How it all started.
Making salsa was born out of my love of cooking. When I go to restaurants, almost no matter what I order, I find myself thinking, "I can make this better at home".
I made salsa frequently in the summer months, picking most of the ingredients out of my own garden, but by early winter it was gone. So that led to me learning the process of canning.
I started out making 100 pints my first year. I thought for sure this would last until the following summer. But after giving jars away for Christmas presents and the constant begging for more that followed, it was still gone by mid-winter!
And the winner is ...
I was working my way through school years back. Many of my co-workers would brag about the salsas that they made. They would argue about who's was better. I volunteered that I thought I made the best salsa and told them they should bring theirs into the bar for a friendly competition. Other workers and customers judged and my salsa won every time.
I decided to enter a serious competition, the Minnesota State Fair. It is the second largest fair in the country.
My salsa has won multiple First Place Finishes there and in other competitions. I won First Place in the 2004 Amateur Scovie Awards for salsa. This competition is sponsored by Fiery Foods and Barbeque Magazine and is one of the largest competition of its kind in the world.
Since then my salsas have won 15 National Awards for Excellence including 5 Professional Scovie Awards and 10 Awards at America's Zesty Best Food Competition.
What makes it so good?
In the beginning, I would fire roast my tomatoes and peppers right on the grill in my own backyard making them succulent, smoky, and lightly charred. They were a key to my unique flavor and still are.
There is really no substitute for fresh ingredients. When I first began the process of moving the production from my kitchen to a packing facility, many people in the industry strongly advised me to use frozen onions, canned peppers, dried cilantro etc. I was told, "It will be much cheaper to make using those processed ingredients" and "You're going to get a much more consistent product that way".
I wanted to know for sure, after all these advisors had been in the industry for years. Although I had my doubts, I gave it a shot.
I made dozens of test batches using different ingredients from across the country. But what I realized after all of the testing, was something I already knew. Fresh is just better. Period. I am not out to make the cheapest salsa out there and I am not interested in consistency if it means consistently mushy.
Caution: May cause chip damage!
The only complaint I have ever received about my salsa is, "Dan, your salsa keep breakin' my chips!
This is true. I guess ever since I started making salsa, I knew it was too thick for most chips to handle. Do what I do. Use a spoon.
Daniel's Fire Roast will not leave the familiar trail of juice from the bowl, across the table, up your shirt, and dribbling down your chin!