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Jarred Green Salsa
Salsa verde adds tangy zest to tacos, enchiladas, and more. We rounded up five nationally available, shelf-stable products and tasted them plain and with tortilla chips.
Top PicksSee Everything We Tested
What You Need To Know
Mexican-style salsa verde—made from tomatillos, green chiles, onion, and cilantro—adds tangy zest to tacos, enchiladas, eggs, and much more. You can also use it as a dip. To figure out which one to buy, we rounded up five nationally available, shelf-stable products and tasted them plain and with tortilla chips. We learned that flavor mattered more to us than either heat level or texture; bright, fresh-tasting salsas came out on top, but we also liked the complexity of roasted tomatillos. The products all contained very similar ingredients, so why did they taste different? The nutrition labels showed us that we liked salsas with higher levels of vitamins A and C (measured as percentage of daily value based on a 2,000-calorie diet). The vitamins reveal which salsas have more and fresher fruits and vegetables processed at a lower temperature; these vitamins degrade in older produce and at higher temperatures. Moreover, our favorite salsa had neither preservatives nor stabilizers.
Everything We Tested
This roasted tomatillo salsa was a “powerhouse of flavor”; “sweet and nuanced”; and “roasted, smoky, and a little sour,” with “a good amount of heat.” Not everyone recognized the black flecks as bits of charred tomatillo skin, but many tasters praised the complex, roasted taste.
Recommended with reservations
This “chunky” product was “bright, fresh, sour, tangy, and sweet”; it had a “nice balance” of flavors. But most tasters agreed that this salsa lacked heat, despite the “medium” in its name.
This product used more tomato puree than tomatillos. Many found it “sour, flat, watery, and too pickle-ish, without heat to balance.” Tasters also objected to its “soupy” texture, comparing the salsa, unfavorably, to “pickle relish.”
The only salsa to come in a can, this “bland” product tasted “cooked,” “like canned peas,” one taster said. It also lost points for a range of “stale” off-flavors, suggesting everything from “lawn clippings” and “green tea” to “cleaning products” and “old cheese.”
Tasting of “hay,” this “salty” salsa offered “weird candy sweetness” and “weak pepper flavor.” We confirmed with the manufacturer that the “green tomato” on the ingredient list is indeed tomatillo.
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