Strawberry Salsa

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Refreshing salsa of strawberries, sweet onion, chocolate nibs, mint and a little lime juice – perfect with chevre and crackers.

Refreshing, easy appetizer Strawberry Salsa

I thought I’d share some fun strawberry factoids today that you can toss around at your next cocktail party since this recipe is ALL about strawberries, and they’re quickly coming into season now in many parts of the country.

  • The botanical name for strawberry is fragaria, which means fragrance. Fitting, don’t you think?
  • Strawberries belong to the rose family. A few judicious drops of rose water in recipes calling for strawberries will emphasize their floral aspect.
  • There is some debate over the provenance of the word “strawberry”, but the two reigning beliefs are because: 1) straw was used between the rows to keep the berries clean and to protect them in the winter; and 2) in Europe, ripe berries were carried to market threaded on straws. Take your pick.
  • Strawberries are a pseudofruit. A fruit is defined as a plant that grows a shell around a seed to protect it, which strawberries clearly do not do. But look at a strawberry under a magnifying glass, or more specifically at all those dots on the surface of the strawberries that we think of as seeds, and you’ll see that they’re actually small green plants. The seeds are actually inside of them, making the dots on the surface of the strawberries the actual fruit. So the strawberry itself is technically a delicious and colorful stem that holds the ovaries which encloses the seeds. Who knew?
  • Strawberries provide more vitamin C than oranges, and are also an excellent source of potassium and folic acid. They also contain ellagic acid, a compound that guards against cancer. They’re considered an eliminative food, and therefore good for the intestinal track. But the seeds can be irritating to those who suffer inflammation of the bowel or colitis.
  • Once strawberries are picked, they will never ripen any further.
  • Some report that strawberries benefit from thermotherapy, which means to say dipping strawberries in very warm water (125°F) for roughly 45 seconds, then letting completely dry before storing. The theory is that the heat from the water destroys mold spores, allowing the berries to last longer in the refrigerator. I haven’t run any side-by-side tests, so I can’t confirm this, but if you decide to test it out I’d recommend drying them quickly. My favorite method is to line the basket of a small salad spinner with a paper towel, and place the wet strawberries on the paper towel. Whirl the basket in the spinner just as you would for lettuce. It’s amazingly efficient and effective.
Strawberry Salsa

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

The cook time provided is actually chill time in the refrigerator. Serve this great salsa on crackers with some creamy or sharp cheese.
Ingredients
  • 6 large strawberries, hulled and chopped (about 1¾ cups when chopped)
  • ½ cup sweet onion, finely chopped (Vidalia onions are perfect here!)
  • 2½ Tbsp fresh mint, minced
  • 1½ Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp chocolate nibs
  • 2 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp finely chopped dried ancho chili (optional)
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, and chill for 30 minutes.
 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Your strawberry salsa is inspired, Susan! I can’t wait to make it. Love your addition of nibs. What great strawberry info, too! I’ve wondered where strawberries get their name from – good to know straw is actually involved. Have a great weekend!

  2. says

    I picked tons of strawberries this year and I’m going with the theory that they used straw between the rows. Who knows? All these facts are so interesting. It makes so much sense that they are part of the rose family. I read this year that to keep strawberries, put them water with some vinegar. Soak strawberries with apple cider or white vinegar 1 part to ten parts water for a minutes. Drain. Put in fridge. It prevents mold spores. It worked for me. I just defrosted a gigantic bag of strawberries given to me and I’m going to turn them into this salsa and go from there.

    • says

      I love this idea! I’m assuming you’d need to make sure they’re completely dried after their quick soak. The vinegar would kill the spores – so it makes sense. I’m going to try it with my next batch. Thanks so much for contributing your idea!

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