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Searching for best store bought salsas

mschow Jun 3, 2009 07:21 PM

I know it's easy to make your own, but I don't want to most of the time. I just bought a jar of Paul Newman medium salsa. Totally bland and flat with no depth of flavor. I've tried at least 8 different brands, none of what I would consider even pretty good or better. I'm wondering what some others feel is a great salsa. I'm in the northeast, so our selection may be somewhat limited compared to what is available out west. Suggestions/good and bad are welcomed. (PS: looking for more of a medium kick to it, though the Paul Newman medium is mild, IMO)

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  1. p
    patshep RE: mschow Jun 3, 2009 07:33 PM

    Green Mountain Gringo is my favorite!

    10 Replies
    1. re: patshep
      c
      cimui RE: patshep Jun 4, 2009 08:16 AM

      ooh yeah! i also *love* green mountain gringo and went through jars and jars of it a week when i lived in new england. it's harder to find and more expensive in nyc, so i've been buying fresh santa barbara salsa -- the kind sold in plastic tubs. (there's also a non-freshly made s.b. line that comes in jars and isn't as good.)

      what's that brand of tortilla strips that are often sold with g.m.g. salsa? that stuff is da bomb, too!

      1. re: cimui
        v
        Val RE: cimui Jun 4, 2009 10:04 AM

        We also love GMG medium when we don't make our own....and only 90mgs sodium per 2 Tbsp!!! Good stuff!

        1. re: Val
          Gio RE: Val Jun 4, 2009 11:07 AM

          The One and only Green Mountain Gringo! The very best.... their medium is spicy with a little kick back and the hot is hot without blowing your head off. Their Tortilla Strips are a perfect match. I have 2 opened jars in the fridge right now - 1 of each - and 2 jars in the pantry.

          http://www.greenmountaingringo.com/pr...

          1. re: Gio
            c
            cheesecake17 RE: Gio Jun 4, 2009 03:55 PM

            My husband loves Green Mountain Gringo salsa and tortilla strips. The salsa stays well in the fridge once it's opened.

            We also like the Whole Foods 365 brand- the fruity ones and the tomatillo.

            1. re: cheesecake17
              kubasd RE: cheesecake17 Jun 5, 2009 03:11 PM

              i concur, but i love the roasted garlic one.... yummmm

          2. re: Val
            kchurchill5 RE: Val Jul 12, 2009 06:43 PM

            where do you get it Val. I have never seen it.

            1. re: kchurchill5
              v
              Val RE: kchurchill5 Jul 13, 2009 05:23 PM

              I buy it at a local independent health food store called 'Sunsplash' and as a matter of fact, I think there's one by you in Sarasota called 'The Granary'...they are part of Natural Retail Grocers. (I worked for them part-time way back in 1994 in addition to my f-t job...learned a lot!) Whole Foods might also sell it if you have one by you...I always try to buy my natural foods at the independent grocer, though, just a personal thing, as opposed to the giant-corporate-monster-blob thing.

              1. re: Val
                kchurchill5 RE: Val Jul 13, 2009 06:45 PM

                Yep, I know the Granary right down the street. I always have a store bought just for quick uses. But sometimes I like to buy a quality one for a party or when I just don't have time to make some myself.

                Thx for the info

        2. re: patshep
          Caralien RE: patshep Jun 6, 2009 03:06 AM

          I agree that GMG is great for a jarred sauce, and certainly available everywhere in the Northeast. Even their medium has a good amount of capsaicin.

          1. re: patshep
            jfood RE: patshep Jul 10, 2009 11:42 AM

            jfood finally bought a jar...whoosh it disappeared.

            Now he keeps 3-4 on hand all the time.

          2. j
            jaykayen RE: mschow Jun 3, 2009 07:57 PM

            It depends what kind of salsa you are looking for.

            Trader Joe's Salsa Autentica is pretty good with a medium heat.

            1. m
              maisonbistro RE: mschow Jun 3, 2009 08:25 PM

              If you have 9 different brands of salsa to try, I would say you have a great selection. I'm in Montreal and would love to have that large a selection. I do love me some good salsa.

              1. tracylee RE: mschow Jun 3, 2009 09:26 PM

                OK, not quite store-bought, but picked up at the State Fair - H & H Brand Instant Salsa. One scoop mixed with a can of diced tomatoes - immersion blender treated for me. Great stuff!

                http://hnhbrands.com/Merchant2/mercha...

                1. Naco RE: mschow Jun 4, 2009 04:07 AM

                  Herdez Hot is my go to store bought salsa.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Naco
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                    paulispumonti RE: Naco Jun 4, 2009 07:03 AM

                    Trader Joe's Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa- good stuff!

                  2. MGZ RE: mschow Jun 4, 2009 07:39 AM

                    Until I discovered the "Pain is Good" brand, I would never eat salsa that was not homemade (although, I would occasionally buy small containers from a local taqueria). PIG's Smoked Jalepeno changed my mind, lots of flavor - pretty solid heat. The Habanero Garlic is equally tasty, however, take note - ol' Capt. Sacin is definately at the helm!

                    1. g
                      gordeaux RE: mschow Jun 4, 2009 10:35 AM

                      +1 for Herdez:
                      Salsa Casera or
                      Salsa Taquera.

                      Not a big fan of the jarred salsas that try to capture the idea of fresh salsa. It doesn't work. Never will. They cook them and then load them up with things that are not food.
                      I know that mschow said "I don't want to most of the time" but IMO, the alternatives to making it yourself are truly abysmal. The effort of homemade is practically zilch, and they charge a (relative) arm and a leg for that stuff of the shelf.

                      There are also some salsas avail in the fridge case of a lot of stores these days. I think there is a widely known brand named "Chachi's" that I used to like. But again, the effort /price to pick two tomatoes, some cilantro, a few chiles, an onion, and a couple of limes, and throw it in a blender greatly out weighs the cost/reward of buying jarred stuff.
                      Just an opinion. Anyway, If you come across Herdez, give it a try.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: gordeaux
                        applehome RE: gordeaux Jun 4, 2009 10:58 AM

                        Completely agree - salsa fresca from a jar is indeed an oxymoron.

                        Salsa is one of the few places I like to play Sandra Lee (semi-homemade). Starting with either the smooth salsas (from Herdez or La Victoria) or Rotel (for more of a pico de gallo) and adding freshly minced garlic, chopped cilantro, finely chopped onions, even tomatillo - adding some heat with smoked chipotles, or a dash or two of El Yucateca habanero sauce... this is fun to do and most often comes up with something so much better than anything I've ever, ever bought in a jar.

                        1. re: applehome
                          kattyeyes RE: applehome Jun 5, 2009 07:23 PM

                          applehome, what do you do for a tablescape when you're channeling your inner Sandra Lee? ;)

                          I've tried Green Mountain Gringo based on discussions last round on this topic. It's not for me. I prefer a fruity salsa if I can't have a fresh/homemade salsa--D L Jardine's or Paul Newman's are good by me.

                      2. m
                        Muskrat RE: mschow Jun 4, 2009 11:12 AM

                        As I recall, America's Test Kitchen praised Pace Chunk-style among the store-bought varieties. I use and like it; others' taste may, of course, vary.

                        1. g
                          gillyweed RE: mschow Jun 4, 2009 11:45 AM

                          I will throw another vote towards Green Mountain Gringo. Another favorite is Pace Pico de Gallo (medium). Not overly tomatoe-y (just had a Muir Glen salsa that essentially tasted like a jar of crushed tomatoes) and with just the right amount of kick. We like it spicy, but enjoy keeping our taste buds intact! The Pace Pico de Gallo is slightly spicier than most other medium salsas we've tried.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: gillyweed
                            s
                            Stazz01 RE: gillyweed Jun 4, 2009 03:59 PM

                            Casa Sanchez!

                          2. c
                            CrazyOne RE: mschow Jun 4, 2009 05:41 PM

                            The shelf-stable ones just aren't doing it for me anymore, except maybe some green stuff with tomatillos and jalapenos. I think Herdez makes one of those that I liked.

                            My favorite store-bought by far comes from our local supermarket chain Giant Eagle and it's refrigerated. I wish I knew who made it for them so I could steer you towards the right thing outside of this area. I have seen a brand name that was packaged in the same size and type containers, but I don't remember the name, and I've never seen one that was the same style/recipe. The private label calls it Mexican style, notes "with extra cilantro" as I recall, and it's medium heat. (They make a hot too, though.) It's just about as ideal as it can get apart from homemade, IMO.

                            I think we tried a refrigerated salsa from Trader Joe's before that was also good. But I don't remember what one. We go to Giant Eagle more often because Trader Joe's is not close. The only other one I remember recently was from Costco, and it wasn't as good. I do remember liking Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Tomato from the shelf, but I'm not sure I would like it as much now anymore. We tried a refrigerated fire roasted tomato from the same Giant Eagle line, paled in comparison to the Mexican style.

                            I would check out the options in the refrigerated stuff in your local stores. You may have to hunt through the stores to see where they keep these; different stores may have them in different spots. (In Giant Eagle, for example, these are not found anywhere near the main refrigerated dairy/eggs/OJ section but instead near the deli.)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: CrazyOne
                              c
                              cpattana RE: CrazyOne Apr 10, 2010 09:04 AM

                              I tried the Giant Eagle Mexican Style salsa with extra cilantro and it is excellent. It tastes like the made-from-scratch salsa we get at the Mexican restaurant we like to go to. I have never liked store salsas, but this one looked good in the jar, and I'm glad I tried it. I'm going to stock up with a few jars. I found it in the refrigerator section near the deli.

                            2. coney with everything RE: mschow Jun 5, 2009 06:06 AM

                              Jack's Garden Fresh or Margaritaville salsa in the refrigerated section. They are made by the same company.

                              If I gotta go jarred, Herdez.

                              25 Replies
                              1. re: coney with everything
                                madgreek RE: coney with everything Jun 5, 2009 06:59 AM

                                Yep. Herdez. I've made fresh salsa which was much, much less "fresh" tasting -lol.

                                1. re: madgreek
                                  t
                                  tuttebene RE: madgreek Jun 5, 2009 03:07 PM

                                  I too love Herdez. Has anyone noticed that is much more watery as of late? It seems to me that it used to be more chunky. Has the recipe changed?

                                  1. re: tuttebene
                                    Naco RE: tuttebene Jun 5, 2009 04:20 PM

                                    Herdez seems to have pretty poor quality control in general. The chunkiness varies a lot from bottle to bottle. I have noticed that the hot variety tends to be chunkier than the medium.

                                    1. re: Naco
                                      terkalin RE: Naco Jun 7, 2009 12:32 PM

                                      I prefer homemade salsa and make it all the time, but every once in a while, I gotta have my Herdez! I like the medium or hot in the jar, but will also sometimes get the small cans of their salsa casera, tomatillo and ranchero and mix them up (only a bit of the ranchero, as it's quite smoky and intense). I was kind of surprised I did not like GMG, as lots of chowhounders have always sung it's praise. It just tasted like another flat, ketchupy salsa. Another good one that was discontinued a few years ago was Tostitos Restaurant Style salsa...tasted very similar to Herdez.

                                      1. re: terkalin
                                        alkapal RE: terkalin Jun 7, 2009 12:34 PM

                                        yeah, i wasn't impressed by green mountain gringo either. maybe i got the wrong variety? plus, i thought it was pricey for what you got.

                                        1. re: alkapal
                                          v
                                          Val RE: alkapal Jun 7, 2009 02:07 PM

                                          Terk and Alkapal...it IS on the pricey side, true...my 16 ounce jar of GMG was close to $3.00..however, I cannot see how it could be "ketchupy"--there are no sweeteners of any kind in it--but okay, maybe they use very sweet tomatoes..LOL! (Pomi brand tomatoes, which I love, taste on the sweet side to me but the only ingredients in that container is tomatoes!) Also, a big difference between these 2 salsas is sodium, and I am down on sodium, which of course, may not be a lifestyle factor for either of you, no problem--you have my respect; the Herdez Salsa Casera has 240 mgs sodium per 2 TBSP, GMG has 90 so that's a driving factor for ME. The Herdez product that I DO really like is their Salsa Verde, really excellent! Sorry to be a PITA. :o)

                                          1. re: Val
                                            alkapal RE: Val Jun 7, 2009 02:16 PM

                                            val, i didn't find it ketchup-y -- just not "great". and when i bought it in fort myers at a publix, i thought it was more in the $4-5 range. or maybe $3.99?
                                            maybe i'm not remembering the price correctly, because there would not be such a wide price difference from fort myers to naples.

                                            1. re: alkapal
                                              v
                                              Val RE: alkapal Jun 7, 2009 02:22 PM

                                              LOL...I think mine was around $3.00 at Sunsplash in Naples but may have been *on sale*. Publix overcharges on so many things...sorry but they do!!! God, I'm having grilled veggies tonight and son requested brats since I'll be firing up the grill but criminy---$5.29 for Johnsonville brats????!!!! WHAT?! For sausage???

                                              1. re: Val
                                                alkapal RE: Val Jun 7, 2009 02:33 PM

                                                i'm going to look here in arlington to see what it is here.

                                                ps, did you see someone's suggestion for marinating vIdalias in olive oil, lemon juice and salt --- that'd be good on those grilled veggies, and maybe the brats!

                                                btw, the meat guy at our local giant grocery said the j-ville brats were supposed to be on sale all this month. guess they didn't get the news!

                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                  kattyeyes RE: alkapal Jun 7, 2009 03:02 PM

                                                  Val and alkapal, I wish you guys were here--we have such an amazing German meat shop that makes wonderful brats and wursts. And I think they're less expensive than that, too!

                                                2. re: Val
                                                  c
                                                  cheesecake17 RE: Val Jun 7, 2009 03:11 PM

                                                  If it takes away some of your pain... the kosher sausage I buy is $10/lb!

                                                  And.. Publix is very expensive. When we visit my husband's grandparents in Florida, I'm always shocked at the prices..

                                                  1. re: Val
                                                    kchurchill5 RE: Val Jul 12, 2009 06:46 PM

                                                    I just got Johnsonville for 4.29 at my Publix. Awee those Naples aristocrats!!

                                              2. re: alkapal
                                                kattyeyes RE: alkapal Jun 7, 2009 03:07 PM

                                                terkalin and my sista, alka, I feel better/validated that I'm not alone in missing the wonders of GMG. It's not particularly expensive here, nor did I find it ketchupy. It just wasn't to my liking.

                                                1. re: kattyeyes
                                                  v
                                                  Val RE: kattyeyes Jun 7, 2009 03:52 PM

                                                  And I realize that everyone's palette is *different* thank God or this world would be one boring place, right????

                                                  Alkapal: yes, I saw that post but figured I would take my cue from YOU! *If alkapal gives it a good review, then I'll def try it!* LOL...actually, I'm trying a recipe my sister sent me for grilled veggies...but I would love to know about the vidalia onions in olive oil & lemon...sounds really great AND you could probably add some fresh herbs...like rosemary which I have an abundance of and I'm using in my grilled veggies tonight!

                                                  1. re: Val
                                                    kattyeyes RE: Val Jun 7, 2009 03:58 PM

                                                    It's true--and you probably hate D L Jardines fruity salsas, which I find quite tasty in a jar. ;)
                                                    http://jardinefoods.elsstore.com/view...

                                                    1. re: Val
                                                      alkapal RE: Val Jun 8, 2009 05:27 AM

                                                      val -- the vidalia "dish" was as simple as i've described -- and as described by the original person who suggested it (sorry i can't recall the screen name to give credit where credit is due.).

                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                        v
                                                        Val RE: alkapal Jun 8, 2009 05:32 PM

                                                        okay, thanks!

                                                        1. re: Val
                                                          alkapal RE: Val Jun 8, 2009 05:58 PM

                                                          val, i made it for dinner. mr. alka loved it. i put it on top of some trout "roll-ups" that i'd stuffed with spinach and pepp farm stuffing with butter, then baked. it was nice.

                                        2. re: coney with everything
                                          alkapal RE: coney with everything Jun 5, 2009 07:15 PM

                                          i tried that jack's garden fresh -- i got it from the refrigerated case in harris teeter. i was surprised by the salsa -- because it has "the whole garden" in it! carrots? in salsa?

                                          am i "mis-remembering"? ;-).

                                          1. re: alkapal
                                            c
                                            CrazyOne RE: alkapal Jun 6, 2009 08:24 PM

                                            I think that Jack's is the brand I was thinking of, comes in a container reminiscent of the store brand one I like. There are multiple varieties; I've seen one or two indie stories here carry a couple different ones. Next time I see it I'll try to see if I can match up the varieties to the one I like best so at least you can try it and see if I'm nuts. ;-)

                                            1. re: CrazyOne
                                              alkapal RE: CrazyOne Jun 7, 2009 10:12 AM

                                              i saw only one variety at my store, but the website shows many more.

                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                c
                                                CrazyOne RE: alkapal Jun 8, 2009 05:04 PM

                                                Man was I dense the other night, yeah, the web site, duh! I was exhausted from doing some minor remodeling in the bathroom.

                                                Anyway, looking at the products page http://www.gardenfreshsalsa.com/produ... I think "Jack's Special: Medium - Southwestern-style salsa with extra cilantro" could be exactly what's packaged in our store brand that I like so much. Can't compare much more because it doesn't have ingredients, but the container I have in the fridge also says extra cilantro. If I find this Jack's Special in a store I will buy and test.

                                            2. re: alkapal
                                              coney with everything RE: alkapal Jun 8, 2009 05:30 AM

                                              I don't remember carrots being in it. They have multiple varieties, though, so it's possible that you got a different kind.

                                              The "normal" stuff is very fresh tasting with the usual suspects as ingredients.

                                            3. re: coney with everything
                                              g
                                              grouper RE: coney with everything Jul 12, 2009 06:40 PM

                                              I'm with you on the Jack's Garden Fresh. I know it's local to Michigan, but I have seen it in Publix down in Florida, too. Can't buy anything else now. Plus, they have the best chips!

                                              1. re: grouper
                                                coney with everything RE: grouper Jul 14, 2009 05:53 AM

                                                You may find it at Costco, helluva deal if you do. I saw it at Costco in Washington State so I know they are not just stocking it in MI.

                                                And they do have awesome chips as well, and a decent hummus but I don't know if they sell that out of state.

                                            4. stricken RE: mschow Jun 7, 2009 12:34 AM

                                              wow. Honestly, if there's no time to make my own I'd either go buy some homemade from a local Mexican restaurant or I find something else to eat. Being from Texas, there is NO COMPROMISE on salsa EVER.

                                              1. k
                                                KevinB RE: mschow Jun 7, 2009 03:01 PM

                                                Here in Canada, we're able to get "President's Choice" products - their Extra Chunky hot is pretty good, but I really like their White Corn and Black Bean variety. I'll throw in a dash of Grace's hot sauce to heat it up a bit, but the texture of the corn and beans is fantastic.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: KevinB
                                                  r
                                                  roostermom RE: KevinB Jan 28, 2014 12:12 PM

                                                  In Toronto we buy Jack's Garden Fresh. It's serioulsy the best (that we have available here...)

                                                2. DiveFan RE: mschow Jun 7, 2009 06:19 PM

                                                  Agree with gordeaux et al, most jarred and canned salsas just don't cut it.
                                                  The local Latino markets have several varieties of locally made 'fresh' salsa, your preference will vary.

                                                  However, the important question that HASN'T been mentioned is:
                                                  WHAT do you want to use the salsa for?
                                                  You shouldn't buy salsa or its ingredients without answering that question FIRST.

                                                  I'm heartened that no one has mentioned 'chips' yet :-).

                                                  For street food like tacos that I make often, I've come to appreciate the tomatillo a lot more when used in salsas. It is always available fresh locally and at a good price; ripe tomatoes are often hard to come by.

                                                  Consider the salsa possibility matrix. Columns headed by tomato, tomatillo and vinegar. Rows lead by all fresh and dried chiles available.
                                                  Try a new combination today!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: DiveFan
                                                    c
                                                    CrazyOne RE: DiveFan Jun 8, 2009 05:11 PM

                                                    Ah, salsa can be for chips sometimes, why not? :-) But it's good for lots of stuff. Tomatillos are great, though. One of the first times we got around to making homemade salsa was when we got tomatillos in our CSA box.

                                                    Need to check if Mexican store out nearer to house is open late and maybe makes salsa. It's relatively new. The main one that's been around for ages would be fine except it's not open even when we're on our way home from work at 5:30.

                                                    With the original question, though, I was mainly looking to find something that would be available widely, which means at a typical supermarket or similar. I've tried many that are in jars, and I used to like some, but now they all seem to pale in comparison.

                                                  2. j
                                                    Jacey RE: mschow Jun 7, 2009 06:28 PM

                                                    I believe there are many other threads with this same topic.

                                                    1. jfood RE: mschow Jun 7, 2009 06:32 PM

                                                      jfood casts his vote for Imus Mild version. Nice chunks of tomato, a little heat with some good bold flavors.

                                                      1. janethepain RE: mschow Jun 8, 2009 01:37 PM

                                                        Surprised and glad to see so many people agree with me on Green Mountain Gringo. I've never found any supermarket salsa come close and I eat the stuff by the jarful. Too bad it's incredibly expensive in NYC though - I think I've seen it for $8 before, who knows what it costs now :(

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: janethepain
                                                          kattyeyes RE: janethepain Jun 8, 2009 01:47 PM

                                                          Holy smokes--should your travels bring you to CT, you should stock up. It's WAYYYYYYY less than that around here. Note: I don't live in Fairfield County, I mean "the rest of CT" where the prices are less inflated. :)

                                                          1. re: kattyeyes
                                                            Caralien RE: kattyeyes Jun 9, 2009 11:12 AM

                                                            KE: Have you tried Moe's Hellish Relish? It's hotter than what the OP called for and less of a supermarket salsa than a regional brand (made in Fairfield; $6.95 at Rawley's, $7.99 on the website).

                                                            1. re: Caralien
                                                              kattyeyes RE: Caralien Jun 9, 2009 12:13 PM

                                                              Hi, no I haven't tried it. You mean Mel's--I looked up your old review when I couldn't find Mo's. ;) Here's the review for those who missed it:
                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/622297

                                                              I don't get down to FFD county often, but I will definitely check it out when I'm in the area--thanks!

                                                          2. re: janethepain
                                                            c
                                                            cheesecake17 RE: janethepain Jun 8, 2009 05:41 PM

                                                            WFM had it on sale recently- 2 for $5

                                                            1. re: cheesecake17
                                                              janethepain RE: cheesecake17 Jul 11, 2009 06:38 AM

                                                              Found it on sale at the Food Emporium across the street for like $3.69, so got excited and bought three. I may have to rescind my praise for Green Mountain Gringo - I don't know if my standards have been raised, or there's been a change since I first started devouring it years ago. It tasted more like a regular jarred salsa than I remembered it.

                                                              I think I may stick to a refrigerated salsa in the future - I guess you can't get out of the jarred taste when it's jarred. Also, ever since tasting a mind-blowingly fresh salsa from Taqueria Coatzingo in Jackson Hts, I just haven't been the same. Shame.

                                                              1. re: janethepain
                                                                d
                                                                dirk RE: janethepain Jan 28, 2014 08:31 AM

                                                                Totally agree janethepain.. Green Mountain Gringo used to be good! I got some a couple of weeks ago and it was definitely not what I remembered. I guess they decided to kick the flavor down a notch.

                                                          3. phofiend RE: mschow Jun 8, 2009 05:31 PM

                                                            Goya Pico de Gallo is my favorite. Chunky and juicy, not thick and saucy. And inexpensive, to boot.

                                                            1. l
                                                              libgirl2 RE: mschow Jun 8, 2009 05:45 PM

                                                              My favorite salsa is from Aldi. Its not jarred, but fresh salsa (or as fresh as it can be in plastic pre-packaged). They have several flavors, it's not expensive and it is delicious. I serve it often at events and have gotten compliments (and an empty container). I can't go back to jarred anymore. My second favorite is Jewel fresh salsa. But that I usually like as a topping for tacos or salad, not as much for chips.

                                                              1. o
                                                                onate RE: mschow Jul 10, 2009 10:57 AM

                                                                My top two are Herdez and Pace. I much prefer those over Green Mountain Gringo, Newman's Own, or the Santa Barbara deli-case kind. None can compete with good home-made though.

                                                                1. t
                                                                  tzurriz RE: mschow Jul 10, 2009 11:01 AM

                                                                  I'll probably lose any chowhound cred I've managed to obtain, but I'm addicted to the ChiChi's Medium Salsa. Not the Fiesta one, which is awful, but the traditional, or classic one. I can sit down with a bag of chips and a jar of that salsa and be in heaven. Seriously. It is my favorite store bought salsa, ever. Right blend of heat and flavor, without overpowering you after 3 chips. :)

                                                                  It's getting harder to find though.

                                                                  1. LeahBaila RE: mschow Jul 10, 2009 11:38 AM

                                                                    For store-bought, my salsa of choice is definitely Herdez.

                                                                    www.thelunchbelle.com

                                                                    1. c
                                                                      cycloneillini RE: mschow Jul 12, 2009 06:19 PM

                                                                      If you like to experiment, shop the food section of the off-price stores (Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Ross, etc.) and you can find some very good "gourmet" brand salsas for cheap. If you don't like it, you're not out much $$. If you find one you like, it's usually something that can be mail ordered. My favorite discovery was Frontera Chipotle Salsa (by Chicago celebrity chef Rick Bayless from his restaurant Frontera Grill). You can order it from www.FronteraKitchens.com.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: cycloneillini
                                                                        kattyeyes RE: cycloneillini Jul 12, 2009 06:45 PM

                                                                        Oooh, now THAT, I will look for, and I do scour Marshalls and TJ Maxx (sadly, no Ross here in CT) with some regularity for DL Jardines, so thanks for the tip! :)

                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                          mels RE: kattyeyes Jul 13, 2009 05:40 PM

                                                                          While I too like GMG, I love love love Frontera salsas, particularly the guajillo one. Whole Foods had them on sale last week for $3 each, I think they regularly go for $4 and change there.

                                                                          1. re: mels
                                                                            kattyeyes RE: mels Jul 13, 2009 06:25 PM

                                                                            Glad to know--I've never seen them at Marshall's or TJ Maxx, but I'm pretty sure I've breezed by them at WF. Thanks for the tip (and see you in the berry fields)! :)

                                                                      2. charentais RE: mschow Jul 13, 2009 06:52 PM

                                                                        Herdez.

                                                                        It's not sugary.

                                                                        Me gusta Herdez.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: charentais
                                                                          c
                                                                          cycloneillini RE: charentais Jul 13, 2009 07:31 PM

                                                                          Good point. I like Herdez as well, but your comment reminds me that I always read the ingredients on salsa (and spaghetti sauce and bloody Mary mixes). If they have sugar or any form of sweetener I pass.

                                                                          1. re: cycloneillini
                                                                            LeahBaila RE: cycloneillini Jul 14, 2009 05:09 AM

                                                                            A M E N !!! Thank you.

                                                                            www.thelunchbelle.com

                                                                            1. re: cycloneillini
                                                                              alkapal RE: cycloneillini Jul 14, 2009 05:26 AM

                                                                              i don't want no stinkin' thickeners like carrageenan or guar gum, either!

                                                                          2. alkapal RE: mschow Jul 14, 2009 04:06 AM

                                                                            herdez lovers, is the jarred variety different from the canned?

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                                              LeahBaila RE: alkapal Jul 14, 2009 05:14 AM

                                                                              Both canned and jarred are equaly delicious. The traditional red salsa (don't have the exact name off-hand) in can/jar is identical. However, the canned products have a wider variety of diverse flavors/type options that aren't available jarred. Good stuff.

                                                                              www.thelunchbelle.com

                                                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                                                g
                                                                                gordeaux RE: alkapal Jul 14, 2009 05:58 AM

                                                                                I've never bought the jarred ones, but I will tell you this:
                                                                                I'd been buying herdez salsa casera for years and years thinking there was only red/green. A few months ago, I saw a new one (new to me since I didn't really pay attention) labeled "salsa taquera." Smoky and packed legit heat. No more casera for me.
                                                                                Solo quiero la salsa taquera.

                                                                                While Herdez is no match for homemade since you can make some that will be 50 times better in about the same time it takes to open a can or jar, I find it serviceable, and bordering on decent which almost an impossibility when it comes to jarred salsas. They are usually gloppy, sugar laden, overcooked, completely overpriced renditions of something that is far too easy and delicious to make from scratch. No need for extra sugar and 13 syllable ingredients. I bet the labels on those jars cost the mfr more to make than the contents of the jars. I made 10 qts of salsa for a party last Saturday. 7 quarts of mild, 3 qts of sizzlin - the final bill (outside of salt, cumin, and black pepper) was $11.35. It took about 13 minutes to make. Well, of course I had PLENTY of help from the folks at cuisinart, and my citrus squeezer. Far too simple and easy to settle for jarred garbage IMO. The price and effort FAR outweigh the alternatives.

                                                                                1. re: gordeaux
                                                                                  Gio RE: gordeaux Jul 14, 2009 06:06 AM

                                                                                  It is fun to make your own, but to be clear Green Mountain Gringo has No other ingredients than fresh vegetables and spices. Here's the info from their website:

                                                                                  "INGREDIENTS:
                                                                                  Ripe Tomatoes, Fresh Onions, Fresh Tomatillos, Fresh JalapeƱo Peppers, Fresh Pasilla Peppers, Apple Cider Vinegar, Fresh Cilantro, Fresh Parsley, Fresh Garlic, Sea Salt, Spices

                                                                                  ALL OF OUR PRODUCTS ARE: All Natural, No Preservatives or artificial colors or flavors. Gluten Free, Cholesterol Free, No GMO's (Genetically modified produce). "

                                                                                  http://www.greenmountaingringo.com/me...

                                                                                  1. re: Gio
                                                                                    g
                                                                                    gordeaux RE: Gio Jul 14, 2009 11:10 AM

                                                                                    Sounds intriguing. Don't think I've ever sen it where I am, although, to be honest, I simply walk past the jarred salsa in the aisles unless I need some herdez really quick. I'll give it a try if I see it. If nothing else, wife 1.0 will eat jarred salsa while I usually turn my nose up at it. I'm not implying that I'm better than anyone (cuz I'll be the first one to tell you I'm not) it's just a preference thing for me. I'm positive that I eat things that plenty of ppl would turn their nose up to as well.

                                                                                  2. re: gordeaux
                                                                                    LeahBaila RE: gordeaux Jul 14, 2009 06:22 AM

                                                                                    Agreed 100% gordeaux (love your name, btw). While it's no match for homemade, it's the best damn thing you can buy up north.

                                                                                    Gio: I have a problem with the addition of apple cider vinegar, or any vinegar for that matter, in my salsa. Just personal preference.

                                                                                    www.thelunchbelle.com

                                                                                    1. re: gordeaux
                                                                                      v
                                                                                      vday RE: gordeaux Jul 14, 2009 08:35 AM

                                                                                      Thanks gordeaux:-) I'm going to look for that "salsa taquera". I've been buying the small cans of the salsa casera for years too - great in a pinch and usually just the right amount for breakfast.
                                                                                      You also inspired me to make up some fresh stuff now that the tomatoes are getting ripe!

                                                                                  3. pikiliz RE: mschow Jul 14, 2009 02:16 PM

                                                                                    Locally here in Florida I really like LA MEXICANA hot salsa it is one of the newer breed (20 YRS OR SO) of salsas
                                                                                    go to the web site and see for your self
                                                                                    http://www.lamexfoods.com/

                                                                                    1. free sample addict aka Tracy L RE: mschow Apr 10, 2010 05:21 PM

                                                                                      OK they'll probably rescind my chowhound credentials, but I like Tostitos brand for quesadillas and other uses for heated salsa. The onion and pepper flavor really comes out when warm. I live in California and usually buy my salsa fresh if I'm having chips.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L
                                                                                        coll RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Apr 11, 2010 02:28 AM

                                                                                        Me too, I kept trying gourmet brands and then realized I liked Tostitos best of all. And when it's on sale, it's cheaper than making your own.

                                                                                      2. Perilagu Khan RE: mschow Apr 11, 2010 09:49 AM

                                                                                        This store has a plethora of superb salsas:

                                                                                        www.solamentedemesilla.com

                                                                                        I'd especially recommend the Chile de Arbol Salsa and the Old Tortilla Factory Yellow Pepper Salsa.

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