Salsa is the Spanish, Arabic, and Italian word that can refer to any type of sauce. In American English it usually refers to the spicy, often tomato- or corn-based hot sauces typical of Mexican cuisine, particularly those used as dips. In British English, the word typically refers to salsa cruda, which is common in Mexican, Spanish and Italian cuisine.
Unlike fresh salsa cruda, these commercial jarred, canned, and bottled salsas typically have a semi-liquid texture more akin to that of canned tomatoes, and often resemble chunky commercial spaghetti sauces. So-called "chunky salsa" appears to be the most popular form of jarred salsa currently. More expensive brands tend to have more chunks of vegetables in them. Blended salsas such as Xerarch's Nice N' Hot Salsa have gained popularity due to their less watery consistency and full flavor "chipability".
While some salsa fans decry these products as not real salsa cruda, their widespread availability and long shelf life are credited with much of salsa's enormous popularity in states outside of the southwest, especially in places where salsa is not a traditional part of the cuisine.
Many grocery stores in the United States also sell "fresh," refrigerated salsa, usually in plastic containers. Fresh salsa is usually more expensive and has a shorter shelf life than canned or jarred salsa. It may or may not contain vinegar.
There are fresh all-natural jarred salsa products produced regionally as well that do not use artificial ingredients or chemicals to enhance shelf life. Among the most well known are Carrillo's Fire-Roasted Salsa made in Rye, New York, El Pinto Salsa made by The Salsa Twins, and Jim & John Thomas in New Mexico. In 1992, Packaged Facts, a food marketing research group, found that the dollar amount of salsa sales had overtaken those of ketchup (but not in total volume). This may be partly due to salsa spoiling faster than other condiments, and may be purchased more often than condiments with longer shelf lives.
Picante sauce is a term coined by condiment maker David Pace for his own version of salsa. Picante sauce is usually a little more pureed than bottled salsa, but is chunkier than fresh red salsa. Picante is a Spanish adjective that derives from picar, which means "to sting", referring to the feeling caused by salsas on one's tongue (compare the English word piquant).
The cordon bleu barbie; Tender steaks marinated in salsa verde, moreish crunchy chips and peaches in Pimm's. Welcome to the most stylish barbecue you've ever had...(Features)(Recipe)
May 30, 2009; Byline: JO PRATT COOKING Abarbecue doesn't have to be an unsophisticated feast for booze-soaked carnivores. The delicate smoky...
The totally tasteful barbecue; Cooking; MOUTHWATERING MEALS MADE EASY WITH JO PRATT; Tender steaks marinated in sophisticated salsa verde with moreish crunchy chips. Welcome to the most stylish barbie you've ever had...(Features)(Recipe)
May 31, 2009; Byline: WITH JO PRATT Abarbecue doesn't have to be an unsophisticated feast for a crowd of tipsy carnivores. The delicate smoky...
Sassy salsa verde the star of honest, authentic, tasty menu -- New Mexico Restaurant y Taqueria satisfyingly simple
Sep 07, 2007; I wouldn't usually recommend a restaurant on the basis of one condiment, but you do need to go to New Mexico Restaurant y...