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Cranberries Are The Special Ingredient For A Sweet Twist On Salsa

Ingredients for cranberry salsa
Ingredients for cranberry salsa - Natalia Wimberley/Shutterstock

You've heard of pineapple salsa. You've heard of mango salsa. Now get ready for ... cranberry salsa. Salsa is an easy, nutritious snack that is often loaded with vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and onions -- but add in a little fruit to counteract the spice and salt, and you can quickly take that salsa's flavor profile up a notch.

Sweet and heat is a flavor combination that hits the taste buds in all the right ways. While other fruits are more commonly used in salsa, cranberries are an ideal secret ingredient because they have a bitterness and sourness to them that can be enhanced with sweeteners like agave syrup or granulated sugar, enabling you to tailor the level of sugar as you see fit. You can either blend fresh cranberries with your preferred sweetener right into the salsa or use dried cranberries to give the dish a slightly more robust texture, all while incorporating that same tangy sweetness.

Read more: 12 Vegetables And Fruits That Used To Look Very Different

Why Cranberries Make Such A Great Salsa Ingredient

Cranberries on wooden background
Cranberries on wooden background - Julia Sudnitskaya/Shutterstock

Fresh cranberries are too bitter and sour to eat on their own, but pair them with sweet ingredients in a cranberry salsa recipe and watch the magic happen. For a punchy, spicy snack, combine raw cranberries with some kind of sweetener alongside a spicy element like jalapeños (even peppery ginger will work), zap everything together in a food processor or blender, and you'll quickly create a dip/condiment with the familiar texture of tomato salsa that also happens to be bursting with unexpected flavor.

Fresh citrus juice is another common cranberry salsa add-in -- a squeeze of lime, for instance, will complement the cranberries' inherent acidity. The same goes for other sour ingredients, as in a cranberry-tomatillo salsa recipe, which relies on the tangy diminutive green fruit essential for salsa verde. You can also skip the lime juice in favor of a little freshly squeezed orange juice and zest, which are key to crafting Roberta Gonzales' cranberry, orange, and cilantro salsa.

While fresh cranberries are used for their vibrancy, building a salsa with dried cranberries requires a slightly different approach. Because dried cranberries are typically sold sweetened, there's no need to add sugar. In this case, you can chop them up using a food processor, then pair them with some diced jalapeños, onions, cilantro, and olive oil for more sweetly spicy snacking satisfaction.

The Best Pairings For Cranberry Salsa

Bowl of cranberry salsa
Bowl of cranberry salsa - Natalia Wimberley/Shutterstock

You can enjoy this salsa like any other -- with some tortilla chips. It also makes a surprisingly great addition to salad. Top a salad with some red onion, a little salty feta cheese, and that sweet and spicy salsa for a delicious lunch or weeknight dinner. For a tasty party appetizer, slice up a baguette, then toast it and top it with some warm brie and cranberry salsa. And of course, a salsa featuring cranberries would make the perfect foil for turkey street tacos seasoned with cumin and plenty of chipotle peppers.

When gauging whether leftover cranberry salsa is still good to eat, you should consider whichever ingredient has the shortest shelf life -- once that particular item goes bad, the salsa will no longer taste fresh. While fresh cranberries can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator, ingredients like jalapeños and onions have a much shorter shelf life. Once those jalapeños and onions have been chopped and exposed to air, you can expect them to last only a few days. Check for an off appearance or odor before eating it.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.