppers, vinegar, jalapeño peppers, garlic, and cilantro. It makes a very summery salsa on its own, and pairs really well with salmon, pork or chicken. For s simple appetizer, pour it over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers for a scrumptious spread.
One of the more unique fruity salsas on the market is Maria's Mango Cranberry. This combination of the Great Lakes meets the tropics is truly special. It’s sweet, yet a tad tart. Made from fresh roma tomatoes, cranberries, mangos, onions, honey, sugar, salt, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, chili paste and chili sauce, it pairs well with poultry, pork, and eggs. For a more traditional Mexican flare, Maria’s also makes an excellent Black Bean with Roasted Corn Salsa, along with four other tasty options.
When one thinks salsa, one tends to think south of the border, not southern states, but Mrs. Pruitt’s Gourmet CHA CHA is the exception. In a true southern tradition, this family recipe dating back to the 1800s, is a very chunky creation. It can just as easily be used like a relish or a chutney that will add a flavorful touch to various beans, collards, kale, turnips, black-eyed peas, or even wraps, casseroles, hot dogs, burgers, or even pasta. Probably the most unique ingredient that sets it apart is cabbage. It comes in mild, hot, and a blazing Motor City Heat option, to suit any palate.
When your company is making some of the best hot sauce on the planet, it seems natural to take the leap into the salsa market. That’s exactly what’s happening at Scotty O’Hotty. This product is so new that it’s not even available for a few more weeks so add it to your “to taste list.” Based on their award-winning Beer-Bacon Chipotle hot sauce, one can only imagine how good a salsa version will be. In addition to that unique flavor profile, the company is also coming to market with a fiery entry called The Ghost Salsa and a much milder, Suzi’s Garden Salsa, named for Scotty’s wife and co-creator.
If you’re looking for something less inventive, and more traditional, Olympus Fare has four delicious options named for Greek gods, including Athena, a fire-roasted tomatillo salsa. You can taste the freshness in every bite of Tina Mulder’s My Salsa, which ranges from mild to an extra hot, and includes a Ghost version. One thing is for sure, if you want fresh, flavorful, sizzling salsa to heat up your summer, there’s no need to look beyond the Michigan border. Order any of these products online and/or ask your local market to start carrying your favorites.
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