CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - If you want to start a food fight, try finding the best salsa the next time you go to the grocery store. It's the biggest selling condiment in America and there are literally dozens to choose from. I don't think I'm a salsa snob but I've never found a canned or bottled salsa in any store that just knocks my socks off.
But I have now and it didn't come from a store. It's fresh salsa that you can make. In fact, I've found that many of the condiments we usually pick up at the grocery store can actually be made at home and taste just as good, if not better, than store-bought.
So why don't we make more on our own? Chef Jeremy Bevins is with US Foods in Fort Mill, one of the top food suppliers in the country. He says when it comes to making your own condiments versus buying them in the store, "It's a lot easier to go buy it. It's cheaper sometimes to get a non-brand bottle of ketchup. I think that they're scared, not knowing how to do it. And we're busy. I mean, we all are busy every day. And if we're not, we find something to do. So I think it's a combination of a lot of different things."
But if you're willing to take the time you'll likely find going fresh-made is well worth the effort. And actually, it really doesn't take that much effort. Chef Jeremy says, "I mean it's not hard. And I think that's what scares people away too. You see a recipe and there's ingredients and methods of preparation. And we just zone out, we're like, I can't do this. But it's really not that hard. It's really not that hard. You just have to add ingredients and blend it or cook it for a little bit. It's not that hard. It's really not."
It was so simple. Chef Jeremy took just a few ingredients, put them into a food processor, set it on pulse, and within seconds we had fresh salsa. And before we put it to the taste test, Chef Jeremy showed me how easy it was to make your own tortilla chips. He cut up corn tortillas and put them into a fryer. Within moments, we had fresh chips.
I tried them and all I could say was, "Jeremy! Oh man! I think if you tried this at home you would never go back to store bought!" They were absolutely delicious. I've never had better. And it was so easy.
Then think about this: How often do we go to the grocery store and pick up ketchup and mayonnaise, and don't even think twice about it? With Chef Jeremy's guidance, I found out you can make the two condiments at home, and they really taste good.
"Today, we're going to make homemade ketchup," he told me.
Again, very few ingredients. He stirred them together in a pan and put them on the stove to cook for 30 minutes. While that was cooking, he showed me how to make mayonnaise.Only five ingredients. Put into a food processor. And within minutes, Chef Jeremy had it at a thick and creamy consistency. A taste test revealed it was delicious and as good as anything I've ever tasted.
Then we went back to the ketchup on the stove. It had been 30 minutes. Chef Jeremy put it into a blender and once it was pureed, bingo! Tasty with full-bodied flavor!
This opens up a whole new world to you for making your own condiments. And yes, it takes a little time and effort. "You know, I'm a big advocate for making it from fresh. Making it at home. You learn to appreciate the ingredients, the process of getting to that point. And when you sit down and you have ketchup that you made on a burger, you take pride in it," Chef Jeremy said. "know it sounds weird and I know I'm just a chef talking about food. But I think people can learn to respect the process of how food is actually made."
And with that said, I'm heading home now! I've got a lot to eat!
But before I go, here are the recipes:
- 1 -14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 -10 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 onion
- 1 jalapeno deseeded and membranes removed
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- Roughly chop up 1/2 an onion, 1 jalapeno (remove seeds as desired, the seeds will add heat), and 3 cloves of garlic. Add to food processor (affiliate link).
- Add in 1 can of diced tomatoes and 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chiles.
- Add in honey, salt, 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, and juice of 1/2 lime (start slow with the lime as it can overpower, you can taste and add more if desired)
- Blend in food processor for about 30 seconds or until desired consistency
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 Medium Red Onion, Diced
- 1 can (28 Oz. Size) Peeled Whole Tomatoes
- 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Molasses
- 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Powdered Ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
- Heat a 4-quart sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and onions, sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, molasses and cider vinegar. Bring to a slow boil, lower to a simmer and using a spoon crush the whole tomatoes. Add remaining ingredients and continue to simmer, uncovered for 45–55 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very thick. Make sure to keep an eye on it and stir it to keep it from scorching.
- Use a blender to puree the ketchup. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. The ketchup will continue to develop flavor and thicken.
- 2 ea egg yolk
- 16 oz mild oil (Canola, blend of Olive and Vegetable oil)
- 1/2 – 1 ea lemon, juiced
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- Salt to taste
- Using a food processor, combine egg yolks, mustard, and lemon juice.
- Slowly drizzle the oil in while the processor is on (this should take about 8-10 minutes if done correctly). DO NOT RUSH THIS PROCESS!
- When all of the oil has been added, season with salt and more lemon juice.
- Store in a container with a lid and refrigerate.
- Hold in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 weeks.