With Día de los Muertos coming up this week I wanted to make a salsa to commemorate this special day. Personally, this salsa also brought back some great memories of my grandparents that passed away a few years ago.
Salsa para Día de los Muertos contains persimmons (pictured), habañeros, Zima Grape Tomatoes, as well as a Cara Cara Orange and a Valencia Orange. These ingredients not only combine to make a delicious sweet and spicy taste, but create a beautiful orange color reminiscent of a marigold flower.
Marigold flowers are a major part of Día de los Muertos. These bright-fluffy flowers are placed on ofrendas and at gravesites, as a way to lead the spirits of the deceased back to their earthly home for the night. Along with marigolds, other items such as the deceased’s favorite foods, drinks, and photos are placed along side for them to enjoy during their night home. I began growing marigolds in my garden in March and I am now using them on my ofrenda at home. Marigolds are also great to have in your garden as a plant that will keep bugs away, a method that my grandmother taught me and many of my relatives.
My Nani and Tata both passed away a few years ago. Día de los Muertos has taken on an even deeper importance for my family and I ever since my grandparents were laid to rest. I have many great memories of my Nani and Tata, but one that certainly stands out to me is making salsa with them. I remember going to their home in Douglas, Arizona, and helping them clean Anaheim peppers and combining those with tomatoes, onion, garlic, and other ingredients for a fresh pico de gallo.
My Nani also loved to make crafts with one of my favorites being her fake chiles that she made from beads. These chiles cover our Christmas Tree each year. She also made a fake chile ristra, which I usually have hanging in my kitchen.
This year I decided to place it next to the Ofrenda Quilt that my mom made to honor my grandparents. Every time I look at the chile ristra hanging next to the ofrenda it reminds me of how special and talented my grandparents were. I’m also certain that their love for food and chiles was a trait I inherited.
I’ll leave some Salsa para Día de los Muertos in front of their ofrenda this year for them to enjoy.
3-5 Habañero peppers, stemmed and seeded
1 cup Zima (Yellow) Grape Tomatoes
6 Small Persimmons (or 2-3 Large Persimmons)
1 Valencia Orange
1 Cara Cara Orange
1 tbsp Cilantro
1/8 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp Mexican Oregano
While using plastic gloves, cut the stems off the habañeros and then remove the seeds. Cut the stems off the persimmons. Place the habañeros, persimmons, and tomatoes into the blender. Squeeze the juice out of the Valencia and Cara Cara oranges, pouring into the blender (make sure the orange seeds do not end up in the salsa).
Purée for two minutes, until the ingredients become completely liquified. Then add the remaining ingredients and blend for one minute. Pour the salsa into a bowl and let sit in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before serving.