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Grow your own green salsa garden with Tagawa’s Alicia!

Meet Alicia! She’s been a member of Tagawa’s Production and Annuals Crew for 30 years, and we’re so lucky to have her! She doesn’t just help Tagawas grow great flowers and vegetables. She also raises veggies at home to use in her Mexican cooking, which is always on the menu at her house.

I asked her which herbs and veggies were among her favorites and one of the dishes she liked to make with them. She didn’t hesitate: green salsa! I’m very familiar with the traditional red salsa, the one made with tomatoes. With green salsa, it’s tomatillos, not tomatoes, that take center stage. And my goodness! I was about to learn that this bright, bold green salsa is yummy stuff! I thought it would be fun to share her techniques and her recipe (‘tho she won’t call it that). Let’s get to it!

Alicia’s Green Salsa Garden

Alicia’s green salsa garden isn’t just functional. It’s pretty, too!

Her salsa garden includes a tomatillo plant, a pepper plant, green onions and cilantro, among other things. Alicia says if she wants a big harvest of tomatillos, she’ll grow it by itself in a separate pot where it has less competition. Keeping a garden like this in good sunlight near the kitchen door can be especially convenient.

Time for a sharp knife and a cutting board!

To begin, Alicia quarters the tomatillos and most of a white onion. (Full recipe to follow at the end of this blog.) She slices the pepper (or peppers, if your tastes run on the hotter side) and removes the seeds. Green onions sliced into long pieces, a generous bundle of cilantro and a garlic clove go in next, along with a good bit of lime juice and some sea salt.

Blend (or boil) just a bit, and you see why it’s called “green” salsa!

At home, Alicia uses the same ingredients but boils them for ten minutes, then pulses them in a blender to desired consistency. She says blending them without boiling first, as she did for our demo, works just fine, too. The minute those blades begin to spin, the aroma of all of the wonderful ingredients fills the room and a lovely, inviting green fills the blender! Alicia adds some water, a bit at a time, to help combine the juices of the various herbs and veggies.

A little avocado never hurts!

Some diced avocado is one of Alicia’s favorite additions to her salsa. The avocados can be added to the mix in the blender, or stirred into the finished salsa.

Alicia especially likes the creaminess the avocado adds. If she wants a chunkier salsa, more pieces of avocado are the perfect answer. And for the record, no, she doesn’t grow her own avocados…

And how does Alicia use this lovely green salsa?

She says there are so many options! With corn chips, of course. But how about on top of scrambled eggs or in a breakfast burrito… with her homemade tamales… tacos… enchiladas… you name it!

Alicia has cooked Mexican food since she was a child, and never resorts to a “recipe,” but if you’d like to try this garden-friendly green salsa yourself, here’s the list of ingredients I wrote down while she worked.

Alicia’s Green Salsa

5-8 tomatillos (depending on size), husked and quartered

1-2 peppers (jalapenos or serranos), halved and seeded

half of a white or yellow onion, cut into large chunks

2 green onions (including stems) cut into 3″ lengths

1 1-inch bundle of cilantro, stems and all

1 clove of garlic

juice of half a lime

1 t. of sea salt

about 1/4 C water, maybe more, added gradually to mix juices without making salsa soupy

1-2 avocados, diced, added during blending or saved to stir in later.

All ingredients can be adjusted for personal taste.

Blend briefly (or boil for ten minutes) until salsa is desired consistency.

Thanks to Alicia for letting us get a quick peek at the type of Mexican food she makes at home. If you’d like to grow a green salsa garden of your own, Tagawas has the veggies and advice you’ll need!