Understanding Different Types of Salsa

Salsa means ‘sauce’ in Spanish and its origins can be traced back to the Aztecs, the Mayans and the Incas. But salsa is so much more than a liquid delivery for chilies and its ingredients. Salsa in the truest sense of the word and reference to authentic Mexican and Central American origins is meant to have flavor, depth and to boast a mix of sweet, salty, spicy and tart. The earliest published record of salsa is as early as the 1500s by Spaniards who wrote about their encounters. So it is clear that the ‘sauces’ have been around long before colonizers and Europeans of the past. The Aztecs were the first to domesticate the tomato and their original sauces or ‘salsas’ incorporated its use among other ingredients. Through centuries, salsa has spread from the Central American regions to eventually be prepared around the world. And each way it is prepared around the world brings its own flare (or demise) to the culinary delight.

From South America to Central America and into Mexico, each of these regions have their own influence on the preparation and even how salsa is used and consumed. For instance, many types of salsa are created with dried chilis which provide a deep flavor while other salsas are made with peppers that are charred to provide a smoky taste. Some are smooth while others are chunky. Diving into the specific regions of salsa, the region’s historical influence and stories as to how those salsas are created, what they evoke, and the cultural significance could be a series of books all to themselves. Published March 16th, 2010 in The New York Times, “Rediscovering Salsa, the Soul of Mexico in a Bowl,” the article describes salsa as one of Mexico’s most misunderstood culinary exports. They quoted a Oaxaca University student and aspiring chef as saying, “Watching someone shovel in salsa with tortilla chips is strange to Mexicans. Like how an American would feel watching someone drink salad dressing out of a bottle.” But since the 1980s, salsa in the United States and around the world has been on the rise and the beauty about food and the culinary experience is a creative interpretation of the name of creating something to be shared.

While salsa is the cornerstone of Mexican cuisine, it has evolved and spread to mean something different for people everywhere it is consumed. What remains constant is that there is always a story to food. A history and a passion behind the origins of a dish or preparation which evokes sharing stories and history by those who consume it. The table is often the central point to connections around the world, sharing experiences, memories, happiness and hardships by breaking bread together. Red Cactus-USA is no stranger to stories of journey or providing others a delicious reason to share with one another. A non-gmo, gluten free vehicle of flavor with ingredients right from our own gardens. We know that with food comes camaraderie and togetherness.

Types of Salsa

Salsa Roja is a ‘red’ sauce that is usually comprised of cooked tomatoes, chili peppers, onion, garlic and fresh cilantro.

Pico de Gallo is made with raw tomatoes, lime juice, chilies, onions, cilantro leaves and other raw ingredients coarsely chopped.

Salsa Picante is often thinner in consistency than traditionally ‘chunky’ versions.

Salsa Verde is a green sauce made with tomatillos that are traditionally cooked.

Salsa Cruda is a raw sauce that is an uncooked, roughly chopped mixture of tomatoes, onions, jalapeños and cilantro.

At Red Cactus-USA, we take great pride in our products that are made with garden-fresh ingredients and sold across the country. Since the mid 90s, we have been working hard to produce and distribute a variety of salsas that are low in sodium, non-gmo, and gluten free. Our salsas are our own Hannibal, Missouri spin on the salsa deeply rooted in Mexican and Central American tradition and identity. From our Red Cactus Mild Salsa to our Sweet Heat Salsa, all of our products are some of the only dip products on the market with zero gluten. Food fuels the soul and fuels our ability to help those less fortunate throughout our community, and it has always been more than the salsa. By serving healthy alternatives, we try to promote healthy lifestyles true to our faith-based beginnings. On our own salsa journey, we continue to make a conscious step to keep people healthy and empower them to continue their good work. The bigger picture of Red Cactus-USA has always been about our passion for community outreach, ministry and supporting foundations. All of these combine with the greater mission to assist those who need help the most.

From Red Cactus White Salsa Con Queso, to our White Cheese Sauce, to our Sweet-N-Zesty Salsa Con Queso, to our line of salsas, all of these products are gluten and trans fat free. Every last one can be used in countless ways, from a dip to a topping to the base of a delicious meal. Our recipe page shares some of our favorite plates we have made or that have been shared with us over the years by our wonderful customers. Food is about creation, about sharing, about stories and about change which is why we encourage our customers to send and share your recipes with us! Have one to add to the history books? Send it over to our team for a chance to win a case of salsa!