Since I began gardening and cooking more seriously I have come to rely on local author and entrepreneur Jim Long for recipes, food preservation tips, and for savvy advice about how to engage the many challenges of gardening in our rocky Ozarks' dirt. His book, Sensational Salsas from Apple to Zucchini is just one example why.
If you're like me, you probably grew up believing that all salsa is red, tomatoey, and comes in a jar labeled Pace Picante Sauce. Sensational Salsas sets that old thinking on its head and expands the idea of salsa to include everything from, well, Granny Smith Apples to zucchini and with bananas, grapes, cucumbers, and oranges in between. Here's one of my favorites:
Peach Ginger Salsa
1 cup fresh or frozen peaches, diced
1 cup ripe tomato, seeded and diced
3 green onions, diced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, minced or diced fine
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the ingredients and chill for at least an hour, then use on pork, fish, chicken and, best of all, with chips and the NFL.
Papaya Salsa, New Orleans Style
Jim writes that he adapted this recipe from one he found in the New Orleans Times-Picayune several years back. It works great as a side salad accompanying gumbo, and is terrific with chips while you watch my favorite team, the New Orleans Saints.
1 ripe papaya, peeled, seeded, and diced
½ large red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup sweet onion, diced
1 habanera pepper, diced (remove the seeds & stem)
Juice from 2 limes
¼ cup pineapple juice (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup cilantro, chopped fine
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the ingredients and chill for at least an hour.
You may know Jim Long from his gardening columns in the Carroll County News and The Ozarks Mountaineer magazine. Jim also writes for The Heirloom Gardener and he has published over 25 books about herbs, gardening, and cooking. His lifelong passion--everything herbal--has made Jim Long one of the most widely recognized and respected herbalists in the United States.
I got to know Jim when he was a featured guest on The Ozark Harvest Radio Hour and I learned about his career and business, Long Creek Herb Farm located near Blue Eye, Missouri. Long Creek Farm is a fully functional market garden that does extra duty as an experimental farm, publishing house and, as these recipes demonstrate, as a test kitchen.
Sensational Salsas from Apple to Zucchini is available for $5.95 directly from Long Creek Herbs. Visit Jim Long's website to order this great addition to your kitchen, and to learn all about gardening in the Ozarks. You'll be glad you did.